Facebook Data Engineer Interview Guide | Questions, Process and Tips
Big data has transformed several industries and taken job markets by storm. A career in data engineering is lucrative, and if you have the chance to work at a FAANG giant like Facebook, there would be no better opportunity to kickstart your career or progress in the field. Candidates often struggle with resume writing for their FAANG+ applications, and making it to the interview rounds is an achievement in itself. To help you land your dream Facebook Data Engineer offer, we’ve created this interview guide so you can ace the interviews like a pro! 🚀
This Facebook Data Engineer Interview Guide covers the following topics:
The Data Engineer Role at Facebook
Interview Process and Timeline
Facebook Data Engineer Example Interview Questions
Promotions at Facebook
The Data Engineer Role at Facebook 🧑💻
Facebook is a company that works with data each day. As a data engineer, you will be responsible for partnering with key business stakeholders, data scientists, and software engineers to create technology and data architecture that can help make real-time strategic decisions. You will also be responsible for building high-performance scalable data warehouses, efficient data pipelines, and extensible data models to translate business needs and provide meaningful recommendations and actionable strategies.
According to levels.fyi, entry-level Data Engineers at Facebook (IC4) in the United States make around US$222k per annum.
Here are the examples of the minimum and preferred qualifications required to work as a Facebook Data Engineer:
Note: The requirements for the role may differ based on the team, seniority, location, and job responsibilities.
Interview Process and Timeline ⏳
The process and timeline for Facebook Data Engineer interviews are more or less similar to other roles at Facebook.
There are two types of career tracks at Facebook — Individual Contributors (IC) and Managers. The interview topics for the Facebook engineering manager interview may vary depending on the position you have applied for.
Recruiter Screen (30–45 minutes)
This will be a 30–45 minutes call with a recruiter/hiring manager from Facebook. It will mainly assess your leadership skills and potential to succeed in the role. Be ready to answer behavioral questions using the STAR method for this round. Don’t forget to prepare basic answers for questions like “Why do you want to work at Facebook?”, “Tell me about yourself,” and “What about this role excites you?”
Technical Screen (60 minutes)
The technical screen will be a 60-minute round with a Facebook Data Engineer to assess your technical abilities. This round would typically include SQL and coding questions besides a few other behavioral ones. Each section of this round will have about five questions, and the coding round is often conducted using a collaborative editor like CoderPad for a coding language of your choice.
The interviewer mainly assesses your SQL concepts and ability to solve business questions. Additionally, with the coding questions, they attempt to understand your proficiency in the language of your choice and how you approach the problems to arrive at an optimal solution.
Tip: To crack the technical screen, focus on practicing basic SQL concepts like joins, aggregations, subqueries, etc. For the coding questions, practice easy and medium complexity questions on Leetcode.
However, if you are interviewing for the DE Manager role, the focus will be more on how you approach complex problems to arrive at a solution and less on how accurate your code is to get the correct answer.
Onsite/Virtual Interviews (3–4 rounds, 60 minutes each)
Depending on the current situation of the pandemic in your location, you may have the chance to interview face-to-face with Facebook employees at their office for one or two days or virtually across several days. There are anywhere between 3–4 onsite rounds for the Facebook Data Engineer interview.
For the Facebook Data Engineer onsite interviews, there will be three rounds of technical interviews and one round for ownership. These could differ for the DE Manager role, with more rounds for behavioral interviews.
Here is what they assess in the onsite interviews:
- Two rounds for SQL/ETL: Focus on your coding and programming skills for the language of your choice and product sense/analysis questions
- One round for Data Modeling: Combination of coding and SQL questions + data modeling case for business scenarios
- One round for ownership/leadership/behavioral interview: STAR method questions with a focus on past experiences and “tell me about a time” questions, with some technical questions
Facebook Data Engineer Example Interview Questions 📝
The following areas that interviewers assess for candidates who have applied for the Facebook Data Engineer position.
SQL Practice Questions
- Write a query that returns product_family, units_sold, and percentage of promoted.
- What is the performance difference between union/union all?
- Given a table of users and to whom they sent friend requests, what is the average number of requests sent in the last week?
- Given a table, find the most recent transaction in the table.
- Write an SQL query to rank the scores according to specific criteria. [Solution]
- A company’s executives are interested in seeing who earns the most money in each department. A high earner in a department is an employee with a salary in the top three unique salaries for that department. Write an SQL query to find the employees who are high earners in each of the departments. Return the result table in any order. [Solution]
- We are considering running a promo across brands. We want to target customers who have bought products from two specific brands. Can you find out which customers have purchased products from the “Fort West” and the “Golden” brands? [Solution]
- Perform an appropriate join between three tables to match columns.
- Calculate the percentage of total sales on start and end dates with overall sales data.
- The cancellation rate is computed by dividing the number of canceled (by client or driver) requests with unbanned users by the total number of requests with unbanned users on that day. Write a SQL query to find the cancellation rate of requests with unbanned users (both client and driver must not be banned) each day between “2013–10–01” and “2013–10–03” — round the Cancellation Rate to two decimal points. [Solution]
Python Practice Questions
- Write a function to return the number of times a character appears in a string. The character can be the empty string. [Solution]
- Complete a function that returns a list containing mismatched words in two strings. The return list can be in any order. [Solution]
- Given a dictionary, print the key for the nth highest value present in the dictionary. If there is more than one record present for the nth highest value, sort the key and print the first one (alphabetically). N can be higher than the number of elements in the dictionary. [Solution]
- Write a function that pulls a list and compares the parameter with the amount. Display the total # of elements in the list with a total value less than the amount.
- Write a function to count the number of times each character appears in a string and rewrite the string in that format. Eg. “I am back.” should become “i1 2a2m1b1c1k1.1” [Solution]
- Given an array of integers, we would like to determine whether the array is monotonic (non-decreasing/non-increasing) or not. [Solution]
- Count uncommon words from two sentences.
- Write a simple spell-checking engine.
- Given a two-dimensional list, for example, [ [2,3],[3,4],] person 2 is friends with three, etc., find how many friends each person has. Note that one person has no friends.
- Given an integer array nums of length n and an integer target, find three integers in nums such that the sum is closest to the target. Return the sum of the three integers.
Data Modeling Practice Questions
- Design a database schema for an app that provides a ride-sharing service, explain which tables, field types, and keys will need to be saved.
- What is the priority of building a pipeline?
- How will you design ETL pipelines for the model?
- Prepare a design model for a gaming company such as Epic Games.
- Design a relational database for a ride-sharing app.
Product Sense & Analysis Practice Questions
- How do you measure the impact of fake news?
- How would you rate the popularity of a video posted online?
- How do we decide the maximum number of notifications people receive per day?
- How do we measure the success of this feature?
- How would you check if Facebook should change something in the newsfeed? How would you define the KPI in this case?
Behavioral Practice Questions
- Tell me about a time you encountered a challenge?
- Why do you want to be a Data Engineer?
- Describe a conflict you were a part of and how you solved it.
- If hired, what will be your contribution to our team culture?
- What strategy will you adopt to implement new technology or process within your team?
- Were you ever part of a project you did not want to take up? If yes, how did you keep up your motivation levels?
- Tell me about a project you’re most proud of.
- How would you manage conflicting priorities?
- Tell me about a time you took a risk.
- Tell me about a time you worked on something that had a tremendous impact. What sort of data did you use during decision-making?
Preparation Tips 🎯
- You will be assessed on your SQL and coding abilities during technical interviews. When talking about coding abilities, your interviewers want to know you can solve corner cases and develop a production-ready solution, so make sure your responses are fast, accurate, and optimal. Coming to SQL, the critical skills assessed are data manipulation, retrieval, and building data structures.
- When practicing data modeling questions, ensure your solutions are end-to-end and meet the project/consumer needs. Your answers should involve elements of data extraction, transformation, manipulation, storage, and retrieval.
- For ETL questions, start with identifying the end goal of the task, reduce touchpoints by getting rid of any unnecessary steps, and conclude with reusable patterns.
- For the ownership rounds, focus on your communication skills. Be honest and authentic, and refer to events from your experiences to answer questions about how you solved a similar situation.
- Share your approach to arriving at the solution. While solving problems, make sure to think out loud to help the interviewers understand your thought process.
Promotions at Facebook 📈
If you have already landed the job — congratulations! We’re so happy you made it this far. Pat yourself in the back because landing offers at FAANG+ companies is not an easy task.
But don’t forget, this is only the beginning. Once you’ve been hired at Facebook, you will undergo performance reviews that will determine what your next promotion is going to be. However, promotions at Facebook are quicker than in other FAANG companies.
Performance reviews are conducted over a two-week period where you submit your self-evaluation and reviews from peers, which your manager then assesses. Note that managers are not the ultimate decision-makers in the process, and several parties’ consensus decides promotions. But there is only a certain period of time that you can stay at a particular job title before moving up the ladder at Facebook, making it a faster process.
If you are a low performer, two things could happen — you may be offered another role that matches your skill set better, or put on a PIP (performance improvement plan) for about 4–6 weeks.
If you are a great performer, you will be moved up the ladder with a promotion, raise, better stock refreshers, and bonuses. Note that you are evaluated on points like judgment, quality of execution, risk management, and learning to determine whether you deserve the promotion.
Working as a Data Engineer at Facebook can be life-changing. Not only does it open new avenues for you within the company, but switching to another FAANG after some time becomes more accessible too.
Nervous about your next Facebook interview? Practice with ex-Facebook employees through our mock interviews.