AlgoExpert Review: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

November 26, 2020
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AlgoExpert is a great interview prep course that will help you learn about data structures & algorithms and coding in great detail. However, it's severely lacking in other important aspects of tech interviews (mainly systems design and soft skills), making it insufficient to prepare candidates on its own. Instead, we recommend Tech Interview Pro, a proven program offering hundreds of coding walk-throughs that also prepares 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 big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple). It offers a wide variety of tools to help you learn one of the most important topics in these interviews (data structures & algorithms), including:

  • 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 interview prep resource would be complete if it didn't have a way to put your coding skills to the test, and this is something that AlgoExpert does very efficiently: it has 110+ hand-picked coding questions to solve, with 4 difficulty settings available (Easy, Medium, Hard & Very Hard), all designed to give you a solid grasp on important DS&A concepts (and a few extras), such as:

Binary Search TreesDynamic Programming
Binary TreesFamous Algorithms
Linked ListsRecursion

However, having a few programming questions to practice with doesn't make an interview prep course special, so AlgoExpert takes these programming questions a step further.

#2 Video Explanations

Every AlgoExpert question, whether it's a question rated Easy or one rated Hard, has its own video explanation to accompany it. The video explanations follow this structure:

  • Conceptual overview: The introduction of the video covers the theory behind the algorithm 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 for an easier read

This is a great approach because it blends the theoretical with the practical: in other words, it gives you methods to solve coding questions before touching any code instead of going straight to coding, which usually leads to unnecessary frustration and a lot more work.

#3 Data Structures Crash Course

AlgoExpert also features a video series on data structures, covering fundamental concepts pertaining to memory, complexity analysis, and Big O notation first, and then breaking 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 advantage of it.

#4 Code Execution Environment

AlgoExpert's Code Execution Environment is very convenient: it allows you to code in 9 programming languages (JavaScript, TypeScript, Python, Swift, Kotlin, C++, Java, C#, and Go respectively), it gives you hints on the solution to a question if you need them, and it also shows the original solution to the problem so that you can compare it with the solution you wrote and learn how to optimize it.

#5 Space-Time Complexity Analyses

Every 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 exceedingly important, so AlgoExpert wants to teach you to keep these things in mind 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

Lastly, AlgoExpert further sets itself apart from other interview prep resources by letting you pair up with other AlgoExpert users to engage in mock coding interviews on a shared workspace. This allows you to practice what you've learned so far in the closest environment there is to an actual technical interview, which can help tremendously with your overall confidence and give you a better idea of what to expect.

#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 system for others, so he certainly knows how to nail a technical interview.

That's awesome! AlgoExpert's totally worth it then, right?

Not so fast.

While all of the previous advantages make AlgoExpert a very strong interview prep course, it's certainly not perfect and I wouldn't recommend using it on its own.

The thing is, you need to pay a subscription for the SystemsExpert course if you want to learn about systems design, and AlgoExpert also treats another important topic in technical interviews (soft skills) as an extra at best.

The Bad & The Ugly of AlgoExpert: No Systems Design, Not Enough Soft Skills

Without taking SystemsExpert into account, AlgoExpert prepares you extremely well for the first half of what's important: 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, you can definitely expect that the interviewing process won't be very pretty for you.

#2 Communication Skills

Even if you become a tech Jedi by mastering DS&A, coding, and systems design, you'll only ever get your foot on the door if you can't efficiently communicate your ideas like the senior engineer that 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 even agree with them.

Besides, solid communication skills are paramount to work in a team as well.

#3 Teamwork Skills

Let's be frank here: 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, the need to rely on your teammates will catch up to you.

And if the company 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 victory.

You need to demonstrate that you're willing to work with complete strangers to help them achieve success for the company with you. Do this, and you'll guarantee interest from the interviewers' side.

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AlgoExpert vs. Tech Interview Pro

So, if AlgoExpert alone doesn't cover everything needed to ace a technical interview, what does?

I personally suggest Tech Interview Pro, another interview prep program designed by a former Google and Facebook software engineer who 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 recommend Tech Interview Pro over AlgoExpert.

#1 Leaves No Stone Unturned

Tech Interview Pro takes a comprehensive approach to its teaching, taking both the technical and behavioral aspects into consideration in its 20+ hours of video lessons.

Here's TIP's course outline, with the behavioral topics bolded to compare:

  1. Understanding The Interview Process
  2. Four Axes of the Interview
    1. Coding
    2. Data Structures & Algorithms
    3. Systems Design
    4. Communication
  3. Interviewing Masterclass
  4. Data Structures & Algorithms
  5. 100+ Coding Sessions
  6. The Mock Interview
  7. Systems Design
  8. Transitioning Careers
  9. Negotiating & Accepting Your Offer

As you can see from this course outline, TIP has a balance of both the technical and the behavioral, 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:

Tech Interview Pro Review - Success Stories
Tech Interview Pro Review - Success Stories
Tech Interview Pro Review - Success Stories

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.

In Summary

AlgoExpert does an effective job teaching DS&A and coding, and does its best to ensure you’ll be able to tackle any programming question you come across in an interview.

But as a holistic interview prep resource, AlgoExpert is severely 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.

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