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Cover image for Is AlgoExpert worth it in 2020? [Algoexpert.io review]

Is AlgoExpert worth it in 2020? [Algoexpert.io review]

realtoughcandy profile image RealToughCandy Updated on ・5 min read

AlgoExpert is one of the newest platforms to serve software engineers who aspire to work at a FAANG.

It has a robust feature set, rich multimedia content and lots of buzz.

But with all the competition, is AlgoExpert even worth it?

For that answer, let’s take a look inside and explore its features, cost and competition.

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AlgoExpert Features

1. Integrated Training Environment

AlgoExpert brings together the best of both learning worlds: interactive code editors AND video. There’s a 4-pane section where you read the question, code your solution(s), run code, get hints and pass the tests. You can also easily choose your programming language of choice (see below section on language support).

Each of the 4 panes has multiple tabs for greater control. For example, in the upper left pane you’re able to:

  • read the prompt
  • use a scratchpad for notes
  • view the coded solution
  • watch the expansive solution video
  • In addition, you get control over code editor key maps (Sublime, emacs, vim), font size, whiteboard toggle (no syntax highlighting) and a stopwatch, among other things.

algoexpert sample problem max profit with k transactions

2. 100 Questions

AlgoExpert currently features 100 questions you’re most likely to encounter at a FAANG. They are separated into 5 difficulty levels:

  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard
  • Very Hard
  • Extremely Hard

You can also sort the questions by category. There are 14 in total:

  • Binary Search Trees
  • Binary Trees
  • Linked Lists
  • Searching
  • Strings
  • Arrays
  • Stacks
  • Dynamic Programming
  • Famous Algorithms
  • Recursion
  • Sorting
  • Graphs
  • Heaps
  • Tries

And a few examples of challenges include:

  • Nth Fibonacci
  • Move Element to End
  • Depth-First Search
  • Group Anagrams
  • Merge Sort
  • Palindrome Partitioning

3. 60 Hours of Video

Co-founder Clément Mihailescu is also the producer of the solution videos. And while solution files are available in 7 programming languages, he does the code walk-throughs in Python.

His reasoning?

Python is easy to read.

Fair enough! 🐍

AlgoExpert control panel with video explanation of Nth Fibonacci

The videos are strategically separated in two parts:

Conceptual Overview:

In the conceptual overview, You’ll develop a strategy for the given algorithm:

  • how to approach it
  • how to implement it
  • how to optimize it
  • how to analyze its space-time complexity

Code Walkthrough:

The code walkthrough focuses on implementation. How would you code the solution to a given problem in the course? These videos show you exactly that.

4. Language Support

In addition, 7 languages are supported:

  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • C++
  • C#
  • Java
  • Go
  • Swift

AlgoExpert language choices on student control panel

If you’ve been frustrated by other resources that only offer support in Java (i.e. Cracking the Coding Interview), AlgoExpert’s language diversity comes as a long-overdue feature.

Cost

AlgoExpert currently costs $99 annually.

AlgoExpert vs LeetCode

LeetCode promises software developers a wide range of coding problems. This includes numerous problems featured on AlgoExpert.

One big difference between LeetCode and AlgoExpert is that LeetCode’s basic tier is free.

Secondly, LeetCode is more focused on peer competition and scoring. AlgoExpert doesn’t keep scores or engage in any other peer competition. (The one exception are the monthly contests.)

list of leetcode coding problems

But as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. LeetCode dishes out the problems while relying on its community to provide context and possible solutions.

As others have noted, this experience is often a waste of time due to many users trying to “one up” each other with creative or one-line solutions.

There is a paid version of LeetCode that is $35/month or $159/year. However, even with that upgrade you still do not get video explanations or other help upgrades.

This is unlike AlgoExpert. Instead of relying on random users to explain things, you learn through Clément’s videos. Again, these videos are strategically separated into two parts (conceptual overview & code walkthrough). That way, you’ll know exactly why an optimal solution is indeed optimal while tackling the problem step-by-step.

AlgoExpert vs Grokking the Coding Interview

Like AlgoExpert, Grokking the Coding Interview is a popular course that features an interactive coding environment.

grokking the coding interview course screenshot

Overall, the specs on Grokking are a bit more impressive.

For example, Grokking features:

  • 182 lessons
  • 125 challenges
  • 1051 playgrounds
  • 342 code snippets
  • 214 illustrations

However, there are no video explanations and much more emphasis is placed on 16 distinct patterns for solving coding interview problems. The goal is for you to solve more problems using these patterns rather than memorizing answers to specific questions.

That said, Grokking still goes over many questions that fall into these patterns. These range from Merge Interval to Reverse Every K-element Sub-list.

Overall, if you enjoy video explanations of specific questions, AlgoExpert is probably the better choice.

But if you want a more holistic approach to solving problems using patterns, Grokking the Coding Interview is the better option.

Final Verdict

AlgoExpert brings together the best of both learning worlds: interactive code editors AND video. But what really sets this platform apart from the others are Clément’s two-part video explanations. You get clear, authoritative answers from a software engineer who has passed interviews at both Google and Facebook.

There’s no denying there are numerous free interview prep resources out there. There are also a few paid options that are high-quality, too.

But again, AlgoExpert really excels at fusing learning environments with their 90 (and growing) question set. It’s an immersive experience. And it teaches you not only real problem solving skills, but also technical implementation.

Is AlgoExpert worth it? If you want to improve your chances of landing a FAANG-level software engineer job, yes, it's worth it. For the cost of a power lunch in San Francisco, you can use this platform to help you land a high-paying engineering role at a FAANG.

Posted on Jun 2 by:

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RealToughCandy

@realtoughcandy

Real-world web development! 100% indie web dev; author of Freelance Newbie, How to Get a Job in Web Development, Real Tough Software & Tiny YouTube; instructor; YouTuber. youtube.com/realtoughcandy

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