Zynga India interview experience

Zynga is well known for the social gaming platform which has emerged through Facebook. Zynga has played a great role in bringing about a good number of user base through the gaming platform. Last year, Zynga started their first international office outside US in India. Recently, I appeared for Zynga interview and landed with a job offer.

It happened all of a sudden. My book (Linux Shell Scripting Cookbook) news spread through different mailing lists. One of the XMECian who works as Engineering Manager at Zynga, India refered me hearing this news. He came online and asked for my Resume. Within a minute after I send my resume, I got a phone call from Zynga HR. He told me that they want to consider me for Studio Engineering team (The team which is responsible for development and maintenance of Zynga games) and asked whether I am available for the following week. We decided to conduct the interview on March 10th. He told that he will book the flight tickets and get back through mail. The call was less than 1 minute. I was stuck. Hooh. I asked the man who referred me what was happening in a minute. He answered simply with a smilie, “Zynga Speed!”.

Two days before the interview date, HR contacted me and confirmed the date again. He sent me round trip flight tickets (Cochin - Bangalore). I had no clue what kind of interview will it be and what kind of role they are looking for. I did not prepare anything since they are conducting me direct interview without conducting the test process.

I was eagerly waiting for February 10th. Finally the day came. The flight was scheduled for 7.45 AM. I was so excited. My first flight journey. I reached the airport in time. Thanks to my friend Harish for dropping me at the airport ruining his sleep. It was Kingfisher red small flight. I got the seat 1F, which was the first row window seat. It was a great experience - flight taking off and landing. The flight reached bangalore on time. There were buses to the city in front of the airport. I took some BIAS - 6 bus and told bus conductor to remind me when reach M.G road. I stepped down near M.G road. When I asked some one standing near the bus stop he directed me to a road. I walked for sometime and I understood that I am not going to reach anywhere. So I hired an autorikshaw reached the Zynga Game Network which is in the 5th floor of Esquire building.

The HR welcomed me and I followed him to a conference cabin. In 10 minutes, an interviewer came. He introduced himself that he is working as Principal Engineer in the studio and has been working in Microsoft-US for many years and after that Google-In for last two years. He asked about myself and scanned through my resume. He asked what I would like to do and what I have been doing. I gave a brief intro about myself and gave an overview of work I have done in the past. He was very curious to know about my projects and asked many interesting questions. I could use the whiteboard to illustrate my explanations. When I told that my interests are with Operating Systems, he asked few questions to check my understanding about Scheduling, Paging, Virtual memory, etc. He asked me three coding questions and 1 puzzle (for designing an approach to solve a game). While going through my projects, he was very much curious about my Pardusman project. We had a very friendly conversation. At the end of my interview, he asked about my interest on which stream I would like to choose. Studio Engineering, Network operations and something else. He explained me about what studio engineering team does. Basically studio team takes the ownership of games and also develop, release and maintain them. Studio team work on technologies like PHP, Adobe Flash, JS, etc (More specifically Windows platform). I was more specifically interested in a group called Systems Engineering Group (SEG). They write systems tools for servers as well as bugfix, patch, improve already existing opensource systems tools, servers for Zynga’s own purpose of deploying in the servers. But sadly, they don’t recruit freshers to SEG. After the first interview I met one of the XMECian, who works as Senior Software Engineer at Zynga. He gave a good picture of Zynga, how they work, the different teams, etc. I went to the cafeteria for lunch. Zynga offers free food to all employees :). I met my Senior at Cafeteria and was having lunch along with him. Suddenly somebody called my name and told that we will have lunck together. He started asking about me and why I am at Zynga today, etc. Asked about my interests, college life and we talked a lot. In the mid, he introduced himself. He was a technical architect at studio team. He told that it is also an interview. We talked lot of technical things. After the food, we moved to a conference cabin. He asked which are the programming languages I am comfortable with. Then he gave me two coding questions. One on Javascript and another on C. He told that he will be back after few minutes. He returned after few minutes and looked at my papers and said few comments and thanks. The interview is over. I got few insights during his interview. The HR came to me and told that I will be next interviewed by Director of Engineering, Studio. In the next interview, he introduced himself and told that he worked in US as Vice president for Myspace. It was great talking to him. We had a very friendly conversation rather than interview question answer sessions. He shared his experience of building great scalable products. I showed him my book. He was really curious to know about me. Very pleasant piece of conversation. By the end of the interview the time was up.

The HR came to me in a hurry and told that Cab is ready and I can move to the airport. He brought me immediately to the Cafeteria and got some cold drinks. HR was really nice, he was taking care of everything. I was accompanied by another person who introduced himself as CEO of some dot com company. I reached airport in time. I came to Cochin on Jetairways Boeing flight. Thanks to my roommate Navin for picking me from airport to hostel. The next day I had a phone HR interview for zynga. It was usual HR questions like expected pay, why zynga, kind of work I look for, etc. I requested her about my interest in Systems Engineering Group. But she told that they don’t recruit freshers in SEG and told they will get back to me in a week.

After a week I got a call from the Zynga HR, whom I had correspondence from the beginning. He told that they need me to be interviewed once more. I agreed and I received the flight tickets again by mail. On Febraury 23rd again I flew to Bangalore. At Zynga, the interviewer came little late due to some meeting. He introduced himself that he is an architect at SEG. I got the clue that they are considering me for SEG. He asked about my interests. Then we had a long interview comprehensively on Operating System internals, application debugging, etc. Finally he asked me about preferred programming language and whether am I comfortable with C. Then we had lunch together at the Cafeteria. After lunch, he wanted me to write a program in python. Once I completed, he told me to write the same in C. Once the interview is over, I had another interview with an engineering manager. He introduced himself by saying that previously he worked as engineering manager at Google and currently work in SEG. Asked about my book and interests. He spoke about the work they do in SRE, etc. Next he wanted me to solve a puzzle on white board. I came up with a correct solution. Then he was open for answering my questions. The HR came and asked to leave as soon as possible not to miss the flight. I returned second time in Jet Airways Boeing. Due to Airshow at Bangalore, the flight was little delayed. It was raining also. I could see the clouds through the windows of flight. Awesome. Thanks to Adarsh for picking me from airport to hostel.

In Zynga, you will find a lot of self driven engineers and is a great place to learn and grow.

On 9th of March, I received a call from HR saying ‘Welcome to the Zynga family’. You are hired as Associate Software Engineer in Systems Engineering Group :)