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System Design

The objective of system design interviews is to evaluate a candidate's skill at designing real-world software systems involving multiple components. System design questions are typically given to more senior candidates (with a few years of experience). Interns aren't typically given system design questions as it is hard to expect interns to have sufficient and relevant industry experience to answer this type of questions well.

Some common questions include:

  • Design a URL shortener (e.g. Bitly)
  • Design a social media website (e.g. Twitter)
  • Design a video watching website (e.g. YouTube)
  • Design a chatting service (e.g. Telegram, Slack, Discord)
  • Design a file sharing service (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox)
  • Design a ride sharing service (e.g. Uber, Lyft)
  • Design a photo sharing service (e.g. Flickr, Pinterest)
  • Design an e-commerce website (e.g. Amazon, eBay)
  • Design a jobs portal (e.g. LinkedIn, Indeed)
  • Design a web crawler (e.g. Google)

System design content is still work-in-progress, but there are some resources to help you in the meanwhile:

Courses

  • Grokking the System Design Interview - I've personally taken this course and have referred many people to use this. Highly recommended!
  • Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview - I haven't tried this but it's by the same people who created "Grokking the System Design Interview", so it should be good! In my opinion you probably wouldn't need this unless you're very senior or going for a specialist position.

Resources

  • System Design Primer - Most comprehensive resource on system design out there. Recommended only if you have a ton of time to spare.
  • System Design Interview - Contains many links to tips about system design, system design-related topics and engineering blogs of famous companies.
  • System Design Cheatsheet - Brief and concise content. Serves as a good revision right before your system design interview.

Books