How I Cracked the Google System Design Interview: A Comprehensive Preparation Guide

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A few months ago, I successfully cracked the Google interview for Senior Software Engineer. My recruiter supported me throughout the process and provided pointers on how to approach the interview rounds. Fortunately, I cleared all the rounds, and here is a documentation of how I prepared for the System Design Round. I have also written another article on how to crack the coding interview round.

Before the Interview

Practice: Ensure all your rounds are scheduled at a time when you are most alert and comfortable. Avoid scheduling during or around lunchtime when you might feel sleepy and less alert (although I am writing this article just after lunch because my little kid is sleeping 😅).

Take a problem and work through the data modeling and high-level design. Practice for the interview at the same time every day, preferably at the time when your interview is scheduled. This practice session should simulate an actual interview. Split your 1-hour interview into different segments:

Understanding the problem statement (5 mins)Getting the estimates (5 mins)Data Model Design (5 mins)API Design (5 mins)High-level design (20–30 mins)Time for discussions with the interviewer (10 mins)

After your practice session, review the solution and identify any deviations. Determine whether the proposed solution is better than yours or if your solution suits the problem better. This process will help increase your knowledge base.

This preparation will require at least two hours of practice per day. If this seems too demanding, you can split the practice sessions over two days.

Additionally, review the basics of system design. There are plenty of materials and system design questions available online.

During the Interview

Make sure you and your interviewer are on the same page and that you understand the problem clearly. Like the practice sessions, split your interview into five parts. Be very organized and clear in your thoughts, and make sure you are communicating whatever you are thinking so that the interviewer has the opportunity to guide you in the right direction. This will happen naturally if you practice every day; you won’t need to put in extra effort here.

At this point, ensure you are actually solving the problem statement given by the interviewer. Avoid unnecessary details and focus directly on the problem. Start solving for a lower scale and then expand to a higher scale based on the estimates. Leave some time for discussion with the interviewer. Continuously check with the interviewer to confirm if you are on the right track. This will allow you to correct your approach early rather than later when it might be too late.

Also, remember that being confident is the key to cracking any interview. Believe in yourself, and you will succeed.

After the Interview

Just relax; you have done your best, and now you just need to wait for the results 🙂. Another practice I recommend is making a note of the question and the approach you took during the interview. This will help you prepare more efficiently for future interviews.

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Thank you for reading! If you found this guide helpful, don’t hesitate to clap or share your feedback in the comments.

Ultimate Guide to Crack Any System Design Round was originally published in Level Up Coding on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

​ Level Up Coding – Medium

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