Web developers are responsible for handling the creation and maintenance of websites and web applications. Web developers can be categorized into different categories like, front-end developers, back-end developers, or full-stack developers depending on the scope of their role in web development.
Front-end developers basically handles the client side of web development, including all the visual elements and the overall user experience i.e., UI and UX. Back-end developers deal with the server side of web development, which includes maintaining the technology to keep the server, application, and database running. The combination of these two focus areas is referred to as full-stack development.
Getting Hired As a Full-Stack Developer
Full-Stack developers are generally in high demand in the field of web development in today's marketplace. Smaller businesses look to employ full-stack developers to take care of the whole process of website development, but even bigger companies like Facebook and Google are increasingly hiring engineers with full-stack capabilities instead of hiring front-end and backend developers separately.
The first step towards a career as a full-stack developer is to learn the necessary front-end and back-end programming languages. In order to get hired in product based companies like Amazon, one should be familiar enough with code across the entire web application stack so that he/she can dive in anywhere if needed. This can be achieved by following the traditional route of getting a college degree in computer science or a related discipline, or other paths like self-learning or bootcamps.
- Web-Development Fundamentals
- Creating Asynchronous Web Applications
- Serve-Side Programming with NodeJS
- Advanced Front-end: React/Angular
- Advanced topics like Data Structures and Algorithms
Steps to Crack Amazon Full-Stack Interview
At Amazon the Full-Stack interview is a lot different from an SDE (software development engineer) interview, also Facebook similarly has a completely different recruiting process for UI Engineers. For Google, UX Engineer is the FEE equivalent with its own interview process. When you are interviewing for what you think is a full-stack role, make sure the recruiter and everyone you talk to is on the same page.
Step 1 : Data Structures and Algorithms
In order to Amazon full-stack interview, the concepts of data structures and algorithms must be crystal clear. Books will help you become more familiar with the algorithms and data structures commonly found in modern tech interviews. Even though full-stack specific interviews are not dealing as heavily in these areas as SDE interviews, but these concepts are always essential. For example, most of the developers needed to understand basic search algorithms in multiple full-stack interviews. Trees are also an important concept to understand in the full-stack space. The following books can be really helpful.
- De-Coding The Technical Interview Process
- The Impostor’s Handbook
- The Algorithm Design Manual
- Cracking the Coding Interview
Step 2 : Practicing Multiple Interview Questions
Studying and practicing on Leetcode regularly for a few weeks before the Amazon interview will definitely help a lot. It is not about memorizing arcane problems & their solutions, but about being able to quickly break down what is essentially a word problem into some useful data structure and an algorithm or path to solving it.
When people talk about data structures in the full-stack environment, this is all they mean. Purpose-built objects (or classes) with keys and values that make it easy to perform whatever action is needed. You do not need to memorize anything.
It often helps to work backwards. Ignore, for now, that the data is in a giant log file, think instead, “if I wanted to efficiently look up the top 5 entries, what would be the best way to do that? What shape should the data be in?” And then work out how to get the data into that shape before coding your solution.
Remember, you will only have about 30 minutes in an interview to complete most of these questions, so practicing getting to the right approach quickly with these exercises, will make a big difference.
Step 3 : Preparation for “Soft-Skills” Type Questions
If you want to get a job at Amazon, you definitely need to be ready to talk about their leadership principles and come up with perfect answers to the soft skills questions. These questions ultimately carry a significant amount of weight in your interview. They are not hard to prepare for and you can practice them with anyone. Practicing some well-thought out examples for as many of these questions/principles will definitely help.
In addition to leadership skills and computer science basics, you definitely need to be able to demonstrate competence with front-end skills like JS and CSS. You need to know how to use Vanilla JS to traverse and manipulate the DOM. You need to be able to lay out content with CSS. You should also be able to speak fluently about and demonstrate the ability to use your framework of choice to build some UI components.
Step 5 : The System Design Question
For a full-stack engineer the system design question is about breaking up a large task into smaller components and describing how all of those pieces will fit together. It’s usually done on a whiteboard and your end result often looks loosely like a high level UX sketch or a system diagram.
Here are a few suggestions for doing well in these questions:
- For full-stack questions make sure to think about stability and scalability.
- For the UI component type questions make sure to mention theming, extensibility, accessibility, requiring a specific framework, etc.
- Both answers need to consider performance, mobile friendliness and security.
- Try to be as specific as possible.
Step 6 : The Interview Loop
At Amazon Interview, you will have four or five different interviews as part of your onsite. The first 20 minutes or so of each will be leadership principle questions and the rest will be spent covering one technical question each. Topics usually include data structures & algorithms, logical & maintainable code, front-end tech, system design and then if there is a fifth one it would likely be all focused on leadership principles.
It is not uncommon during an interview for a candidate to get flustered and a little bit lost in their thoughts. Sometimes it can help to pause, take a deep breath, and re-consider the approach you have taken. Talk through your thoughts out loud and make sure to ask questions to better understand the problem. Often times the interviewer will provide subtle or specific hints to keep you going in the right direction.
At this point, in this article we have covered most of what we can expect in a full-stack interview at Amazon. It can definitely feel like a daunting process, but it can be assured that if one wants a good paying, stable job with a ton of growth opportunities, then big tech is not such a bad place to be. I think you will find that most big tech companies have a similar process to this and hopefully this information gives you the confidence needed to go after your dream job.