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There are a lot of posts about what a typical coding interview at Google looks like. But, while not as widely described and discussed, there is also quite often a system design interview. For an SRE position it’s NALSD: non-abstract large system design. The key difference between SWE and SRE interviews consists in these two letters: NA.
So, what is the difference? How to be prepared for this interview? Let’s be non-abstract, and use an example. To be more non-abstract, let’s take something from the material world, such that you won’t be asked the exact same thing at the real interview (at least, not at the Google interview) :)
So, let’s design a public library system. For the paper books, like you have seen everywhere around. The whole text below was written all at once within around one hour, to roughly show you the areas that you should be able to cover / touch during the interview. Please excuse some disorder, that’s how I think (therefore I am).