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How to Prep for Big Tech Interview (Stripe) that isn't DSA?

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Data Engineer at Financial Company6 months ago

I just got an interview for a backend role with Big Tech. I'm pretty excited. They informed me that the interview will not be a standard Leetcode DSA Interview. Here is what they said:

We’re excited you’ll be interviewing at Stripe! This interview will evaluate your ability to solve a programming exercise in a readable way, as well as your knowledge in automated testing. We don’t use Leetcode or trivia, or ask trick questions. This exercise is an example of the kind of coding we do regularly in our daily life at Stripe. In fact, every part of our interview process is designed to give you streamlined examples of the kinds of real-world problems we solve day-to-day.

  • We recommend practicing timed coding problems. Focus on writing code quickly, ensuring correctness, and explaining your thought process out loud as you work.

  • While our interview problems are different from exercises on LeetCode, Interview Cake, and Interviewing.io, some Stripes have found these sites helpful for practicing timed coding challenges.

My question is, other than Leetcode, is there any way I can prep for this? I'm looking for a better way than Leetcode since I won't be asked a Leetcode question.

Thanks!

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Discussion

(5 comments)
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    6 months ago

    I think this is referring to one of these 2 interview types:

    1. Practical coding - You will have to create a small piece of software (simple website, a single REST endpoint, etc) from scratch and on-the-fly. Another option is the software is already there, but you need to debug/refactor it. Either way, I can easily see them asking you to write automated tests as a bonus. The best way to practice here is to build side projects with the relevant stacks. I think this interview type is more likely.
    2. LeetCode Lite - The idea is that it's still a DSA problem, but it's wrapped in the Stripe business context so it's not as abstract. So maybe they'll give you a problem where you need to queue payments properly or something. Robinhood actually gave me this kind of problem (they also gave practical coding, which was weighed more heavily). For "LeetCode Lite" type problems, LeetCode is probably the best practice.

    Stripe is also a massive company, so I recommend following the advice in the following Q&A as well to get more information: "How to figure out what's going to be on an interview?"

  • 0
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    Data Engineer [OP]
    Financial Company
    6 months ago

    Thanks Alex! In my case, the relevant "stack" is Python, as that's what I'm experienced with and what I told them I'll be doing the interview in.

  • 1
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    Startup Engineer
    6 months ago

    My question is, other than Leetcode, is there any way I can prep for this? I'm looking for a better way than Leetcode since I won't be asked a Leetcode question.

    I've been reading a lot of engineering blogs lately to see what the state of the art is for particular systems. For instance, I'm reading blogs about how companies design their activity feeds because I want to make sure that the one my company has is as efficient and scalable as possible. Because a service like this has so many concepts embedded in it, it allows me to think beyond just the theory and really understand it from a product perspective.

  • 0
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    Data Engineer [OP]
    Financial Company
    6 months ago

    Thanks Michael! Systems Design seems beyond the scope of the interview though. I feel like they want to focus on coding here.

  • 0
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    Data Engineer [OP]
    Financial Company
    5 months ago

    I asked the recruiter how to prep and here's what he said:

    Practicing leetcode problems shouldn't really be necessary - I think that part is just alluding to the practice of timing programming exercises since this is a finite session. And to clarify on that, speed is not really a metric we measure candidates on, but efficiency is. That's to say, spending time focused on the right/relevant things and not burning time on trivial aspects.

    It's a real world problem so just being in an engineering role should be the kind of prep needed to do well here. Brushing up on some of the following wouldn't hurt as these are the main attributes we care about: clean/readable code, clean abstractions, methodical debugging, test coverage, communication, articulating technical concepts, being receptive to and leveraging feedback. 

    I know that probably doesn't help as there isn't a tactical thing I can point to for preparation but that's my best advice! Let me know if I can clarify anything!