20 Best Amazon System Design Interview Tips with 20 Practice Questions and Answers

By | July 18, 2023
Amazon System Design Interview
You can increase your chances of success at the Amazon system design interview by effectively preparing for it with practice questions.

At Amazon, the system design interview will be a tough one for you to face if you are not well prepared.

It is an interview structured to hire the best candidates for programming, design, software engineering, and developer positions.

This post provides great tips and practice questions and answers to help you to effectively prepare for and succeed in your system design interview session with Amazon.

Please, read on:

20 Best Amazon System Design Interview Tips

Here are useful tips you can use in your preparation for Amazon system design interview:

  1. Communication.

Ensure that you ask clarifying questions, put together the requirements.

  1. Design to scale.

Run a design in less than 20mins, and then move into ways to make it scalable, reliable, and efficient enough.

  1. Concrete and quantitative solutions.

Get familiar with common designs patterns and be set to predict the cost generated by the system you designed.

  1. Trade-offs and compromises.

Look forward in calling out the trade-offs and compromises done in the cause of the design.

  1. Show the interviewer that you have the knowledge they need.

Pour the knowledge you’ve acquired to the interviewer and your expertise.

  1. Start high-level, then drill-down.

Begin with covering the process of end-to-end based on the goals you’ve accomplished.

  1. Data structures and algorithms (DS&A).

Knowing this is important in designing software systems.

  1. Do high-level design in the first 20 minutes.

Quickly draft a high level design for the system in the space of 20 minutes.

  1. Drill down into your strongest area first.

Begin with the particular components you are familiar with.

  1. Don’t get caught in a “rabbit hole”.

Do not get continuously caught up in considering designs.

  1. Bring it all together.

You should be able to summarize your solution and pick out important improvement opportunities.

  1. Know how to design a tinyURL system.

An interviewer might ask this to give you the chance to show your strong foundation in design.

  1. Use a STAR response technique.

This is a method that can help in showing your knowledge and qualifications through certain experiences.

  1. Understand the goals.

You have to understand what they need and the inputs and outputs the system can be.

  1. Use your background as an advantage.

Give a special set of values and knowledge that nobody can.

  1. Practice is necessary.

The familiarity you have with the opportunity will uncover your qualifications.

  1. Tackle the problems systematically.

Formulate a set of steps for yourself and use those steps to create a picture in your head which will guide your decision making process.

  1. Keep your own notes.

Get a note you can carry about for quick jotting down of ideas that you can take reference from in the future.

  1. Establish the scope.

Be able to define all the features that you think of by their relevance to the user.

  1. Design for the right scale.

It is vital that you determine the right scale for your data in order to fit on one machine.

20 Amazon System Design Interview Practice Questions and Answers

Here are sample questions and answers you can practice with to improve your performance in a system design interview at Amazon:

  1. How would you design a tinyURL system?

TinyURL is a URL service that enables a user to enter a long URL, and it then returns a shorter, unique URL.

Answer: By using a basic 16-bit hash table.

  1. How would you design a search engine?

A search engine is needed in a specific department to locate an important employee information or item.

Answer: Building an indexer and having the crawl set for H1 and H2, rather than H3, then observe if there are any inbound links to avoid spammers

  1. How to design a web crawler, and when should it be used?

A web crawler is a program designed to enter other sites and check them for information.

Answer: By integrating a URL dispatcher, used in a designed messaging queue, and extracting the data from the web page using spider.

  1. How to design a shared drive?

Answer: By using event-passing to enable real-time collaborations as the ownership approach can only enable the first one displaying the document to make any adjustment.

  1. Requirements to design a garbage collection system?

Answer: Making use of the mark and sweep method.

  1. How do you design a recommendation system?

Answer: By using the prominent approach of collaborative filtering.

  1. Design Facebook messenger or WhatsApp.

Answer: Considering an approach end-to-end text messaging, delivered and read status, push notifications.

  1. Design Qoura/Reddit/HackerNews.

Answer: Getting an approach to record stats, options for follow, generating News feed.

  1. Design search Typeahead?

Answer: Considering approaches to keep data fresh and finding best matches to the already typed string, and for already typed strings.

  1. Design Dropbox/Google Drive/Google photos?

Answer: Enabling support for large files up to a GB, ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability) property should be found in the system, approach to track permission for sharing file and much more.

Here are other questions you might be asked in an Amazon system design interview that you should prepare for:

  1. Design Facebook
  2. Design Twitter
  3. Design Uber or lyft
  4. Design and API Rate limiter
  5. Design YouTube
  6. Design Instagram
  7. Design whatsapp
  8. Design a message board service
  9. Design bit.ly
  10. Design a social network

10 Good Questions Candidates can ask the Interviewer in an Amazon System Design Interview

These are a number of relevant questions you can ask your interviewer when taking a system design interview with Amazon:

  1. What is the system goal?
  2. What is the scale of the system?
  3. Where you should focus?
  4. Should we focus our talk around the API?
  5. How many customers are served by the system in a day?
  6. What are the requirements for performance?
  7. How is the demand on the system supposed to change in the future?
  8. Bookstore purpose?
  9. Does the bookstore focus on a particular reader?
  10. Where to proceed?


If you are taking the Amazon system design interview, you can boost your chances of passing it by using the ideas, tips, and practice questions and answers provided on this page.