Learn how to design large-scale systems. Prep for the system design interview.

The System Design Primer


Learn how to design large scale systems.

Prep for the system design interview.

Learn how to design large scale systems

Learning how to design scalable systems will help you become a better engineer.

System design is a broad topic. There is a vast amount of resources scattered throughout the web on system design principles.

This repo is an organized collection of resources to help you learn how to build systems at scale.

Learn from the open source community

This is an early draft of a continually updated, open source project.

Contributions are welcome!

Prep for the system design interview

In addition to coding interviews, system design is a required component of the technical interview process at many tech companies.

Practice common system design interview questions and compare your results with sample solutions: discussions, code, and diagrams.

Additional topics for interview prep:

Anki flashcards

The provided Anki flashcard decks use spaced repetition to help you retain key system design concepts.

Great for use while on-the-go.


Learn from the community.

Feel free to submit pull requests to help:

  • Fix errors
  • Improve sections
  • Add new sections

Content that needs some polishing is placed under development.

Review the Contributing Guidelines.


Interested in translating? Please see the following ticket.

Index of system design topics

Summaries of various system design topics, including pros and cons. Everything is a trade-off.

Each section contains links to more in-depth resources.

Study guide

Suggested topics to review based on your interview timeline (short, medium, long).


Q: For interviews, do I need to know everything here?

A: No, you don't need to know everything here to prepare for the interview.

What you are asked in an interview depends on variables such as:

  • How much experience you have
  • What your technical background is
  • What positions you are interviewing for
  • Which companies you are interviewing with
  • Luck

More experienced candidates are generally expected to know more about system design. Architects or team leads might be expected to know more than individual contributors. Top tech companies are likely to have one or more design interview rounds.

Start broad and go deeper in a few areas. It helps to know a little about various key system design topics. Adjust the following guide based on your timeline, experience, what positions you are interviewing for, and which companies you are interviewing with.

  • Short timeline - Aim for breadth with system design topics. Practice by solving some interview questions.
  • Medium timeline - Aim for breadth and some depth with system design topics. Practice by solving many interview questions.
  • Long timeline - Aim for breadth and more depth with system design topics. Practice by solving most interview questions.
Read through the System design topics to get a broad understanding of how systems work