System Design Interview Prep Guide

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As someone who has gone through many system design interviews successfully, I understand the importance of thorough preparation. When I started, I struggled to find quality resources tailored to this interview format. Over time, I’ve developed a preparation process that reliably helps me perform well and gain multiple offers over the years. This guide will equip candidates both conceptual understanding and practical strategies to feel confident when facing complex design problems. Following these steps is what equipped me to perform well, and I believe it can help you too.

My system design interview preparation guide is as follows:

  1. Read this to understand the system design interview format and step-by-step guide:
  2. Follow these courses to quickly grab basic concepts and high level design:
  3. Read Alex Xu’s system design books: volume 1 and volume 2.
  4. Read Designing Data Intensive Applications: at least 3rd, 5th, and 6th chapter.
  5. If you are currently working in tech, then take full advantage by studying all the technical review documentation of the systems you’re most interested in learning about within your company. This is your chance to learn the most from real world systems and far beyond theoretical knowledge.
  6. Try to implement some system from scratch. This repo has many good tutorials: codecrafters.
  7. Get a buddy to do mock interview or just pay some mock interview sessions, i.e: use or TIPS.
  8. Follow some engineering blogs and read some research papers of some complex systems.

A few other system design resources:

Online Resources:

  1. Awesome System Design Resources - Github
  2. Pragmatice engineer newsletter
  3. Neo K.’s System Design Newsletter makes engineering blogs more digestible
  4. Google Senior Staff (L7) Engineer’s detailed whitepaper notes
  5. system-design-primer
  6. ByteByteGo system design newsletter by Alex Xu
  7. Architecture Notes
  8. Quastor System Design Case Studies
  9. Byte-Sized Design newsletter: summarize popular system design articles.
  10. 32 system design resources

Engineering Blogs:

  1. Figma Engineering
  2. OpenAI Software Engineering
  3. Engineering @ Meta
  4. Snap Engineering
  5. Stripe Engineering
  6. Nextflix Tech
  7. Pinterest Engineering
  8. Quora Eng

Youtube Channels:

  1. Martin Kleppman’s channel
  2. CMU Database Group
  3. MIT6.824: Distributed Systems


  1. Designing Data Intensive Applications by Martin Kleppman
  2. System Design Interview by Alex Xu: volume 1 and volume 2
  3. Building Microservices by Sam Newman

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