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LeetCode builds skills for solving fairly narrow technical problems. These are the types of questions you'll likely get in an interview, so it's valuable to practice and prepare. I wouldn't be concerned about getting a high score. Just make sure you're comfortable tackling common types of questions and can explain your process.

Side projects demonstrate a (mostly) different set of capabilities. Do you have the knowledge to build a complete application? Did you persevere when nothing was working? Can you write documentation? Can you debug real-world issues and find solutions? Are you creative? Able to make reasonable compromises to ship something?

The role and the opinions of those who are hiring will decide the relative importance of coding challenges and side projects. It's best to have both. A complete failure on the challenge can cost you the job, while a side project is your best bet at pushing yourself ahead of others. Use it as an opportunity to explain your process, decision making, and talk about challenges you faced.

 

Interesting reply
You are right both helps build certain skills

Classic DEV Post from Feb 9 '18

Interview Questions You Should Ask

Many people forget that an interview is a two-way street. You should be interviewing them, just as much as they're interviewing you. Here's some of the questions I've asked and how they've helped me.

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Full Stack Web Dev

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