My Placements Journey

Manvi Tyagi
12 min readJul 27, 2021

This article is all about my placements journey. I have cleared interviews and got offers from Microsoft, Twitter, Amazon, PayPal, Cisco, and a couple more. I am sharing my interview experiences not only for these companies but for all the companies where I was rejected too — Google, Sharechat, Atlan, Postman, Amazon. And the reason for that is — “You can’t do all the mistakes by yourselves to learn from them, A wise person learns from the mistakes of others.” I have shared my mistakes and learnings from different interviews, hopefully, it will be helpful.

I am a final year student from a Tier-3 college (and it really doesn’t matter), but I have to mention it because so many juniors are worried about this fact and I wanna make clear that — “Accept whatever you got and work towards your goal, Tier-3 College Tag won’t block your ways if you upskill enough”.

All the experiences would cover the following details:

Let’s just start then —
Also, Don’t get demotivated by my repeated rejections, We will move towards the good things gradually :p

ZS Associates — SELECTED

First interview of 4th year. Though not the desired role or package, my confidence was boosted after clearing all the rounds.
A lengthy process and not for SDE Role too so I am not penning it down here.


Role: SDE Intern

Timeline: Applied in May and Interviews in June

Applied through: Amaze Wow


  1. Online Coding Test
  2. F2F Elimination Round 1:
  • 2 Questions — 1 each from Trees and DP
  • I solved the Trees one completely, struggled with the DP one
  • Rejected in this round itself


I didn’t manage my time well, spent too much time on 1st question due to which couldn’t code the 2nd within the given time.

I was pretty bad at explaining, interviewing just doesn’t mean solving a question on silent mode.


Role: SDE Intern

Timeline: Applied and Interviewed in August

Applied through: Careers Site (With referral)


  1. Online Coding Test
  2. 1st F2F Round: JavaScript, Computer Networks, Databases, Resume Projects. All these were asked in great detail, cross-question from each answer, deep dive into all questions. Some questions that I remember: SSL Verification Process, many confusing questions around this in JavaScript, How HTTP and HTTPS connections are established, questions around working of NodeJS, etc. I was rejected after this round itself. No DSA asked.
  3. FYI, 2 more F2F Rounds were expected if I had cleared the previous round.


Till now, I was majorly focusing on DSA, with this interview, I realized, I need to thoroughly study all CS Subject Fundamentals and just reading Top 50 interview Questions of OS before the interview isn’t gonna work :p


Role: Software Developer

Timeline: Applied in August, Interviewed in September

Applied through: Careers Site (With referral)


  1. 5 On-site Rounds(4 tech + 1 Googlyness) were to be scheduled. First 3 on Day 1 and the remaining 2 only if the feedback from the previous 3 rounds was positive.
  2. Interview Day: I was already quite nervous. In the first interview, 2 questions were asked, I solved both, one with expected time and space complexity but for the other question, the interviewer expected a more optimized solution. I sat for the 2nd interview with increased nervousness, only 1 question was asked, which I solved and coded but again the interviewer pushed for a more optimized approach. By this time, I knew that I have lost this chance and with no expectations, sat for the 3rd Round, this time I solved and coded the solution with the best possible complexity, covered all edge cases, etc. and the interviewer seemed happy with my performance. Topics of questions — DP, Binary Search, Graph, Hashmap
  3. I got a feedback call within the same week from the recruiter and I was rejected once again.


After this interview, I could clearly see the areas I needed to work on. The rejection and feedback from Google instead of demotivating me, lifted my spirits. I got 1 YES and 2 NOs from the 3 rounds, but the good thing was that even the 2 interviewers sent this feedback “She was way too near the optimization needed, it was a matter of some more minutes, and She would have solved it.” They also told me my strong points along with where I lacked. I clearly knew that I needed to work more on Speed and Problem Solving Skills and I definitely started on it soon after this interview by giving more and more live contests and upsolving them regularly on Codeforces, atcoder, Leetcode, Codechef(short-only),
Another big takeaway was giving interviews with a calm mind and confidence. My nervousness really slowed down my brain.


Role: Frontend Intern

Timeline: Applied and Interviewed in September

Applied through: A google form was all around. I just filled it and got the test link.


  1. Online Coding Test(3 questions)
  2. DSA Round(elimination round): 2 questions(Topics — Graph and Hashmap) were asked, complete optimized, running, clean, bug-free code was expected for both. I performed quite well in this round. The interviewer seemed impressed. After a couple of hours, a recruiter called and informed me that I have my next round the next day.
  3. Frontend Dev Round(elimination round): HTML, CSS, JavaScript, ReactJS — This round revolved around these things only.
  4. Within the same week, I got the rejection mail.
  • Little more background: This was the 3rd time in the same year itself, that I received a test link from Sharechat. The first time, for Backend Intern Role(Out of 3, solved 2 questions completely and 1 partially, didn’t get interview call), 2nd time for SDE Intern Role(solved all 3 questions completely, still didn’t get interview call), 3rd time for Frontend Intern Role(solved all 3 questions completely, and got an interview call this time). Now the sad thing at that time was that I had not been into frontend development at all, Backend Development was where both my skills and interest lay, but I thought that I will practice some frontend before the interviews. Now a more sad thing was that the interviews were scheduled just in a couple of days — on the same day, my 3 google interviews were scheduled :P. As a result, I couldn’t prepare anything for the front-end round.

Learning: Well, I was happy after performing well in DSA Round. Bad performance in the frontend dev round didn’t affect me because I hadn’t prepared for it.


Role: Backend Intern

Timeline: Applied in July, Interviewed in September

Applied through: Careers Site(without referral), the application form was lengthy and asked about many things including — projects, open-source contributions, etc.


  1. Project Submission: They gave a problem statement, I had to build a solution(Android App or Website). I enjoyed making this project.
  2. 1st F2F Round: No DSA again, many questions around the project I submitted in the previous round. Some questions revolved around scalability approaches, system design basics, reliability, and failure in big projects. I answered most of the questions. And the interviewer seemed quite happy. There were some questions like — HTTP multipart request, MySQL master-slave replication that I couldn’t answer.
  3. Result: This time I wasn’t expecting rejection, but who cares about expectations, I was again rejected with a message that my past experiences, projects, stack don’t suit the requirement.

Learning: Stop expecting, You can get rejected even after you feel you did good.


Little good news in September, I received Pre Placement Offer from Innovaccer, where I did my summer internship. For the interview experience and process refer to my other article.

A Break that I took from Interviewing

I was tired by this point, for some or other reason, I was getting rejected again and again. I was working on my weak areas, analyzing for each interview, why I couldn’t make it, and improving on those things. But every interview gave me a new reason for rejection.
The companies that I have listed above are only the ones I got interview calls from, Leave alone the companies where I applied and didn’t get a reply and the companies from where I received test link but didn’t get interview calls(2 cases here — For some, I didn’t perform well enough in the tests, for some I didn’t get interview call even after solving the tests completely).
I stopped applying to any companies at this point and just practiced more for around 1.5 months silently. No LinkedIn, no interviews, only coding and brushing fundamentals again.


Role: SDE Intern

Timeline: Applied in July, interviewed in November. I had totally forgotten that I even applied here.

Applied through: Careers Site(with Referral).


  1. Online Test: 2 Coding Questions and MCQs. Only Java, Python, and C were allowed.
  2. 1st Technical Round(60 mins): 2 Coding Questions
  • 1st question’s optimization was based on using a linear String Matching Algo in one part of the algorithm, I implemented KMP.
  • 2nd question was to check whether a graph is a tree.
  • Write pseudo code for Semaphore Working
  • Many questions from Operating Systems — Threads, Processes, Memory Management, etc.

3. 2nd Technical Round(45 mins):

  • Based on CS Fundamentals and Resume
  • OS, DBMS, CN, REST API Design, Questions around my projects and skills that I mentioned in my resume

4. HR Round: This was more of a formality, They informed about the stipend, duration, etc, and asked some questions like Why Cisco, etc.

In a couple of days, I received the selection mail 🎉
Note: All rounds were eliminatory rounds and were conducted on the same day with a gap of a couple of hours.


Role: SDE Intern

Timeline: I applied around August got a test link in November and had interviews in December.

Applied through: Careers Site(without Referral). University Recruitment was probably the name of this hiring event.


  1. Online Test: 3 Coding Questions. The most interesting questions that I got in any test till now.
  2. 1st Technical Round(45 mins):
  • Trapping Rain Water Problem, It's a Leetcode Hard Problem. Complete optimized code was expected.
  • Asked me to explain the approach of the 2 questions from the online round and asked if I had any other approaches to solve them.
  • 2 Puzzles. It was fun solving them.

3. 2nd Technical Round(30 mins):

  • Based on CS Fundamentals and Resume
  • The interviewer asked me to introduce myself along with the work that I have done in my previous internships or any projects that I wanted to discuss. She cross-questioned meanwhile.
  • The interviewer was clearly impressed with my answers and overall profile.

4. Managerial Round:

  • This Round taught me to never be overconfident. I always thought that HR Rounds are a piece of cake for me, so I never really prepared or even thought about them.
  • The interviewer asked me many questions about myself — my aspirations, my principles of life, some situation based questions, my weaknesses, and many more, To be honest, I didn’t really feel good after the interview, I thought he is not gonna select me because, during the interview, he focused on my weaknesses a lot, most of his questions revolved around my weaknesses, it’s like I couldn’t even tell one of my profile/work highlights.

In a couple of days, I received the selection mail 🎉. I joined PayPal and after the internship received a full-time offer from them.
Note: All rounds were eliminatory rounds and were conducted on different days.

Learning — Most interviewers are very supportive and encouraging. Speaking with confidence and putting up a happy face instead of a scared one transmits good vibes across.


Role: Software Development Engineer

Timeline: Applied in January, Interviewed in March

Applied through: Careers Site(with Referral).


  1. Online Test: 2 Coding Questions and MCQs(Quant, Reasoning, English, Personality). I found it easy as compared to other tests I had given.
  2. 1st Technical Round(60 mins): 2 Coding Questions
  • Rotten Oranges Variant(a Leetcode Medium Question)
  • A question based on Topological Sort

3. 2nd Technical Round(60 mins):

  • Graph Question — Used Djisktra Algo
  • DP Question (I don’t remember the question)

4. Bar Raiser Round(this was probably the name):

  • A mix of everything that is asked in interviews, It took well above 90 mins
  • 1 DSA — Binary Search Problem with some tricks and needed optimizations — Good Question
  • In-depth discussion of work in my previous internships
  • In-depth discussion of one project — He asked to write the code of one of the APIs of my project and asked to do some tweaks in the database calls inside it.
  • Discussion about my volunteering and leadership experiences.
  • Why Amazon
  • 2 Behavioural questions checking Amazon Leadership Principles

In the same week, I received the selection call 🎉
Note: All rounds were eliminatory rounds and were conducted in 2 days.

Learning — The interviewer advised me to never stop working on “Girl Code It”(it’s an organization that I run). He said, everybody works for money, promotions, a better life, etc. but only a few have selfless purposes, Don’t let it go.


Role: Software Developer

Timeline: Applied in January, Interviewed in February

Applied through: Microsoft Engage Hackathon


  1. Hackathon: 5 Problem Statements were given. My project was shortlisted and I was called for the further interview process.
  2. Online Test: 3 Coding Questions and MCQs. 2 coding questions were easy but the 3rd was one was a damn tough problem on graphs.
  3. 1st Technical Round(45 mins):
  • Resume and Projects Grilling
  • Hackathon Project Discussed
  • Questions around REST APIs, HTTP Verbs, request and response headers, SQL vs NoSQL — Usecases, ACID properties, etc.

4. 2nd Technical Round(30 mins):

  • 3 Coding Questions
  • Topics: Linked List, Hashmaps, DP
  • Average difficulty

5. AA Round(As appropriate):

  • The recruiter told me that interviewer could ask anything in this round — coding questions, fundamentals, projects, HR questions, etc.
  • 1 Coding Question (From arrays, it was a new and tricky question and I don’t remember it exactly) and asked Why I wanted to join Microsoft.
  • All of it went well overall. I couldn’t tell the optimized approach at first but after some thinking, I gave the expected solution soon. The interviewer even made a comment that he liked the way I approached the question from different directions and liked my confidence even after not hitting the right approach in the first go.

In a couple of days, I received the selection call 🎉
Note: All rounds were eliminatory rounds and were conducted on different days.

Learning — By this time, so much had changed about the way I interview, I once ruined my Amazon and Google Interviews because of being nervous after telling the brute approach, I have written it before, and will again repeat — Don’t think too much, Nervousness can slow down your brain :p


Role: Software Developer

Timeline: Applied in December, Interviewed in February

Location: London

Applied through: Careers Site(without referral)


  1. Online Coding Test: 3 Coding Questions. The questions were different and more difficult than the usual ones, I solved 2 completely and 1 partially. Also, this was the only company where I got an interview call without hitting a 100% score in coding questions.
  2. 1st F2F Coding Round(60 mins):
  • 3 Coding Questions
  • Topics: Strings, Arrays, Trees, Hashmaps
  • The questions were easy but running code for all 3 was expected, and the implementation of each of them was lengthy. I coded as fast as I could and completed and explained my solutions to the interviewer.

4. Another Coding Round:

  • A tricky Binary Tree Problem, later the interviewer asked the same question for the generic tree. It went well.

5. Learning Round:

  • Some rules of a new language were shared with me during the interview itself, and I was asked a few questions which I had to solve using that language syntax. It was very much like SQL. This round went good too.

6. Decomposition Round:

  • It was more like a system design round if I would label it. A scenario for an app was given and I had to discuss its high-level design. I wasn’t prepared for it, but still did my best and the interviewer seemed neutral. I couldn’t judge how he felt about my performance.

In a couple of days, I received the rejection and feedback call 🎉.
The recruiter told me that, the feedback from all rounds is positive except the Decomposition Round. They liked me but still wouldn’t be able to proceed with my application.

Note: The interview process and support were one of the best I experienced.

Learning -

Prepare System Design :P

Though I wasn’t selected, I gave my best and had a great experience.


Role — Software Engineer
Timeline — June, Last interview that I gave :p

Twitter asks the candidates to sign an NDA before the interview process, So I won’t be able to share any specifics. My friend has penned down the general process, you can refer to it here.

Some more Tips

Online Test: Try to solve all the questions. I have faced rejection even after solving all questions a few times, leave alone the hopes of getting an interview without solving all questions completely.
Giving live or even virtual contests on, only),,, will equip you with problem-solving skills, quick implementation ability, effective debugging, edge-cases recognition, and resolution.

Within the actual Interview: I have a lot to share on this topic, so I will write a separate article altogether.

Getting calls from companies: A good resume, an impressive LinkedIn profile, applying to as many companies as possible and an added referral(I took all the referrals through LinkedIn only) is the only answer.

If you are not getting replies from companies, not getting shortlisted, not getting selected after interviews, Just remember —
“जरूरी थोड़ी है, कि जो पत्थर तुम मारो, उससे आम टूटे ही टूटे, आखिर कुछ कोशिशें तैयारी के लिए भी होती हैं”
English Translation — “It isn’t necessary that every stone you throw will hit the target, after all, some efforts are also made for preparation.””

There is a possibility that there might be some deviations in the timeline that I have mentioned and the order/number of interviews might also differ for someone else.

Good Luck with your interviews!
Also, please share the article with those who can be helped with it and I hope it gave you a general idea of what the SDE Interviews at various companies look like.

If you want to know something else, Feel free to comment.

Originally published at on July 27, 2021.



Manvi Tyagi

Software Developer working to become a better Software Developer everyday :)