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How AWS Solution Architect Interview is different from AWS SDE Interview

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A very common question during our AWS Solution Architect Master Class is how AWS Solution Architect Interview is different from AWS Software Development Engineer (SDE) interview at amazon.

They are very different roles.

AWS Solution Architect (SA) is a pre-sales position. It is a customer facing role that is very well compensated. Here is an anatomy of a level 6 AWS Solution Architect job offer.

SDE is an internal facing, software development role.

Because AWS Solution Architect is a customer facing role, Amazon Leadership Principles such as Customer Obsession, Learning and Be curious, Ownership, Bias for Action, Delivering Results are important.

Presentation skills is critical for AWS Solution Architect. That is why AWS Solution Architect candidate is usually asked to prepare a presentation as part of the interview loop. During your virtual or in-person onsite loop, you’ll present to one or several interviewers.

In terms of technical questions, SA candidates are expected to pass an initial technical screening that will cover a variety of technical topics including system design. However, working on leetCode problem set is less helpful. You will not be tested on data structure and algorithm. Instead, the technical questions will focus on assessing your technical breadth and depth from an architectural perspective.

We recommend all of our clients to get AWS Certified Solution Architect — Associates certification before they start interviewing. AWS Certified Solution Architect — Professional certification is even better but it’ll take a lot more time and effort to pass the exam.

In summary, AWS Solution Architect is quite different from the classic SDE positions. If your past experiences are mostly SDE related, you do need to make some adjustments to get ready. You need to polish your presentation and communication skills to demonstrate that you’re ready for customer facing roles.

If you have been working in customer facing roles such as Solution Architect, Sales Engineer, or Professional Service Consultant, you will be better positioned to answer customer facing related questions. However, you should do your best to avoid the top 5 mistakes for failing AWS Solution Architect interviews.

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