In my recent Amazon job interview, I was both excited and nervous. I was eager to showcase my skills and expertise in front-end development, but at the same time, I knew that the interview would be a challenge. I was in a different time zone while taking the interview, it was 10 pm for me, which added an extra layer of stress to the experience.
On the day of the interview, I was tired but I was determined to show up and at least try, and give my best. I am a web developer, working with Angular and RxJS, as well as all the related front-end technologies. I expected the questions to challenge me, and to reflect the level of expertise I had gained over the years.
But as the interview began, I was thrown off guard. The questions were surprisingly basic, almost like they were copied straight from FreeCodeCamp. I was expected to come up with a convincing and well-crafted answer for things like "What happens in the browser when you click with your mouse?" or "What exactly is a hyperlink?"
Back when I was just starting, around 3 years ago, I was learning the basics of how the internet works, browsers, and hyperlinks. From there, I delved into:
SASS (CSS preprocessor)
Angular & JS frameworks
Git and version control
and so much more.
Recently, I've been working on dynamic forms with Angular, reactive programming and REST APIs... Three years is a long time in the web development world... so questions like "What is a hyperlink" was certainly not what I expected to be asked during this interview.
It's hard to retain information from so long ago, especially when you've built upon it with so much more knowledge and expertise. It's almost impossible to go back and remember those early concepts in a way that you can explain them convincingly, with almost template-like answers -> unless you are just memorizing stuff. I wasn't prepared for this, and it took me by surprise. And the thing is that even the most experienced professionals still have gaps in their knowledge, and don't always have all the answers at every given time - and that's okay.
The Coding Challenge
As I started the coding challenge, I was already feeling the pressure of being in a different time zone and facing unexpected interview questions. However, nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. The coding challenge was not complex but the coding environment was severely limited, with no browser, no visual output, and no console. It was like being transported back to the early days of coding, where all I have is Notepad, not even Notepad++, just Notepad!
Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, I encountered a new problem. My keyboard wouldn't type, no matter how hard I tried. I couldn't believe it - I was facing technical difficulties during an interview for a developer role. I felt my stress levels rising, but I refused to let this ruin my chances. I took a deep breath and started investigating the issue.
As it turned out, the coding environment was not equipped to handle different keyboard languages. After realizing this, I switched back to typing in English, and voila! My keyboard was typing correctly once again. I was able to complete the coding challenge, despite the limited environment and technical difficulties.
The Amazon job interview was a challenging experience, but not for the reasons that I expected. It was a reminder that in the world of technology, things can go wrong at any moment, and it's important to be able to adapt and find solutions.
Looking back, I am thinking that maybe I was even lucky in a way... or at least that's what it seems like... I am sure that any other developer would have loved to be in a situation where they were asked simpler other than harder questions...
I want to make it clear that I do understand the significance of my input and performance and I don't want to come across as if I am just finding excuses or blaming things on circumstances. At the end of the day, the responsibility was mine. I was given a chance and, despite the difficulties, I want to own up to it.
I realized that these challenges only made me stronger. I was able to overcome the limitations of the coding environment and use my problem-solving skills to complete the task. It was a valuable lesson in perseverance and determination.
Overall, I am grateful for the opportunity to interview with Amazon, and I look forward to learning more from my experiences and growing as a software developer.
List of the Interview Questions
Work history questions.
Tell me about a time when you realized that you need a deeper level of subject matter expertise to do your job well.
Can you give a specific example How do you learn new technologies - what is the strategy?
What does doing research means for you?
What is your level of working with the newest technology (which for me is Angular)?
What do you do when QA returns a ticket and the solution is not immediately clear to you?
When you fixed that issue returned by the QA was there anything that you did to make sure that it didn't happen again? HTML accessibility questions.
Structuring HTML questions.
How would you optimize a page that is loading slowly in the browser?
How does the browser work internally, when a user CLICKS ON AN ELEMENT what is happening in the browser?
What happens if we don't have an event listener attached to the element?
When we CLICK in the browser we know that it creates an event, can you talk to me a bit more about this event, what is going on there?
What is a hyperlink, and how does it work exactly?
This is not a trivia hour just trying to figure out the scope of things that you are familiar with.
Are you familiar with the term CSS specificity?
ChatGPT Answers - soon