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My Placements Journey

Manvi Tyagi
Software Developer | Ex-PayPal | Ex-Innovaccer | Founder @ Girl Code It
・12 min read

This article is all about my placements journey. I have cleared interviews and got offers from Microsoft, Twitter, Amazon, PayPal, Cisco and a couple more. I am sharing my interview experiences not only for these companies but for all the companies where I was rejected too - Google, Sharechat, Atlan, Postman, Amazon. And the reason for that is - "You can't do all the mistakes by yourselves to learn from them, A wise person learns from the mistakes of others." I have shared my mistakes and learnings from different interviews, hopefully it will be helpful.

I am a final year student from a Tier-3 college (and it really doesn't matter), but I have to mention it because so many juniors are worried about this fact and I wanna make clear that - "Accept whatever you got and work towards your goal, Tier-3 College Tag won't block your ways if you upskill enough".

All the experiences would cover the following details:

  • Timeline
  • How did I apply
  • Interview Process
  • My Learning

Let's just start then -
Also, Don't get demotivated by my repeated rejections, We will move towards the good things gradually :p

Alt Text

ZS Associates - SELECTED

  • Role: Business Technology Analyst
  • How did I apply: ZS Campus Beats Challenge
  • Timeline: Applied in March, Process in April-May

First interview of 4th year. Though not the desired role or package, but my confidence was boosted after clearing all the rounds.
A lengthy process and not for SDE Role too so I am not penning it down here.

AMAZON - REJECTED

  • Role: SDE Intern
  • Timeline: Applied in May and Interviews in June
  • Applied through: Amaze Wow
  • Process
    1. Online Coding Test
    2. F2F Elimination Round 1:
      • 2 Questions - 1 each from Trees and DP
      • I solved the Trees one completely, struggled with the DP one
      • Rejected in this round itself
  • Learning:
    • I didn't manage my time well, spent too much time on 1st question due to which couldn't code the 2nd within the given time.
    • I was pretty bad at explaining, interviewing just doesn't mean solving a question on silent mode.

POSTMAN - REJECTED

  • Role: SDE Intern
  • Timeline: Applied and Interviewed in August
  • Applied through: Careers Site (With referral)
  • Process
    1. Online Coding Test
    2. 1st F2F Round: JavaScript, Computer Networks, Databases, Resume Projects. All these were asked in great detail, cross-question from each answer, deep dive into all questions. Some questions that I remember: SSL Verification Process, many confusing questions around this in JavaScript, How HTTP and HTTPs connections are established, questions around working of NodeJS etc. I was rejected after this round itself. No DSA asked.
    3. FYI, 2 more F2F Rounds were expected if I had cleared the previous round.
  • Learning: Till now, I was majorly focusing on DSA, with this interview, I realized, I need to thoroughly study all CS Subject Fundamentals and just reading Top 50 interview Questions of OS before the interview isn't gonna work :p

GOOGLE - REJECTED

  • Role: Software Developer
  • Timeline: Applied in August, Interviewed in September
  • Applied through: Careers Site (With referral)
  • Process:

    1. 5 On-site Rounds(4 tech + 1 Googlyness) were to be scheduled. First 3 on Day 1 and remaining 2 only if the feedback from previous 3 rounds was positive.
    2. Interview Day: I was already quite nervous. In the first interview, 2 questions were asked, I solved both, one with expected time and space complexity but for the other question, the interviewer expected a more optimised solution. I sat for the 2nd interview with increased nervousness, only 1 question was asked, which I solved and coded but again the interviewer pushed for a more optimized approach. By this time, I knew that I have lost this chance and with no expectations, sat for the 3rd Round, this time I solved and coded the solution with best possible complexity, covered all edge cases etc. and the interviewer seemed happy with my performance. Topics of questions - DP, Binary Search, Graph, Hashmap
    3. I got a feedback call within the same week from the recruiter and I was rejected once again.
  • Learning: After this interview, I could clearly see the areas I needed to work on. The rejection and feedback from Google instead of demotivating me, lifted my spirits. I got 1 YES and 2 NOs from the 3 rounds, but the good thing was that even the 2 interviewers sent this feedback "She was way too near the optimization needed, it was a matter of some more minutes, and She would have solved it." They also told me my strong points along with where I lacked. I clearly knew that I needed to work more on Speed and Problem Solving Skills and I definitely started on it soon after this interview by giving more and more live contests and upsolving them regularly on Codeforces, atcoder, Leetcode, Codechef(short-only), binarysearch.io.
    Another big takeaway was giving interviews with a calm mind and confidence. My nervousness really slowed down my brain.

SHARECHAT - REJECTED

  • Role: Frontend Intern
  • Timeline: Applied and Interviewed in September
  • Applied through: A google form was all around. I just filled it and got the test link.
  • Process

    1. Online Coding Test(3 questions)
    2. DSA Round(elimination round): 2 questions(Topics - Graph and Hashmap) were asked, complete optimised, running, clean, bug-free code was expected for both. I performed quite good in this round. Interviewer seemed impressed. After a couple of hours, recruiter called and informed that I have my next round the next day.
    3. Frontend Dev Round(elimination round): HTML, CSS, JavaScript, ReactJS - This round revolved around these things only.
    4. Within the same week, I got the rejection mail.
  • Little more background: This was the 3rd time in the same year itself, that I received test link from Sharechat. First time, for Backend Intern Role(Out of 3, solved 2 questions completely and 1 partially, didn't get interview call), 2nd time for SDE Intern Role(solved all 3 questions completely, still didn't get interview call), 3rd time for Frontend Intern Role(solved all 3 questions completely, and got interview call this time). Now the sad thing at that time was that I had not been into frontend development at all, Backend Development was where both my skills and interest lied, but I thought that I will practice some frontend before the interviews. Now a more sad thing was that the interviews were scheduled just in a couple of days -- on the same day, my 3 google interviews were scheduled :P. As a result, I couldn't prepare anything for the frontend round.

  • Learning: Well, I was happy after performing good in DSA Round. Bad performance in frontend dev round didn't affect me because I hadn't prepared for it.

ATLAN - REJECTED

  • Role: Backend Intern
  • Timeline: Applied in July, Interviewed in September
  • Applied through: Careers Site(without referral), the application form was lengthy and asked about many things including - projects, open source contributions etc.
  • Process:
    1. Project Submission: They gave a problem statement, I had to build a solution(Android App or Website). I enjoyed making this project.
    2. 1st F2F Round: No DSA again, Many questions around the project I submitted in the previous round. Some questions revolved around scalability approaches, system design basics, reliability and failure in big projects. I answered most of the questions. And the interviewer seemed quite happy. There were some questions like - http multipart request, MySQL master slave replication that I couldn't answer.
    3. Result: This time I wasn't expecting rejection, but who cares about expectations, I was again rejected with a message that my past-experiences, projects, stack doesn't suit the requirement.
  • Learning: Stop expecting, You can get rejected even after you feel you did good.

INNOVACCER - PPO

Little good news in September, I received Pre Placement Offer from Innovaccer, where I did my summer intern. For the interview experience and process refer my other article.

A Break that I took from Interviewing

I was tired by this point, for some or the other reason, I was getting rejected again and again. I was working on my weak areas, analysing for each interview, why I couldn't make it and improving on those things. But every interview gave me a new reason of rejection.
The companies that I have listed above are only the ones I got interview calls from, Leave alone the companies where I applied and didn't get a reply and the companies from where I received test link but didn't get interview calls(2 cases here - For some, I didn't perform well enough in the tests, for some I didn't get interview call even after solving the tests completely).
I stopped applying to any companies at this point and just practiced more for around 1.5 months silently. No LinkedIn, No interviews, only coding and brushing fundamentals again.

CISCO - SELECTED

  • Role: SDE Intern
  • Timeline: Applied in July, interviewed in November. I had totally forgotten that I even applied here.
  • Applied through: Careers Site(with Referral).
  • Process:
    1. Online Test: 2 Coding Questions and MCQs. Only Java, Python and C were allowed.
    2. 1st Technical Round(60 mins): 2 Coding Questions
      • 1st question's optimization was based on using a linear String Matching Algo in one part of the algorithm, I implemented KMP.
      • 2nd question was to check whether a graph is a tree.
      • Write pseudo code for Semaphore Working
      • Many questions from Operating Systems - Threads, Processes, Memory Management etc.
    3. 2nd Technical Round(45 mins):
      • Based on CS Fundamentals and Resume
      • OS, DBMS, CN, REST API Design, Questions around my projects and skills that I mentioned in my resume
    4. HR Round: This was more of a formality, They informed about the stipend, duration etc and asked some questions like Why Cisco etc.

In a couple of days, I received the selection mail 🎉
Note: All rounds were eliminatory rounds and were conducted on the same day with a gap of couple of hours.

  • Learning - This was kind of my first success at interviews and I realized that a calm mind without any expectations helped me during the interview. This was also the first time, I was not nervous before the interviews, Why? This time I had tailored my mind with - "कर्म किए जा फल की इच्छा मत कर", in English - "Do your duty without thinking about results". Before the interviews, I just told myself to talk to the guys, solve the questions they ask and chill. And that helped :)

PAYPAL - SELECTED

  • Role: SDE Intern
  • Timeline: I applied around August and got test link in November and had interviews in December.
  • Applied through: Careers Site(without Referral). University Recruitment was probably the name of this hiring event.
  • Process:

    1. Online Test: 3 Coding Questions. The most interesting questions that I got in any test till now.
    2. 1st Technical Round(45 mins):
      • Trapping Rain Water Problem, Its a Leetcode Hard Problem. Complete optimised code was expected.
      • Asked me to explain the approach of the 2 questions from the online round and asked if I had any other approaches to solve them.
      • 2 Puzzles. It was fun solving them.
    3. 2nd Technical Round(30 mins):
      • Based on CS Fundamentals and Resume
      • The interviewer asked me to introduce myself along with the work that I have done in my previous internships or any projects that I wanted to discuss. She cross-questioned meanwhile.
      • The interviewer was clearly impressed with my answers and overall profile.
    4. Managerial Round:
      • This Round taught me to never be overconfident. I always thought that HR Rounds are a piece of cake for me, so I never really prepared or even thought about them.
      • The interviewer asked me many questions about myself - my aspirations, my principles of life, some situation based questions, my weaknesses, and many more and To be honest, I didn’t really feel good after the interview, I thought he is not gonna select me because, during the interview, he focused on my weaknesses a lot, most of his questions revolved around my weaknesses, it’s like I couldn’t even tell one of my profile/work highlights.

    In a couple of days, I received the selection mail 🎉. I joined PayPal and after the internship received a full-time offer from them.
    Note: All rounds were eliminatory rounds and were conducted on different days.

  • Learning - Most interviewers are very supportive and encouraging. Speaking with confidence and putting up a happy face instead of a scared one transmits good vibes across.

AMAZON - SELECTED

  • Role: Software Development Engineer
  • Timeline: Applied in January, Interviewed in March
  • Applied through: Careers Site(with Referral).
  • Process:

    1. Online Test: 2 Coding Questions and MCQs(Quant, Reasoning, English, Personality). I found it easy as compared to other tests I had given.
    2. 1st Technical Round(60 mins): 2 Coding Questions
      • Rotten Oranges Variant(a Leetcode Medium Question)
      • A question based on Topological Sort
    3. 2nd Technical Round(60 mins):
      • Graph Question - Used Djisktra Algo
      • DP Question (I don't remember the question)
    4. Bar Raiser Round(this was probably the name):
      • A mix of everything that is asked in interviews, It took well above 90 mins
      • 1 DSA - Binary Search Problem with some tricks and needed optimizations - Good Question
      • In-depth discussion of work in my previous internships
      • In-depth discussion of one project - He asked to write the code of one of the APIs of my project and asked to do some tweaks in the database calls inside it.
      • Discussion about my volunteering and leadership experiences.
      • Why Amazon
      • 2 Behavioural questions checking Amazon Leadership Principles

    In the same week, I received the selection call 🎉
    Note: All rounds were eliminatory rounds and were conducted in 2 days.

  • Learning - The interviewer advised me to never stop working on "Girl Code It"(it's an organisation that I run). He said, everybody works for money, promotions, a better life etc. but only a few have selfless purposes, Don't let it go.

MICROSOFT - SELECTED

  • Role: Software Developer
  • Timeline: Applied in January, Interviewed in February
  • Applied through: Microsoft Engage Hackathon
  • Process:

    1. Hackathon: 5 Problem Statements were given. My project was shortlisted and I was called for the further interview process.
    2. Online Test: 3 Coding Questions and MCQs. 2 coding questions were easy but the 3rd was one was a damn tough problem on graphs.
    3. 1st Technical Round(45 mins):
      • Resume and Projects Grilling
      • Hackathon Project Discussed
      • Questions around REST APIs, HTTP Verbs, request and response headers, SQL vs NOSQL - Usecases, ACID properties etc.
    4. 2nd Technical Round(30 mins):
      • 3 Coding Questions
      • Topics: Linked List, Hashmaps, DP
      • Average difficulty
    5. AA Round(As appropriate):
      • The recruiter told me that interviewer could ask anything in this round - coding question, fundamentals, projects, HR questions etc.
      • 1 Coding Question (From arrays, it was a new and tricky question and I don't remember it exactly) and asked Why I wanted to join Microsoft.
      • All of it went well overall. I couldn't tell the optimised approach at first but after some thinking I gave the expected solution soon. The interviewer even made a comment that he liked the way I approached the question from different directions and liked my confidence even after not hitting the right approach in the first go.

    In a couple of days, I received the selection call 🎉
    Note: All rounds were eliminatory rounds and were conducted on different days.

  • Learning - By this time, so much had changed about the way I interview, I once ruined my Amazon and Google Interviews because of being nervous after telling the brute approach, I have written it before, and will again repeat - Don't think too much, Nervousness can slow down your brain :p

PALANTIR - REJECTED

  • Role: Software Developer
  • Timeline: Applied in December, Interviewed in February
  • Location: London
  • Applied through: Careers Site(without referral)
  • Process:

    1. Online Coding Test: 3 Coding Questions. The questions were different and difficult than the usual ones, I solved 2 completely and 1 partially. Also, this was the only company where I got an interview call without hitting a 100% score in coding questions.
    2. 1st F2F Coding Round(60 mins):
      • 3 Coding Questions
      • Topics: Strings, Arrays, Trees, Hashmaps
      • The questions were easy but running code for all 3 was expected, and the implementation of each of them were lengthy. I coded as fast as I could and completed and explained my solutions to the interviewer.
    3. Another Coding Round:
      • A tricky Binary Tree Problem, later the interviewer asked the same question for generic tree. It went good.
    4. Learning Round:
      • Some rules of a new language were shared to me during the interview itself, and I was asked a few questions which I had to solve using that language syntax. It was very much like SQL. This round went good too.
    5. Decomposition Round:
      • It was more like a system design round if I would label it. A scenario for an app was given and I had to discuss it's high-level design. I wasn't prepared for it, but still did my best and interviewer seemed neutral. I couldn't judge how he felt about my performance.

    In a couple of days, I received the rejection and feedback call 🎉.
    The recruiter told me that, the feedback from all rounds is positive except the Decomposition Round. They liked me but still wouldn't be able to proceed with my application.

    Note: The interview process and support was one of the best I experienced.

  • Learning -

    • Prepare System Design :P
    • Though, I wasn't selected, but I gave my best and had a great experience.

TWITTER - SELECTED

Role - Software Engineer
Timeline - June, Last interview that I gave :p

Twitter asks the candidates to sign an NDA before the interview process, So I won't be able to share any specifics. My friend has penned down the general process, you can refer it here.

Some more Tips

Online Test: Try to solve all the questions. I have faced rejection even after solving all questions few times, leave alone the hopes of getting an interview without solving all questions completely.
Giving live or even virtual contests on codeforces.com, codechef.com(short only), atcoder.com, binarysearch.io, leetcode.com will equip you with problem solving skills, quick implementation ability, effective debugging, edge-cases recognition and resolution.

Within the actual Interview: I have a lot to share on this topic, so I will write a separate article altogether.

Getting calls from companies: A good resume, an impressive LinkedIn profile, applying to as many companies as possible and and an added referral(I took all the referrals through LinkedIn only) is the only answer.

If you are not getting replies from companies, not getting shortlisted, not getting selected after interviews, Just remember -
"जरूरी थोड़ी है, कि जो पत्थर तुम मारो, उससे आम टूटे ही टूटे, आखिर कुछ कोशिशें तैयारी के लिए भी होती हैं"
English Translation - "It isn't necessary that every stone you throw will hit the target, after all, some efforts are also made for preparation.""

Note:
There is a possibility that there might be some deviations in the timeline that I have mentioned and the order/number of interviews might also differ for someone else.

Good Luck for your interviews!
Also, Please share the article with those who can be helped with it and I hope it gave you a general idea of how the SDE Interviews at various companies look like.

If you want to know something else, Feel free to comment.

Discussion (34)

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shatakshiigupta profile image
Shatakshi Gupta

Thank you so much for sharing your learnings and the complete interview process. It is really inspiring.🙌✨
Just wanted to know when did you apply for interview for the first time like in which year of college?

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

For internships, I had been applying like since the beginning of 3rd year. For full-time roles, I started looking out from beginning of 4th year.

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shatakshiigupta profile image
Shatakshi Gupta

Awesome, thanks for telling.

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vk2501 profile image
vk-2501

Di when you really started preparing for internships and full time roles?And how you prepared for Online rounds?

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ty profile image
Ty

It's nice to see a simple breakdown of each interview, along with your thought process. Valuable stuff, thanks for sharing!

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

Your welcome :)
Good Luck

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bhanukirant99 profile image
Bhanu Kiran

It was very interesting to read and I felt that I was going through the interview process, thanks for each and every detail... This is a motivation to me
Thanks a lot again.🔥💯

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

I’m happy to be of assistance :)

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bibekkhatri profile image
Bibek Khatri

Do they expect you to know the same language or tools they are using in their tech stack? Do they reject someone who uses tools and languages other than their tech stack?

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

Nope, this isn't the case for most openings. But let's say some company is hiring a ReactJS Developer, then they would be definitely expecting you to know React.
Like in my case, for Frontend Dev Intern at Sharechat, there was a separate round for frontend things - HTML, CSS, JS mainly, and the interviewer asked me if I used any framework, so now the questions would depend on what the intervieew answers to this - ReactJS, AngularJS etc. Questions around that particular thing can be expected next.

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gauravsomani336 profile image
Gaurav somani • Edited

Can you please tell the process of applying to career site with refferals ? And How did you managed to get so many referrals?
Sorry but i am new to this 😅

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

I am keeping this for my next article here. Will publish within a week.

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gauravsomani336 profile image
Gaurav somani

ok thanks :D

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sj1218305 profile image
Shobhit Jain

Thanks for sharing your experience, It was really inspiring.

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

glad that i could help

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nikhilsharma profile image
Nikhil Sharma

Thank you sooo sooooo much for this. This really helps. Hearing your story really adds perspective to my vision. Thank you so much!

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

I'm happy to help.

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albertjokelin profile image
Albert Jokelin

Congratulations Manvi on completing such a daunting journey. I find your insights incredible and quite valuable. Thank you so much for sharing them!

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

Thanks buddy :)
I am happy that it served the purpose for which I shared it.

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arunteltia profile image
Arun Teltia

Really Motivating Lets Go🚀🚀✨

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

🚀🚀✨ You rock Arun, Keep going

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amansharma9458 profile image
Aman Sharma

Thanks mam for sharing this wonderful information, It gave me a boost.

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

glad to have helped

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krishnaagarwal1feb profile image
krishna

Such an inspiration and Never giving up attitude! Any quick tips for the day of interview?
I noticed: being calm , practice, Input based approach in life!
Thank you!

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paulcoder22 profile image
paul-coder-22

Awesome Manvi...Really inspiring..👏👏

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aditi944 profile image
aditi jha

When did you start preparing?

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

I have been into coding and stuff since 2nd semester. It has been a journey, rather than a start date, All my experiences altogether in the first 3 years of my college prepared me. I did interview-specific things like CS Fundamentals Revision in the interview season itself i.e, 4th year

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saumya66 profile image
Saumya

Loved it Manvi. Thanks for the blog !

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

My pleasure

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anki954 profile image
anki954

Thankyou so much for sharing ... .. inspiring journey..

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

Your welcome :)

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cosmoimai profile image

It's like goosebumps when I am reading your journey mam. Thank you mam for sharing .One thing I wanted to ask like how you manage do make projects along with practicing coding questions

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manvityagi9 profile image
Manvi Tyagi Author

Well, I dont really know how to answer that aptly. But I think, it was not a matter of just some days, Making projects and practicing coding questions has been a journey of months and years.

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arti123source profile image
arti123-source

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, it is very helpful. Wishing you the only best for your future endeavors!!