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Lyft Software Engineer Interview Guide

Learn how to prepare for the Lyft Software Engineer interview and get a job at Lyft with this in-depth guide.

Preparing for the Lyft software engineer interview? Be sure to read our guide on the interview stages and types of questions before the interview.

Lyft is one of the hottest tech companies and growing rapidly, so software engineers at Lyft have the opportunity to work with a variety of complex, highly technical systems that have immediate and radical impact to millions around the world.

Learn more about how to ace the Lyft software engineer interview in the next few pages of this guide.

Interview Process

Typically, there are four stages to software engineer interviews at Lyft: recruiter screen, technical phone screen, on-site, and team matching.

Recruiter Screen

The recruiter phone screen is fairly straightforward and consists mostly of questions based on your resume and fit for the software engineer role. The recruiter may ask about your interests, your past experiences, and why you want to work at Lyft. During this call, the recruiter can answer any questions you have about the interview process.

Review your resume to speak from it, and be sure to research a bit more about Lyft, like their company mission.

Technical Phone Screen

In the technical phone interview, you'll spend one hour with a software engineer at Lyft answering a technical question. Generally, the questions in the technical phone screen are a bit lighter in-depth, but will cover any of the categories of questions discussed in the next section. The interviews at Lyft are conducted over Coderpad.


The onsite Lyft software engineer interview consists of four rounds:

  1. System Design Interview
  2. CS Fundamentals Interview
  3. Laptop Programming Test
  4. Behavioral Interview

More on how to solve these problems in the next section of this guide.

Team Matching

If you make it past the on-site interview, they'll match you with potential teams where you'll have exploratory calls with the managers on those teams. These future conversations are less like interviews and more like conversations, where you can get to know the team and determine mutual fit for the role.

Sample Interview Questions

Lyft's software engineering interviews generally break down into four categories: system design, cs fundamentals, laptop programming, and behavioral.

System Design Questions

In this 60-minute interview, a software engineer at Lyft will ask you to design a large system relevant to Lyft's operations using Google Draw. This will involve designing a way for your systems to communicate, proposing an API, and modeling database tables.

Be sure to understand the different types of storage systems (e.g. NoSQL vs. SQL) in a distributed setting.

In this interview, Lyft is looking for the following:

  • Structure: Do you take a systematic approach?
  • Comprehensiveness: Does your approach cover all requirements?
  • Feasibility: Is your answer practical and could be implemented?

The best way to prepare for system design interviews is to practice and watch Exponent's system design mock interviews. Check out this video on building Facebook Messenger, and try your hand at some practice system design questions in our interview question database..

Pro tip: get familiar with Google Draw before the interview, so you're comfortable drawing and explaining concepts visually using this tool.

Coding Fundamentals

In this interview, a Lyft software engineer will present a problem and you'll devise a solution to the problem with an algorithm or function. This interview focuses on algorithms, data structures, and problem solving. This interview is conducted on your laptop with an IDE of your choice or Coderpad.

Lyft is looking for your ability to bounce ideas off the interviewer, communicate clearly, and work through edge cases.

To prepare for these interviews, we recommend reviewing our data structures and algorithms modules in our software engineering course and practicing data structures questions in our interview question database.

Laptop Programming

Lyft's most unique aspect of the software engineer interview is their "Laptop Programming Test," which is a 90-minute interview where you'll solve a problem using the internet and a coding language of your choice.

Lyft is looking for:

  • Correctness (45% of the grade): Does your solution actually solve the problem described? Have you created tests where appropriate?
  • Clean Code (35% of the grade): Is your code clean, concise, and commented where appropriate?
  • Performance (20% of the grade): Is your code efficient? Have you considered run-times and optimized for them?

Lyft recommends the following tips for acing this part of the interview:

  • Iterate on your solution - don't just start with the correct answer, but start small and expand from there to complete the assignment.
  • Prepare to interact with standard input and output in the programming language you choose.
  • Correctness and clarity matter more than performance (as reflected in the rubric above).

To prepare for these interviews, practice is your best friend. Take a look at some of the more complex software engineering problems in our database and code up solutions of your own.

Behavioral Questions

In Lyft's behavioral interview, you'll meet for 45 minutes with an engineering manager, where you'll discuss your background, experiences, and interests.

Lyft is looking for:

  • Experience: Do you have relevant previous experience for the role?
  • Collaboration: How do you work with others, including teammates or customers?
  • Ownership: Do you exhibit ownership and drive to complete projects?
  • Impact: Do you care about impact and action-oriented solutions?
  • Learning: Do you enjoy learning from your experiences and mistakes?
  • Values: Do your experiences align with Lyft's values?

First, do some research on Lyft's values and mission. What resonates about the company to you? What compels you to work there? Then, research and use the product itself - what potential do you see for Lyft? How might you improve the product experience?

As for your own experiences, think about a few examples and experiences that you can leverage that might be related or relevant to the interview, and that tie into Lyft values.

Of course, the best way to prepare is to practice behavioral interview questions. Don't forget to check out Exponent's Behavioral Interview course.


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