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Getting Into FAANG as an Aspiring Developer

Published by Lily Cook, 3 months ago • 7 minutes to read

It’s hard to find a developer who would turn down an opportunity to work at a FAANG company. Needless to say, it’d be even harder to find an aspiring developer who would opt out of said opportunity. An internship or a junior-level position at one of the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google) companies means not only a competitive salary and attractive perks, but also challenging tasks and endless self-education possibilities, vitally important during the early stages of one’s tech career. Lastly, having one of the top-tier companies on your resume significantly simplifies further career advancement and places you on a broad avenue for networking.

In this article, I will talk about trending tech skills in 2021 that may help trainees or junior developers secure their desired position at FAANG. I will also uncover some tips for successful interviewing at the Big Five tech giants and reveal whether a cover letter can assist you in your FAANG job search. Let’s dive in.

Contents

About FAANG

The main reason FAANG companies stand out so notably is that the market capitalization for the quintet is over $4 trillion. But for non-investors, these companies have one thing in common – they build services that permeate our daily lives. 

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Let’s get straight to the point and see what skills you need to join one of the FAANG companies as a junior software developer.

Technologies In-Demand at FAANG

We analyzed 195 vacancies for aspiring developers advertised on the career pages of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. Below is the outcome – the technologies which were mentioned the most frequently in those job listings.

(Note that this research represents only the preferences of the employers and the current market demand.)

Facebook

The frequently-used terms Machine Learning (71%) and Deep Learning (33%) show us that Facebook focuses on building and scaling AI-based applications, so aspiring ML specialists are in high demand across all the company’s offices. Therefore, proficiency in Image Processing (12%), PyTorch (12%), TensorFlow (9%), Neural Networks (9%), and Data Science (7%) will add value to your resume when applying to Facebook.

Such areas of research as Virtual Reality (43%), Augmented Reality (43%), and Computer Vision (36%) will also keep trending up, and experience in these technologies will be highly valuable at Facebook over the following years.  

Python (34%) and C++ (33%) are the most sought-after programming languages. They are mentioned less often than AI technologies, but job postings imply a certain experience in both these languages.

Hardware (29%) is another frequently used keyword in the analyzed job openings, so if you have a practical knowledge of Electrical Engineering (17%), Embedded Software (11%), or Signal Processing (3%), the chances are higher that you can find a job at Facebook.

Amazon

Working for Amazon requires programming language knowledge: proficiency in C++ (65%), Java (57%), Python (48%), C# (43%), and JavaScript (35%) is highly valued at this company. The knowledge of frameworks, such as React.js (13%) and Node.js (9%), will also come in handy if you decide to apply for one of Amazon’s jobs.

Applicants are expected to be capable of utilizing such coding practices as ODD (43%) and should possess some experience with Amazon’s cloud platform AWS (39%). Knowledge of Data Structures (35%) and Algorithms (30%) is also essential.

Just like other top-tier companies, Amazon is actively looking for Machine Learning (30%) professionals with knowledge of Statistics (9%), PyTorch (5%), and TensorFlow (5%). Speaking of soft skills, Amazon welcomes those who are adept at Problem Solving (30%) and Communication (22%).

Apple

Machine Learning (100%) is the absolute leader among the keywords found in all Apple openings. This is followed by the term Artificial Intelligence (29%) and specific ML branches like Deep Learning (19%) and NLP (19%). Hence it is no wonder that Python (33%) is the most sought-after programming language at Apple, followed by C++ (29%) and Java (29%). Hands-on experience with specific frameworks and libraries like TensorFlow (10%) and PyTorch (10%) will help aspiring ML engineers to apply successfully, whereas for software developers the knowledge of Angular (10%), Vue.js (5%), or React.js (5%) will come in handy.

Since top-notch devices like iPhone, iPod, and iPad are the company’s key offerings, Apple is also looking for those with Signal Processing (10%) knowledge. Communication (19%) and Problem-Solving (19%) are the two soft skills highly valued by Apple, regardless of the specialization.

Netflix

Netflix seems to be actively hiring seasoned tech professionals since we managed to find only nine openings for aspiring software engineers. The terms Security (9 mentions) and Distributed Systems (9 mentions) were the keywords used most frequently in its entry-level vacancies, followed by AWS, Python, and Git (each mentioned 6 times).In addition to the above, Netflix requires a decent knowledge of Data Structures (6 mentions),  which is quite popular among top-tier companies.

Google

Google looks for junior and entry-level professionals with Python (90%) and C++ (90%) experience; C (70%) is also accepted (mostly for hardware-related positions). Java (80%) and JavaScript (50%) skills are mentioned less often, but will certainly be welcomed.

Knowledge of Machine Learning (60%), jointly with some expertise in NLP (30%), Neural Networks (20%), and Computer Vision (20%), will be valuable if you’re considering Google as your future workplace. Aspiring specialists in the field of Security (50%) are also welcomed at Google.

If you opt for a career in Hardware (30%) engineering, some of the junior-level tech jobs at Google might be just for you. Last but not least is the ability to implement the popular Algorithms (50%) and use Data Structures (40%) correctly.

Key Takeaways

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

It’s no surprise AI and specifically ML are currently high-trending skills for engineers. Modern technical problems require complex and creative solutions, so machine learning specialists are in great demand all over the world. As absolute leaders in tech, FAANG-tier companies invest considerable resources in their development of the ML and AI industries.

Analytics Insight predicts 20 million AI-related jobs by 2023 and reports a 66% global skills gap in 2020 in the AI field.

Programming Languages

Given the abundance of AI and ML-related jobs, Python is one of the most widely used programming languages at FAANG. A great number of openings mention Python in job requirements. (In most cases, that means using Python for both software development and Machine Learning algorithms implementation.)

Apart from Python, the FAANG job listings we studied require solid C++ and Java knowledge. These languages are mostly utilized due to the complexity of data and algorithms preparation for ML pipelines. The knowledge of C is also frequently required, (mostly for hardware-related positions.)

Algorithms and Data Structures

Algorithms and data structures also belong to essential skills for programmers and software developers in 2021. Knowledge of the most popular programming approaches demonstrates the applicant’s theoretical preparation, as well as the ability to solve complex technical problems.

Which FAANG Companies Require a Cover Letter for a Tech Job?

A cover letter can help you demonstrate your uniqueness and differentiate you from your competitors. However, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix don’t ask for one, nor do they even allow candidates to upload a cover letter on their job portals. Google and Apple permit a cover letter, but neither requires one.

Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to include a meaningful cover letter, if possible. Investing the time in writing a cover letter, catered to the opportunity and specific company, will reflect positively on you, demonstrating your considerable interest in the position. (Remember, you’re looking for your first programming job.)

If you’re submitting your resume and cover letter directly to a recruiter or hiring manager, there is a reasonable chance that someone is going to read it. It makes sense to take the time to write a decent cover letter, personalizing your introduction.

Interviews at FAANG

The interview process at FAANG varies, depending on the company, but differs significantly from start-ups and corporate companies. It may take weeks (or even months!) from a first interview until a job offer. These top-tier companies have a strict hiring process, but usually you can schedule the interview about a month ahead of time to prepare.

Here are a few tips for a successful job interview with any company: 

  1. Research the company and picture yourself as one of its employees. Prepare some relevant questions and generate a few talking points with interviewers. Learn about the company’s culture and what kind of soft skills they are looking for in new hires. Use this knowledge when crafting your answers during interviews.
  2. Keep your interviewing skills fresh by starting with interviews for smaller companies to gain some experience.
  3. Make sure you’ve practiced enough interview problems and you’ll be able to recognize the pattern for almost any coding problem you face. It will make you feel confident about your skills and knowledge. Such platforms as Codeforces or CodeChef may help you out.

If you find yourself reading this article, most likely you have ambitions towards becoming an engineer at FAANG. So, if you have some of the skills mentioned above, don’t hesitate to browse the job openings for newbies on FAANG companies’ websites and apply instantly. Who knows – maybe you’re one step from your dream job at one of the renowned tech giants!

I hope that this article has been informative to you. Good luck with your application process! 

Bonus tip: Ever wonder how strong your Junior Developer resume is? Tap here to compile it and see how it stacks up compared to the best practices in the industry. Learning your resume score is free!

Useful reads and resources:

  1. How to Get Into FAANG Companies?
  2. Guide for Getting Your Next FAANG Internship
  3. A Career Story – From Bootcamp to Google in ~1 Year
  4. From Zero Coding Skills to Top ML Job at FAANG
  5. Free Resources to Learn Data Structures and Algorithms
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Lily Cook

Lily is an experienced freelance career coach, who spent several years in a corporate as a full stack developer prior to shifting her focus to career coaching. With a strong tech background, she helps to make a career pivot for tech and non-tech people.
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