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I recently completed The Flatiron School Data Science Bootcamp. As I began my job search, I realised that I needed to continue studying algorithms in order to be successful during interviews. My search for the best study locations led me to two websites: Leetcode Premium and Algoexpert. In this article, I will discuss my experience with Leetcode Premium, and I will follow up with an article on Algoexpert the following week.
To begin, it is important to note that I am reviewing the premium version of Leetcode; the free version is an excellent tool that I recommend to anyone looking to advance their algorithmic skills.
I'll start with what is arguably the best tool in Leetcode Premium: the massive amount of questions on the site. This is fantastic for practise because the more problems you see, the better you will become at answering algorithmic questions. Furthermore, they have organised the problems into numerous groups, similar to what you would see on a Spotify playlist. This is a great idea because it keeps the site interesting.
The following fantastic feature of Leetcode Premium is actually a branch off of the first. Leetcode actually keeps track of what questions are asked by many of the major companies, and you can sort questions based on the company you're interviewing with. So, if you have an interview at Apple in a week, you can go there and answer the 30 most frequently asked questions by Apple.
The final advantage of Leetcode Premium is that you have complete access to the answers to all of the site's questions. This enables you to learn from each question and identify patterns. Learning how to answer algorithmic questions is a significant portion of the learning process.
I'll start with a negative that stems from the previous positive. When evaluating Leetcode Premium, you compare it not only to other services, but also to the free version of the product. In this case, the free version of Leetcode still gives you access to a large number of questions and solutions on the site. Furthermore, for locked solutions, you can still visit the discussion board linked to the question and learn about a variety of solutions to the problem you're attempting to solve.
Now, moving on to the solutions, not all solutions are provided in your prefered language; it has happened more than once that I looked to see if there was a better solution to my brute force method and discovered that I had to begin translating their code written in Java when I primarily code in Python. This is a minor annoyance, but when you pay for a service, you would expect to receive solutions in all languages.
My final criticism is directed at Leetcode itself. I'm not always convinced that questions and answers are written clearly. I've had a few issues where I needed to go to the discussion board to figure out what a question was asking for. Overall, this isn't the worst complaint because these are often the questions that will be asked during your interview. It is preferable to learn how to deal with ambiguity in practise rather than having it fluster you during your interview.
After completing a few weeks of Leetcode Premium, I believe it is an excellent programme for a specific group of people. If you want to work for an FAANG company or any other top firm, this is a great way to prepare for your interviews. Their problem playlists and tracking of which companies ask specific questions could be a deal breaker for anyone considering upgrading from the free edition. However, if you are looking to improve your skills but are not specifically aiming for a position at one of the top-tier companies, I believe that the free edition is adequate and that there are better services aimed at teaching algorithms.
Leetcode Premium is $35 per month or $160 per year. Personally, I believe this product is well worth it if it will help you break into a coding career or get into your dream job.
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