AlgoExpert is a good interview prep course that will help you learn about data structures & algorithms and coding. However, it's lacking in other important aspects of tech interviews (mainly systems design and soft skills), which doesn't allow me to fully recommend its use for software interview preparation. Instead, I recommend giving Tech Interview Pro a try, as it is a proven program offering hundreds of coding walk-throughs and video lessons that prepare you for the soft side of the interview.
AlgoExpert is an interview prep program designed to teach you how to ace technical interviews (especially with top tech companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple).
It offers a wide array of tools to help you learn one of the most important topics in these interviews (data structures & algorithms), such as:
- 110+ programming questions
- 70+ hours of video explanations
- A data structures crash course
- A code execution environment able to comprehend 9 programming languages
- Space-time complexity analyses
- Mock coding interviews
The Good of AlgoExpert
#1 Programming Questions
No tech interview preparation resource would be complete if it didn't have a way for you to practice by solving coding interview problems.
Thankfully, this is something that AlgoExpert excels at: it has 110+ hand-picked coding questions to solve, with 4 difficulty settings available (Easy, Medium, Hard & Very Hard).
These questions will be giving you a solid grasp on important DS&A concepts (and a few extras), such as:
|Binary Search Trees||Dynamic Programming|
|Binary Trees||Famous Algorithms|
However, it wouldn't be a great interview prep course if it only had coding interview questions to offer, so AlgoExpert takes them a step further.
#2 Video Explanations
Every AlgoExpert question, regardless of its difficulty, has its own video explanation to accompany it. The video explanations follow this structure:
- Conceptual overview: This section serves as an introduction and it covers the theory behind the algorithms that the coding question wants you to use, going through how to approach it, how to implement it, how to optimize it, and how to analyze its space-time complexity
- Code walkthrough: The conclusion of every video features a complete walkthrough of the algorithm's implementation in actual code, done in Python
This is a great approach because it teaches you multiple solutions to coding questions before touching any code. If you were to go straight into coding, you'd have to deal with unnecessary frustration and a lot more work.
#3 Data Structures Crash Course
AlgoExpert also features a video series on data structures, covering fundamental concepts regarding memory, complexity analysis, and Big O notation. Then, it breaks down popular data structures to give you a detailed look at how these concepts are applied in code.
Considering this crash course goes over the core data structures to know, it's especially good for people who are beginners to the topic or need a refresher of these concepts, so make sure you take full advantage of it.
#4 Code Execution Environment
It also provides hints to a question's solution if you need them, and it shows the original solution to the problem at the end so that you can compare it to your code, which works wonders when you're trying to learn how to optimize your coding skills.
#5 Space-Time Complexity Analyses
Every video explanation that AlgoExpert offers includes a thorough space-time complexity analysis. This is because understanding how much memory an algorithm uses and how fast it runs is very important, so AlgoExpert wants to teach you to think about these analyses often when coding.
This is a useful skill to learn for when you want to optimize your code as much as possible, and showing a solid grasp of space-time complexity analyses during your interviews will certainly set you apart from other candidates.
#6 Mock Coding Interviews
AlgoExpert sets itself apart from other online learning platforms by offering mock coding interviews to its users.
These interviews allow you to pair up with other AlgoExpert users to practice what you've learned so far in an environment similar to an actual coding interview, which can drastically improve your overall confidence and give you a better idea of what to expect once you reach the interview stage.
#7 Led By An Industry Insider
The course’s co-founder and CEO, Clement Mihailescu, used the principles behind AlgoExpert to land software engineering jobs at Google and Facebook before building the full AlgoExpert course for others, which further increases the credibility of the course's content.
Is AlgoExpert Worth It?
While all of the previous advantages make AlgoExpert a strong interview prep course, it's not perfect and I can't recommend using it as the only resource to prepare (especially if you're intending to apply for a senior software engineer job).
The thing is, you need to pay an additional subscription fee for the SystemsExpert course to learn about systems design, and AlgoExpert doesn't give soft skills enough attention. Both of these topics are really important, and you can't spare to get to the interviewing process without studying them.
The Bad Of AlgoExpert: No Systems Design, Not Enough Soft Skills
Without taking SystemsExpert into account, AlgoExpert gives you ample prep for the first half of the battle: DS&A and coding.
This means that you still have to use other resources to prepare for the second half: systems design and important soft skills like communication, teamwork skills, and leadership skills.
#1 Systems Design
A solid grasp of systems design is important if you want your DS&A and coding skills to be production-ready, and web-based companies like Google place special attention on a candidate's ability to design scalable systems.
So, if you overlook this topic, it's likely that you'll only ever get your foot on the door as far as tech interviews are concerned.
#2 Communication Skills
Even if you become a tech savant by mastering DS&A, coding, and systems design, you also won't get very far if you can't efficiently communicate your ideas like the senior engineer the company expects you to be.
You need to be capable of discussing solutions you propose with your interviewer, whether it's to optimize them or to see if they agree with your methods.
Besides, solid communication skills are paramount to teamwork as well.
#3 Teamwork Skills
Let's be frank: you're not going to be single-handedly developing all of the company's software once you get hired.
You may be able to do a lot of work on your own if you've mastered the technical aspects of software development, but eventually, you'll need to rely on your teammates to complete large projects.
If the company you've set your eyes on notices that you're the lone wolf type, things will quickly go south even if you're a tech genius.
#4 Leadership Skills
Perhaps the biggest asset recruiters are looking for is the ability to feel comfortable leading a team and guiding it to success.
You need to demonstrate that you're willing to work with complete strangers to help them achieve success for the company with you. If you can do this, you're guaranteed to have the interest of your interviewers.
AlgoExpert vs. Tech Interview Pro
So, if AlgoExpert alone doesn't cover everything needed to ace a technical interview, what does?
You might want to give Tech Interview Pro a try. TIP is another interview prep program designed by a former Google and Facebook software engineer, and he has compressed the knowledge he gathered from conducting over 100 interviews during his time into a single course.
Here are a few reasons why I'd go with Tech Interview Pro over AlgoExpert.
#1 It's Very Thorough
Tech Interview Pro takes a comprehensive approach to its teaching, taking both the technical and behavioural aspects into consideration in its 20+ hours of video lessons.
Here's TIP's course outline, with the behavioural topics bolded to compare:
- Understanding The Interview Process
- Four Axes of the Interview
- Data Structures & Algorithms
- Systems Design
- Interviewing Masterclass
- Data Structures & Algorithms
- 100+ Coding Sessions
- The Mock Interview
- Systems Design
- Transitioning Careers
- Negotiating & Accepting Your Offer
As you can see from this course outline, TIP has a balance of both the technical and the behavioural, making sure its students have an excellent knowledge base of both before they even think of approaching an interview.
#2 Private Facebook Group
Another advantage that TIP has over AlgoExpert is that TIP students gain lifetime access to a private Facebook group with 1,500+ former students of the course. Here are some of the success stories that past Tech Interview Pro students have posted in the Facebook group:
When you consider how many TIP students have landed jobs at FAANG companies thanks to the course—and how active and supportive the Facebook group is day to day—it’s really an invaluable resource that AlgoExpert simply can’t match.
#3 Bi-Weekly Q&A Sessions
Every two weeks, TIP students can engage in Q&A sessions with the course's founder, TechLead.
This is a huge advantage because it allows you to receive extremely specific feedback on any question you may have. Examples of such a question could be:
- What is the best answer to the question “Why Amazon?”
- I have an interview with Google in 2 weeks. How should I prepare?
- I've been working as a software engineer for 7 years but I'm not landing any of my interviews with Facebook. What am I doing wrong?
- How should I prepare for an interview with Microsoft if I have 6 months to do so?
- What systems design topics should I be studying for a data scientist interview at Apple?
Another thing to keep in mind is that every Q&A session is recorded and ready to be accessed at any time, so there's nothing stopping you from checking previous Q&A sessions too.
#4 Resume Reviews
Your resume will be the first thing a recruiter will see about you, and just having a pretty-looking one won't cut it: you need to make sure it knocks them out when they see it so that you can have a headstart into the interviewing process.
Considering this, TechLead will also personally review your resume and help you tailor it for the position and the company you seek to apply for.
#5 Lifetime Access
Lastly, TIP grants lifetime access to the entire course and private Facebook group, which means that you’ll be able to see new video lessons as they’re added, grow alongside the Facebook group, watch all of future Q&A sessions, and everything else.
TIP's got your back, whether you want to land a job now or in the future.
AlgoExpert is an effective DS&A and coding resource that does its best to ensure you’ll be able to tackle any programming question you come across in an interview.
But when it comes to technical interviews with top tech companies, effectiveness alone doesn't cut it. AlgoExpert is lacking in important areas you need to master in order to land a job in tech, especially with big tech companies.
To give yourself the best possible chance of success, we recommend choosing a more comprehensive, battle-tested solution in Tech Interview Pro.