Five people who landed jobs at Meta, Apple, Amazon, and Google share how they did it.A software engineer at Google said he networked with other engineers to learn about their day job.A former Amazon assistant prepared interview examples based on its leadership principles.

Getting a foot in the door at one of the four Big Tech companies — Meta, Google, Apple, and Amazon — can require years of training, an expensive education, and many interviews. Some spend years applying over and over and getting rejected.

Business Insider spoke to five people who landed jobs at Big Tech companies about how they learned the skills and experience that landed them the role — and how they showcased those skills during the interview.

Corey Griffin talked about side hustles that showcase relevant skills in an interview at Apple

Corey Griffin dreamed of working in Big Tech but felt he lacked the educational background he needed.

He learned software engineering while working in marketing and carved out a niche in marketing engineering. Griffin started a media company, C3G Media, as a side hustle and launched several marketing products, including a teleprompter product called Speakflow.

Griffin worked as a software engineer for Rotten Tomatoes, Vox, and Shopify before applying for jobs at Apple four times. Eventually, in 2021, he landed an interview.

However, he told Business Insider that he wasn’t able to give details about some of his work during his interview because it was under NDA. Instead, he spoke about his side hustles, including Speakflow.

“I could show my wide skillset through my side projects, including graphic design, animation, marketing, and coding. I also had clients in a range of industries, such as the music industry and small technical clients,” he said.

Griffin landed a role as a software engineer at Apple and worked at the company for two years.

tara Larsen knew Amazon’s leadership policies inside out when she applied there

Tara Larsen landed a job as an executive assistant at Amazon after eight interviews.

She told BI that interviewers asked her behavioral-based questions which were based on Amazon’s”leadership principles,” also known as LPs.

Her advice to those interviewing at Amazon was, “Familiarize yourself with the LPs, have them in mind when you answer questions, and be ready to tell an interviewer which Leadership Principle you identify best with.”

She said that interviewees should avoid trying to guess which LP the interviewer wanted to hear about for each question and instead show them how they would approach a situation using the LPs as a guide. Larsen would only say which specific LP she was referring to at certain points in the interview.

For example, she would say: “… where I did a little inventing and simplifying,” or “…which reminds me of the LP, earn trust, because…” and “where I learned a thing or two about diving deep.”

Sahil Gaba had learned cutting-edge software before becoming an Amazon software engineer

Sahil Gaba was working as a software engineer at a small fintech firm but knew he wanted to work in Big Tech.

Gaba told BI he felt he wasn’t learning the cutting-edge technology he needed. He learned new technologies and honed his interview skills in his spare time. After two years, he landed a job as a software engineer at Amazon.

Within 18 months of working for Amazon, he landed offers from Meta, Uber, and Google, where he accepted a job with a starting salary of $300,000.

Sandeep Rao worked at Apple and Meta after working a job he thought would make him credible to Big Tech

Sandeep Rao, a software engineer who has worked at Apple and Meta, started out working in a lower-paying role at Oracle in India in 2012, where he was making 850,000 rupees a year, or $15,000.

“I took it to get my foot in the door of a Big Tech company and build credibility,” he told BI.

At Oracle, he applied to graduate schools and eventually landed a place in the computer science graduate program at Carnegie Mellon University.

“Grad school was hard, but the doors it opened for me made the struggle worth it,” Rao said. When he finished, he landed a job at Apple with a salary of $115,000.

Zubin Pratap networked with tech workers at conferences before getting a job at Google

Zubin Pratap had been working as a lawyer for over a decade when he decided, at 38, to pivot to tech. He told BI he didn’t have a background in computer science and found it difficult to transition to a completely new industry.

Pratap focused on networking at conferences for engineers and developers and inviting people who could help out for coffee.

From asking questions about what they did he learned to “speak to engineers in their language,” which he told BI was his “biggest advantage.”

He started working at a small software development company and, after a year and a half, landed a job as a software engineer at Google. Before landing the role, he’d been rejected by Google four times. He said he had networked with people working in the company for insight into how things there worked and that this

He said, to land the role, he’d spent time speaking to people in the company for insight.

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