How to tell if a question is system design or object oriented design?

What I’m about to tell you is a common scenario.

Let me tell you a story about John. John was asked to implement a chess game.

He thought it was a System Design question, so he started thinking about a scalable system with load balancers and a distributed database. The interviewer, however, was looking for an Object-Oriented Design (OOD) solution, so five minutes into the interview, he realized that John was heading in the wrong direction.

The interviewer clarified that they wanted John to design objects and classes. John suddenly realized that it was an OOD interview. He switched to OOD mode, and the interview continued.


Notice that John wasted 5 precious minutes during the interview, which was completely avoidable. All he had to do was ask a simple question:

“Do you want me to design a system or to design the classes and objects for a chess game?”

The interviewer would have told him – they wanted objects and classes. Simple.

Our original answer on Quora


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