Why are system design interview so hard?

Why are system design interview so hard?

If you’ve ever been through a system design interview, you know just how difficult it can be. These interviews are designed to test your software architecture skills, but they’re also meant to push you out of your comfort zone and see how well you communicate and handle ambiguity. The reality is that these interviews are tough for several reasons, and in this blog post we’ll explore why they can be such a challenge even for experienced developers. So buckle up and get ready to dive into the world of system design interviews!


One of the reasons why system design interviews can be so challenging is because of the scope involved. Unlike traditional coding interviews that focus on specific algorithms or data structures, system design interviews require you to think about a much bigger picture. You need to consider how your solution fits into an entire ecosystem and how it interacts with other systems.

This means that you have to be able to think beyond just the technical aspects of your solution. You need to be aware of business requirements and constraints, as well as user needs and expectations. This requires a more holistic approach than what some developers are used to.

Another challenge when it comes to scope is being able to break down a problem into manageable pieces. With such complex systems, it’s easy to get lost in all the details and lose sight of the big picture. Being able to identify sub-problems within a larger one is crucial for success in these types of interviews.

Dealing with scope requires both technical expertise and strategic thinking skills. It can take years of experience before someone becomes truly proficient at handling large-scale software architecture problems like those encountered in system design interviews.


Ambiguity is one of the major reasons why system design interviews are so hard. When it comes to software systems, there’s never a clear-cut answer that can be applied universally. Every problem has multiple solutions, but they aren’t always equally effective or efficient.

This ambiguity stems from the complexity of modern software systems and their underlying technologies. As technology continues to evolve at breakneck speed, new challenges arise that require innovative thinking and creative solutions.

Furthermore, ambiguity in system-design interviews also arises due to the lack of context provided by interviewers. Interviewers typically provide candidates with vague requirements and constraints for designing a system without fully explaining what they’re looking for. This lack of clarity can make even simple problems seem dauntingly complex.

To overcome ambiguity during system design interviews, designers must possess excellent critical thinking skills and the ability to adapt quickly when faced with uncertainty. They must also be able to ask relevant questions that help them understand the requirements better and identify potential edge cases before proposing a solution.

In summary, dealing with ambiguity is an essential skill for any aspiring software designer who wants to excel in a system design interview setting. By embracing this challenge head-on, designers can showcase their creativity and ingenuity in devising elegant solutions that meet complex business needs while still being practical enough for implementation within real-world constraints.

No One Right Answer

When it comes to system design interviews, one of the most challenging aspects is that there is no single right answer. Unlike other types of technical interviews where solutions can be black and white, in a system design interview, candidates are expected to come up with innovative solutions that meet various criteria.

The lack of a “right” answer can make candidates feel uncertain and uncomfortable. It’s crucial to understand that this isn’t necessarily a negative thing. It’s an opportunity for you as a candidate to showcase your creativity and problem-solving skills.

During the interview process, focus on developing your thought process more than presenting perfect answers. Be confident in explaining why you made certain choices or decisions while designing systems. This will show off your ability to think critically and consider multiple factors when solving problems.

Remember: No one expects you to have all the answers. Instead, recruiters want you to demonstrate how well you handle ambiguity while still producing thoughtful designs that address specific needs or challenges.

By embracing the open-ended nature of system design interviews and focusing on your problem-solving abilities rather than memorizing every detail about software architecture principles. You’ll give yourself the best chance at succeeding during these complex assessments!


Communication is a crucial aspect of any system design interview. It involves articulating your thought process, ideas, and solutions to the interviewer clearly and concisely. Poor communication skills can lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, or even confusion which can negatively impact your chances of landing the job.

During an interview, it’s important to actively listen to what the interviewer is saying to understand their perspective on the problem being discussed. You should also be mindful of how you express yourself verbally and non-verbally since both forms of communication carry weight.

Non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice can convey just as much information as spoken words. Therefore, maintaining eye contact with the interviewer while speaking clearly. And confidently will not only show that you are engaged but also help them understand what you are saying more easily.

It’s also important to ask clarifying questions when necessary so that there is no ambiguity about what is being asked or communicated. This shows that you have good listening skills while ensuring that everyone involved has a shared understanding of the problem at hand.

To sum up, effective communication during a system design interview requires active listening and clear verbal and non-verbal expression. And asking clarifying questions when needed all while maintaining professionalism throughout the entire conversation.

Read More: Learn How To Enable USB Host Mode On Android 

Software Architecture Skills

When it comes to system design interviews, having strong software architecture skills is crucial. This means being able to understand and articulate how different components of a system will interact with each other. As well as how they can be optimized for performance and scalability.

One important aspect of software architecture is the ability to choose the right technologies for a given problem. This involves not only understanding the strengths and weaknesses of various programming languages and frameworks but also knowing how to evaluate tradeoffs between them.

Another key skill in software architecture is being able to break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable pieces. This might involve designing subsystems that can work independently or identifying patterns in data that can be exploited for better performance.

Good software architects need to have excellent communication skills so they can explain their designs clearly and effectively. They should be able to work collaboratively with other team members. Who may come from different backgrounds or have differing opinions on certain design decisions.

Strong software architecture skills are essential for success in system design interviews. By honing these abilities through practice and study, candidates can increase their chances of landing top engineering roles at leading tech companies.

Final Notes

To sum it up, system design interviews can be challenging for various reasons. The scope of the problem may seem overwhelming, and ambiguity can make it difficult to know where to start. There might not be a single correct answer, which adds layer of complexity.

Communication skills are also crucial in these types of interviews since you need to convey your thought process clearly and effectively. Additionally, software architecture skills play a critical role in successfully designing complex systems.

However, with practice and preparation, you can overcome these challenges. By breaking down problems into smaller parts, and asking clarifying questions. Actively listening to feedback from interviewers, and using established architectural patterns and principles – you will be able to tackle even the most challenging system design interviews confidently.

So if you’re looking for success in system design interviews or just want to improve your overall software engineering skillset – keep practicing! With persistence comes progress; trust yourself and continue learning with each experience until you reach that dream job offer!

About the author

Johnny is dedicated to providing useful information on commonly asked questions on the internet. He is thankful for your support ♥

Leave a Comment