system design courses with faded black background

3 Best System Design Courses + 6 BONUS Resources [Learn System Design ASAP]

What is System Design?

System design is the process of defining different attributes to meet the requirements of complex systems such as:

  • architecture
  • product design
  • modules
  • interfaces
  • data

And beyond.

The goal is to understand component parts and how they interact with one another.

Take this literal example to showcase the importance of clarifying the specifications of a system:

Image courtesy of Tank Engineering

Who cares about system design?

If you want to work at a FAANG as a software engineer, system design knowledge is critical. Interviewers are very likely to ask you system design questions at places like Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.

TLDR: System Design Courses & Books

🔥 Best System Design Course 🔥
Grokking the System Design Interview: Educative.io

💥 Best System Design Book 💥
System Design Interview

SYSTEM DESIGN COURSES

1. Grokking the System Design Interview: Educative.io

Designing Instagram in the course Grokking the System Design Interview on Educative.io

Educative.io is a platform we can’t stop fawning over. We here at RealToughCandy have taken countless courses to up our developer game.

These courses are taught by some of the best instructors in the field. And Grokking the System Design Interview is no different.

In fact, it was developed by hiring managers at Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google.

So what does that mean?

It means that this course contains questions asked at actual FAANG interviews. 👀

Course Layout

The course is separated into two sections: system design problems and a glossary.

First you’ll learn valuable tools to navigate system design interviews in Grokking the System Design Interview. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • clarifications
  • defining the data model
  • high-level design
  • identifying bottlenecks

From there you’ll learn how to design 15 systems such as:

Finally, you’ll explore a glossary of almost 20 system design basics such as load balancing, caching and data partitioning.

Lesson on load balancing in the course Grokking the System Design Interview on Educative.io

💖We absolutely love this course. Read our full Grokking the System Design Interview review.

Educative.io is Eric’s go-to platform:

Educative asp.net courses 5-star review

💰 Cost: $79 per year for the course / $59 per month or $199 per year for all courses and Learning Tracks
⏲️ Duration:
20 hours
📉 Level:
Intermediate
🖥️ Format:
Interactive Learning
💪 Support:
Yes
🎖️ Certificate:
Yes

If you want to stand out from the pack of FAANG hopefuls, you need this course, periodt.


2. System Design Interview: DoorDash: Educative.io

Creating component design and architecture of the system in the course System Design Interview: DoorDash on Educative.io

Learn system design in the amount of time it takes to get your tendies delivered! 🍗

System Design Interview: DoorDash is another course we fell in love with. In this course, you’ll read through the process of navigating a system design interview by using DoorDash as a case study.

And clocking in at only one hour, it’s great for students with a shorter attention span.

Course Layout

There are 8 lessons in System Design Interview: DoorDash. You’ll start by learning the theory behind system design interviews. Then you’ll learn how to:

  • identify a system’s requirements
  • handle data
  • lay down system architecture

And more.

This is an image-rich course with 30 illustrations that will guide you through the problem-solving process.

doordash diagram of services
DoorDash search ecosystem in the course System Design Interview: DoorDash on Educative.io

💰 Cost: Only available with annual subscription at $199 per year for all courses and Learning Tracks
⏲️ Duration:
1 hour
📉 Level:
Intermediate
🖥️ Format:
Interactive learning
💪 Support:
Yes
🎖️ Certificate:
Yes


3. SystemsExpert

MapReduce hand-drawn data of map to data to k/v pairs, to reduce step to output
MapReduce lesson in the course SystemsExpert

If you’ve been looking for a fully-immersive platform to help you prepare for the system design interview, SystemsExpert is the answer to your prayers. Here you’ll find:

  • mock interview explanations
  • a 4-pane integrated workspace
  • a system design glossary
  • 50-question system design quiz

And much, much more.

About the Instructor

clément mihailescu headshot co-founder of algoexpert
Clément Mihailescu

SystemsExpert was created by the esteemed Clément Mihailescu, former Google and Facebook employee. He created AlgoExpert to help people like you ace their FAANG interviews. Then he released SystemsExpert for system design interviews.

Course Layout

SystemsExpert starts you off with a system design fundamentals course. From there, you’ll work on 10 system design interview questions such as designing:

And beyond. It’s here that you’ll find the fully immersive 4-pane integrated workspace which includes the prompt, scratchpad, video solution and solution walkthrough.

By the end of SystemsExpert, you should be ready to ace FAANG interviews. 👍

4-pane integrated workspace with top left prompt, top right scratchpad, bottom left video solution, bottom right solution walkthrough
4-pane integrated workspace in the course SystemsExpert

⚙️ SystemsExpert is a stellar platform. Read our full SystemsExpert review to find out why.

Zubin got the offer from Google thanks to SystemsExpert:

💰 Cost: $79 per year
⏲️ Duration:
multiple hours of video and hands-on learning
📉 Level:
Intermediate
🖥️ Format:
Video and Interactive learning
💪 Support:
Yes
🎖️ Certificate:
Yes

⚠️ Don’t forget ⚠️
Use SystemsExpert promo code realtoughcandy at checkout and SAVE 10%


❓ Did you know that we did a Grokking the System Design Interview vs SystemsExpert faceoff?

SYSTEM DESIGN BOOKS

4. Clean Architecture

↘️ Ideal for: software architects, systems analysts, system designers, software managers
↘️
Topics covered: system design, software architecture, software management

Clean Architecture book cover with photo of milky way galaxy

Clean Architecture by Robert C. Martin (aka “Uncle Bob”) is considered a modern classic. It’s one of the best system design books for students who want to learn the universal rules of software architecture.

You’ll master software design principles for function, data management and component separation.

In addition to implementing high-level structures, you’ll learn how to identify where designs go wrong and how to fix them.

Clean Architecture is not just for system design. You’ll also learn software architecture and software management.

The Open-Closed Principle in the book Clean Architecture

5. Designing Data-Intensive Applications

↘️ Ideal for: students learning system design
↘️
Topics covered: components and tools

Designing Data-Intensive Applications book cover with drawing of boar

We sell multiple copies of this book on our site every week. And it’s no wonder why.

Designing Data-Intensive Applications teaches you the key components of system design:

  • scalability
  • consistency
  • reliability
  • efficiency
  • maintainability

In addition, you’ll learn how to choose the right tools such as relational databases vs NoSQL datastores. Then you’ll examine your existing systems and learn how to improve them.

Designing Data-Intensive Applications is ideal to navigate systems, make informed decisions and learn from other architectures.

Latency and response time lesson in Designing Data-Intensive Applications

Amit used Designing Data-Intensive Applications to prepare for his system design interview:


6. System Design Interview

↘️ Ideal for: students preparing for the system design interview
↘️
Topics covered: interview preparation, designing systems

system design books system design interview cover with blue background

System Design Interview is consistently a top-seller, and for good reason. First, you’ll get an insider’s look at what interviewers look for.

Then you’ll learn a 4-step process to solve almost any system design interview question.

Much like the system design courses on our list, you’ll design various systems such as:

You’ll design 12 systems in total.

System Design Interview is ideal for students ready to nail their FAANG interview.

Request flow and traffic source lesson in System Design Interview

❓ Looking for more system design books? Check out our list of 8 system design books you need this year.

SYSTEM DESIGN YOUTUBE VIDEOS

The following system design videos are all mock interview scenarios where the interviewees are tasked with designing a system. These are all useful examples that should be used in conjunction with system design courses or books.

7. Google Systems Design Interview With An Ex-Googler

Clément Mihailescu of SystemsExpert fame is back at it again with a video on what you can expect at a typical system design interview at a FAANG. In this mock interview scenario, Clément navigates the problem Design a Code-Deployment System.

First you’ll get a general idea of what questions to expect from the interviewer. From there you’ll explore how to clarify the question and navigate solving it.

8. Amazon System Design Interview: Design Parking Garage

In this video by Exponent, we’ll go on a mock interview adventure where the interviewee will design a parking garage. Join Tim as he asks clarifying questions such as:

  • product requirements
  • public and internal endpoints
  • scale

And beyond.

9. System Design Mock Interview: Design Instagram

Here’s another system design mock interview by Exponent. But in this video, you’ll watch the interviewee navigating the task of designing Instagram. Watch as he discovers:

  • system requirements
  • scale
  • high level components

And more.

System Design Courses: Conclusion

Today we looked at the best system design courses, books and YouTube videos including:

🔥 Best System Design Course 🔥
Grokking the System Design Interview: Educative.io

💥 Best System Design Book 💥
System Design Interview

So whether you’re looking for a course, book or how-to video, we’ve got something for just about everybody studying system design.


People are also reading:


  1. What is system design?

    System design is the process of defining different attributes to meet the requirements of complex systems such as architecture, product design, modules, interfaces, data and beyond.

  2. What are some good system design courses?

    Educative.io has two: Grokking the System Design Interview and System Design Interview: DoorDash. But if you want a fully immersive course with hours of on-demand video, check out SystemsExpert on the AlgoExpert platform.

  3. Are there any good system design YouTube videos?

    There are plenty of system design videos on YouTube, but the best are by Exponent and Clement Mihailescu. Both use mock interview scenarios to design a system.

  4. Do I need to know system design to work at a FAANG?

    If you want to work at a FAANG, you have to know system design. They're very likely to ask you system design questions at places like Google, Amazon and Microsoft.