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  • Bethany Williams

Path to Landing a Job with FAANG: Education, Experience, and Mentorship


Landing a job with FAANG can be daunting, but it’s the dream of so many aspiring software engineers. Working at a FAANG company comes with prestige, great compensation, impressive benefits, and innovative company culture.


Meta, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google are today’s top tech companies, and working for one of them can make your career. Companies immediately place applications from previous FAANG employees, at the top of the applicant pool. You can pretty much work for whoever or wherever you want to work. Or you can stay with FAANG and work up to a senior role with an even greater income, stock options, and bonus structure.


The Path to FAANG

But how do you get a job with one of these 5 tech behemoths?

You already know it’s highly competitive with every new CS graduate and junior engineer vying for a limited number of positions at FAANG. If you want to stand out, you need to bring your A-game. This includes having a fantastic resume, and hands-on experience through an internship, personal project, or previous programming job.

Once you manage to secure an interview, you better hope you’re prepared for the exhaustive interview process. FAANG companies are looking for top-notch or promising talent and you’ll go through at least 4 to 6 rounds of interviews, including the make-or-break technical rounds.

A mentor can help you reach all these ends and be a vital part of your career progression and landing your first job in software engineering. An experienced SWE can help perfect your resume, coach you through interview prep materials, host mock interviews, and even act as a networking link into the industry. Continue reading to learn more about how a mentor can help you land a FAANG SWE job.



1. Education

The tech industry isn’t closed to those without a formal education in computer science, but a CS degree certainly lends credibility that you have the knowledge to handle the job. If you can get a CS degree, definitely take that route. If that’s not an option, then consider a coding boot camp to get the important fundamentals. Compare the cost, time commitment, curriculum, and credibility of each to decide the best route.

If you are looking to make a career change, you can still succeed in this industry without a CS degree or boot camp graduation, but it takes time and dedication. Pick a popular programming language, preferably a backend language like Python, PHP, or Java, and learn the language. Thrown in some SQL knowledge and make sure you understand the software development lifecycle. Try to branch out into personal projects. That’s where you’ll really grow and be tested as a newbie developer.


2. Experience

When reaching for the proverbial FAANG stars, you need to showcase your experience working on real software projects. There are a couple of ways you can display skills and experience, even as a new grad or someone making a career change.


Internships

If you’re enrolled in a computer science program, you should take advantage of the summers and any connections you can gain through the program. Many companies use internships as a lead for fresh new talent.

If you can land a prestigious internship with FAANG or another fortune 500 company, this goes a long way when looking for a job. Many SWE’s working for FAANG, started out as an intern. Focus on learning and building relationships during your internship. Networking is sometimes underutilized by students, but those relationships will pay back 10-fold once you’ve graduated.


Personal Projects

Personal projects are really a must for anyone without a formal education in computer science. Try to build something tangible that helps solve a problem, even a simple one, or is fun and interesting. Display your projects on GitHub to demonstrate your knowledge of version control. This also makes it easily accessible to employers and starts to build your community presence as a software engineer.


Think outside the standard personal projects your interviewers have seen a thousand times, such as calculator, weather, or web scraper apps. Display a case study for each of your projects on a personal website, where you can discuss your design decisions and how you developed your project.


3. Mentorship

Many people overlook the value of having a mentor, someone already working as a SWE, to guide you. A mentor’s goal is to provide insights and assistance to others looking to start a career as a software engineer. A Mentorship program like Coachable can place you with a career coach to help reach your goals.


When you first meet with a mentor, come prepared with topics for discussion. Get to know your mentor, by asking for background information about them and their work. Outline what you are hoping to gain from the experience.

At each successive meeting:

  • Describe any challenges you are facing and gather some advice on how to overcome these hurdles.

  • Share short-term wins. Maybe you completed a really challenging course for your degree or you’ve made some progress on a personal project.

  • Evaluate your progress towards becoming a SWE at FAANG. Are you checking all the boxes you’ve planned? What’s left to work on, to make you a well-rounded competitive candidate?

If you're working with a mentor from Coachable they will prepare and outline all of these things for you, but if you find a mentor independently more of these items will fall on you to track and measure.


Where to find a mentor?

Coachable has experienced career coaches, working for top tech companies in the industry, including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Stripe, and more. The alternative to proven companies like Coachable is finding a mentor or career center in your college. You may have professors that could mentor you.


When to start working with a mentor?

Ideally, you should engage with a career coach in your junior or senior year of college, possibly even before this if you want to maximize your earning potential. A formal mentorship, like that offered by Coachable, provides more focus and growth to your career journey. In this type of relationship, your mentor’s end goal is to place you in a job that will develop you as an SWE.


4. Landing an Interview

Allow your career coach to provide feedback on your resume. Remember that they’ve already landed a job as a SWE and they know what worked for them. Consider investing in a resume writing service, to make sure your resume is optimized for the applicant tracking system.

99% of fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen applicants, so you can’t ignore this component. Tailor your resume to match the keywords from the job description for the role you want. Want to work at FAANG? Then study their openings for SWE’s and find the most common keywords among the 5. Make sure these keywords are strategically placed throughout your resume. This sounds like gaming the system, but offers a competitive edge and helps make sure your application gets viewed by an actual recruiter instead of being passed over by ATS.


5. Killing the interview

Now imagine your resume is out there showcasing your education, experience, and skills. You’re getting lots of interest from other tech companies, but you’re waiting for that to hear back from Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, or Google. You finally land that initial recruiter call and you know the on-site and technical interviews are next. Have you gotten everything you can out of your mentor? Are you ready to handle a coding challenge on the fly? Most Coachable students struggle in the interview portion, this is where many people fail to land a job and why they come to us.


How to get the most out of a mentor?

You may be too busy balancing your course load, to do interview prep or mock interviews during your degree. New graduates often prepare for 6-8 weeks, before really entering the job market. A high level of preparation is truly needed to excel in FAANG technical interviews. You’ll need to know algorithms and data structures. The following resources are highly recommended by other SWE’s when prepping for an interview:

If you get stuck during your interview prep, ask your career coach for help. Your coach will identify and address any skill gaps with you. If you continually stumble on the same kinds of problems, keep working with your mentor until you feel proficient in that area.



Mock Interviews

Schedule a few mock interviews with your mentor. Don’t break character during the process, approaching it seriously to get the most value.


Mock interviews are the best way to prepare for open-ended interview questions. Be able to discuss system design, projects you’ve completed, challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them, project management tools you’ve used, how you make design decisions, how you prioritize your time during a project, and much more.


Your mentor will critique your mock interview and offer feedback. A great mentor will probe with further questions, to get you thinking more like a SWE when answering these kinds of questions during a real interview. With each mock interview, you will feel more and more comfortable with the interview format that is most common at FAANG companies.


Crossing the Finish Line!

The hard part is finished. You’ve completed your education, gained experience with an internship (or two!) and personal projects, polished your resume, and worked closely with a mentor to prep for the technical and behavioral interviews. By incorporating all of these steps, you are closer than ever to landing a job as a SWE with FAANG.

Did you know...

Coachable has a 93% success rate in placing people in jobs paying up to $200,000 a year?


We also guarantee our students will land a job paying at least $100,000, within a year. Or they don't pay us anything. Interested in Landing a FAANG Job? (or should we say MAMAA...?)

Apply Here.


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Our Mission

Coachable believes that anyone that works hard deserves a great job. Everyone starts with a different set of privileges or resources - not everyone has access to structured schooling or mentors. Our goal is to provide our students with mentorship, structure, and guidance to make sure that anyone who is willing to dedicate themselves can attain their desired job and make a great living. Compared to other institutions, we focus on working with those that may not appear strong by conventional standards, but have the traits that make someone “Coachable”.