A contemporaneous account of my 2018 interview gauntlet

The Morning Of

Day 5 is upon me!

First, I have to switch to my third hotel of the trip (and it’s not even the last) and hope they let me check-in early. It’s a 20 minute drive from here, so I suppose I’ll grab some coffee, maybe breakfast, and Lyft over there. I have an interview with Amazon today, but that too is a 20 minute drive from the next hotel. …

A contemporaneous account of my 2018 interview gauntlet

The Morning Of

I think I’m largely out of nerves to worry about. I still feel a little bit of nervousness because I’m going to spend 4–5 hours with engineers trying to find out where my ability ends, and it’s never fun to reach the point where you realize you’re out of knowledge if other people are trying to hear it. It’s motivating to hit that point when you’re building out your own project, but it’s a different situation with someone grilling you.

I wasn’t provided an itinerary today and I’m not going to divulge any details about my interviews today. I’ll still…

A contemporaneous account of my 2018 interview gauntlet

Ok, maybe “Giant” is pushing it, but it’s a multi-billion dollar company, at least!

The Morning Of

I’ll keep my preamble for today short. I slept decent (in that I slept at all), my interview jitters are largely gone (though not completely), and I’m feeling good headed into today. It was hard to gauge where I stood in the world — was all of my confidence unfounded? — headed into this trip. Yesterday validated that I’m at least somewhat competent.

Even if LinkedIn doesn’t ultimately submit an offer, I held my own, so I no longer think “complete catastrophe” is a potential outcome of this trip. I expected yesterday’s interview to be probably the third hardest, and…

A contemporaneous account of my 2018 interview gauntlet. You can find Part 0 here.

The Morning Of

I didn’t really sleep last night. I didn’t sleep particularly poorly, but I woke up hourly and checked the clock to make sure I hadn’t overslept, despite it being more or less pitch-black outside. I decided to pass some time waiting for the continental breakfast to open up by looking at some classic Leetcode problems and similar problems as they popped up (4Sum and its variants, subset sum and its variants). It went ok.

A contemporaneous account of my 2018 interview gauntlet, a six-weekday stretch in which I interviewed at LinkedIn, Yelp, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google

I used to blog on another, pseudonym-less Medium account. I’ve had these diary-esque entries saved in my drafts for the last two and a half years and I thought they might be interesting to folks that have interviews ahead of them. I’ll post these weekly (or something). In total, there are seven parts.

Maybe one day… home?


To help keep my mind off of things — my upcoming interview performance, in particular — I’ve decided to keep an ongoing record of my upcoming Hell Trip™. After a preliminary job hunt and a lot of phone calls (something I’ll post about in the future, along…

A dive into my actual take-home pay and expenses over the last six months living in the Bay Area

While writing my last post answering questions about moving to the Bay, I solicited feedback from some of my friends back home. One of the big questions that came up was what it actually costs me to live here, all things considered.

This seemed like a question that would benefit from a more thorough deep dive so I moved it into its own post (which you’re now reading).

What it costs someone to live obviously varies wildly. This post shouldn’t be taken as a blueprint, but it should be used to glean some insight from a single data point. My…

After spending the previous six years of my life in a tiny town for college and a Midwestern city for work, I moved to take a Software Engineering job at a large Bay Area tech company. Here are my takeaways, one year in.

The temperature ranges maybe 20ºF year-round. While that wasn’t the highlight of the last year, it was up there.

I’m not entirely sure what I expected moving here. I’m not sure I expected much of anything, truth be told.

The questions that swirled around in my head for so many years were less “what’s it like to work at a big tech company?” and more along the lines of “what would be the coolest unicorn to work for”. In retrospect, that was pretty silly. I was so certain that I wanted to work here that I don’t think I ever thought too much about the important things.

You can read my first two blog posts on interviewing at six tech giants in six days and negotiating a $300,000 offer with them. Follow me on Twitter @bayareabell

If you didn’t get the memo, going forward, all time travel will be done via Tesla Cybertrucks.

I was never really sure what I was going to do with this blog.

It started because I was privately blogging each day of my interview gauntlet, largely to hold onto a time capsule of what I expected to be an eventful and pivotal week of my life. After my interviews, I was reasonably confident I had learned enough to share my experience. I talked to a friend about everything and…

In the span of a week, I had job offers to work as a software engineer at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, LinkedIn, and Yelp. Here’s how I negotiated them.

Note: If you’re looking to get actual Silicon Valley recruiters to help you out negotiate your offer, the best service I’ve had pitch me is from Levels.fyi. That’s my affiliate link, so I’ll get a portion of whatever package you choose.

What if I told you… that negotiating isn’t as scary as it sounds?

You’re almost finished with the long grind of interviewing. You’re almost free of the stress associated with interviewing at big tech companies. You’re practically envisioning sending off a final “I’ll sign” email.

But you’re not quite there yet.

There’s one last hurdle to clear: negotiating an offer.

You’ve shown that you can interview, but how well can you close…

I recently built myself a study plan to prepare for six onsite iOS interview loops at companies like Facebook and Apple. Here’s what I studied to land all six offers.


While there are tons and tons of resources online if you’re looking to study for a “typical backend” job (defined loosely here as “not the iOS gig I was aiming for at the time”), I find that there’s a dearth of iOS study material available online. This extends from algorithm problems (specifically idiomatic solutions to them in Objective-C) and system design problems to general iOS knowledge questions.

You should never be studying with the goal of only being asked things that you studied. But you should know where the gaps in your knowledge are ahead of time and educate yourself…

Bay Area Belletrist

twitter.com/bayareabell — DM me on Twitter if you have any questions on anything, iOS or otherwise. I’m no industry vet but I’ll help if I can :)

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