Hi, I’m Brian, a former senior software engineer and now software engineering industry mentor at Pathrise. I have worked with hundreds of software engineers to help them land their dream job.Check out my review of LeetCode.
Updated in 2021
What does LeetCode do?
The mission of LeetCode is to help software engineers enhance their skills, expand their knowledge, and prepare for technical interviews. They have over 1800 questions broken up into 3 skill levels: easy, medium, and hard. In addition, Premium members get access to problem sets based on company questions. LeetCode is one of the largest communities for developers. In fact, they have hundreds of thousands of active users and a very robust discussion board.
Users can participate in contests to challenge themselves and earn rewards. Some of these contests are sponsored by companies who are looking to hire top talent. They support 14 popular coding languages. Users can test, debug, and write their own projects online through their playground as well.
Who is LeetCode for?
LeetCode is for software engineers who are looking to practice technical questions and advance their skills. Mastering the questions in each level on LeetCode is a good way to prepare for technical interviews and keep your skills sharp. They also have a repository of solutions with reasoning behind each step. Therefore, software engineers that are not as strong can also benefit from LeetCode.
What does LeetCode cost? How much work is involved?
There are some free questions and solutions on LeetCode. But, for the most part, a subscription is necessary in order to fully make use of the service. Users can subscribe to a monthly package for $35 per month (down from $39) or a yearly package for $159 per month (down from $299). Premium users have access to more questions, solutions, and company problem sets, as well as better question sorting. There is no application process.
Ratings and reviews
The reviews of LeetCode are all really positive. Most people find that similar online sources for software engineering questions are less organized, so they really appreciate the tagging and classification seen on LeetCode. Most users recommend doing easy & medium questions, as those are more likely to come up in some variance in interviews.
People are also complimentary of the solution articles, which they say are very helpful and should be looked at if you are stuck on a problem for more than an hour. Reviewing these solutions is helpful for candidates who see similar problems on their technical interviews as they will know the exact reasoning behind each step of the process.
Alternatives to LeetCode
If you decide not to use LeetCode, there are a number of alternatives to help prepare you for your technical interviews.
- Created by a former Google software engineer, Interview Cake is a study tool that teaches people how to think about technical interview questions rather than just how to do them. Discover how Interview Cake can help you by reading our review.
- Another interview prep tool is Coderbyte, which hosts an online editor and tens of thousands of user solutions. Learn more about Coderbyte in our review.
- Similarly, Edabit and Skilled.dev users can code on their online editor and access tens of thousands of user solutions.
- HackerRank is a common tool used by companies to evaluate software engineers. They also offer practice questions on their platform, so users can work through problems in the same environment as their tests.
- Another option is AlgoExpert, which is a paid platform with questions on topics such as data structures, algorithms, and problem-solving.
- CodinGame, Codewars, CodeChef, Check.io, and CodeSignal turn interview practice problems into challenges as a way to gamify the interview prep experience.
- Candidates who want to do mock interviews with software engineers at top tech companies can check out Interviewing.io. Learn more about Interviewing.io in our review.
- Similarly, Gainlo, Tech Mock Interview, and Pramp give users the opportunity to practice for technical interviews with experts and peers.
- Daily Coding Problem is a newsletter that sends 1 practice interview problem directly to your inbox each day. The questions are free, but users must subscribe to access the solutions.
- In the same vein, Quastor also sends out a daily newsletter. They also have a free online course and a community where people can discuss problems and solutions.
- People looking to prepare with real world problems can check out CodeKata. They provide challenges that mimic requests from real tech companies.
- Software engineers who use Ruby on Rails can check out RubyTapas, which has challenges in that language.
We compiled a list of resources to practice software engineer interview questions that you can use to decide the best one for you. You can also check out our list of 93 software engineering interview questions from top tech companies to practice.
How does LeetCode compare to Pathrise?
LeetCode is a great tool for software engineers of all levels to use in preparation for their technical interviews. Whether you are looking to hone or enhance your skills, you will find what you need, and likely more, on LeetCode.
At Pathrise, we are focused on helping our fellows with the entire job search. Part of that is mastering the technical interview and so we actually provide our fellows with free-of-charge premium accounts to LeetCode so that they can use the service on their own and with their mentors. These questions are paramount to ensuring that our fellows go into every technical interview with confidence.
In pair programming sessions and 1-on-1 with technical mentors, Pathrise fellows, with the help of LeetCode, can master the exact skills they need and even see some of the same questions.
Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With our tips and guidance, we’ve seen our fellows interview performance scores double.
If you want to work with our mentors 1-on-1 to get help with your software engineer interviews or with any other aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow.
Leetcode as routine
This article is also available on my blog
I started Leetcode as a daily routine early Nov 2018 while I was taking part time online master course Machine Learning at Georgia Tech and having full time job. It was quite hard to find enough time to tackle a single question from scratch. So, my strategy was to read questions and most up-voted answers in the discussion to get the sense of questions tag by tag. I found that it is extremely helpful for me to read solutions before attempting to solve the problems all by myself. It saved me time and allow me to read many questions in the same tag. So I could recognized variants of specific type of questions easily in the future. It also avoid the unnecessary frustration in early phase. Many people may feel frustrated as they cannot even solve easy problems at the very beginning. Actually this is very common. Reading solution early on can actually help avoid that. I know some people may disagree with this point. YMMV. (Besides leetcode, I have compiled this list of resources that helped me)
In my opinion, this is more effective for most of the people who are not guru in algorithms. But don’t get me wrong, I still need to wake up as early as 6 am to leetcode for those days.
Note: if you are very new to the interview process of the big tech companies, cracking the coding interview is your friend. It demonstrates the hiring process in great details and cover some strategy for preparation. I personally started from this book a few years ago. This helped me set the expectation of the interview so that I did not get any big surprise during the process.
Around new year 2019, I started my semester when I took two hard courses Reinforcement Learning and Advanced Operating System. These two courses consumed 30+ hours weekly. By then, I have briefly “solved” most tags and get the ability to identify the problem types by looking at the question. I then started try to solve problem without reading the solutions. My submissions were a lot less between Jan and April. This slowdown is very critical for me to transition the memorization to practical problem solving skills in interview. By writing the code, it did reinforcement my understanding of the algorithms I learned.
During January to April, I attempted weekly contest as much as possible. I was never able to solve all four questions during the contest. Most of the time, I get 2 questions solved, sometimes 3. The advantage is that the contest provides the interview environment as it has time constraints.
Luckily, I have a buddy who was preparing for interviews and we leetcoded together. We often discussed LCand shared resources like interview prep materials. An example is that when I had difficulty understanding DP questions even like coin change, my friend can share me summary of DP questions that he found online. The summary talks about difference between bottom up vs top down solutions. Also, with a buddy, you won’t feel alone in the journey so you won’t give up easily.
Most of the time, I did Leetcode questions and contests on screen. To simulate a more real interview, I periodically solve problems in whiteboard.
It is the time for me to test my hard work. It came to the end of my intense semester. In the mean time, I slowly heard from recruiters calls from some companies. I got interview opportunities with Company A, Microsoft and Uber. I realized it is perfect timing to validate my practice and accepted all hr phone screens. It was quite easy to pass the hr screen for all 3 companies.
It’s pretty fast that phone interviews were scheduled. The phone rounds were purely leetcode type of questions. I completed all coding interviews during the calls or online assessment. In this part, leetcode did help a lot. I was able to identify what algorithm or what data structure to use after I read the questions. Sometimes, I struggled in implementation. But I felt confident enough while I was struggling.
Uber sent me to onsite invite first. Then Amazon and Microsoft sped up the onsite process. I got 3 onsites within 2 weeks. By the time I got the onsites, I purchased leetcode premium so that I could find out the question pools in these companies. It is $159 per year or $35 per month. I resumed my leetcode journey. But this time, my strategy only focuses on leetcoding top questions from these 3 companies. Leetcode has a feature to show company tagged questions in different recent periods, 6 months, 1 year etc. Recent 6 month questions should be most relevant. By the time I was hammering it, there were about 350 Uber questions, I planned to finish at least half of it. That means I need to practice about 10 questions daily because of the limited time I had. This time, instead of jumping into the solution right after I got stuck, I attempted to solve it with naive solution, then try to optimize. (this is what you should do in the interview as well if you can’t think of an optimal solution right away). I always analyzed time and space complexity of my solution which is very critical during interview.
It was a bit brutal for me to fly to west coast twice from east coast. But YOLO. To my surprise, out of 5 rounds of interviews, I got only one leetcode type of coding question. Other two rounds of coding are quite open ended. I believe they were testing candidates’ ability to ask question about requirements at the beginning as well as OOdesign. And of course, leadership principle was all over the 5 interviews.
In contrast, Uber and Microsoft’s coding questions are just like leetcode questions. Questions were clearly told, example input and output were provided. Time complexity and space complexity are expected to be analyzed.
Note: If you are new to data structure and algorithms, I found Algorithms, cracking the coding interview, and Stanford online course are great to start. For candidate with very little pattern design knowledge, Head First Design Patterns is a good start to understand many different patterns. For more advanced users, I highly recommend Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object Oriented Software by GoF. I still use it as reference during study or work these days. Last but not least, the system design, one may find the Grokking the System Design helpful if they haven’t had any system design experience. This covers many topics you will see at work or in the interview. It trains you how to analyze the requirements. Then, how to choose a design based on the business requirement.
At the end, I landed a job in one of the FAANG. To sum up, the Leetcode premium is still worth the money. Not that you are guaranteed to see the exact same questions in the interview, but you can have much better sense to get a correct direction in solving the problems. It also boosted my confidence when I was stuck in a question.
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LeetCode Review: Why I Can’t Recommend LeetCode
LeetCode is an excellent tool for honing your programming skills in preparation for your big tech interviews. However, because recruiters are looking for much more than just competent coders, we feel that LeetCode falls short in sufficiently preparing applicants to land their dream job. 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.
What Is LeetCode?
LeetCode is an online community designed to help you ace your technical interviews at big tech companies. It has a database of hundreds of coding problems, each of which is classified as Easy, Medium or Hard.
Here are some of the problem topics you’ll find on LeetCode:
|Binary search trees||Data structures||Linked lists|
|Bit manipulation||Algorithms||Brain teasers|
|Graphs||Dynamic programming||Divide & conquer|
Advantages Of LeetCode
#1 Multiple Programming Languages
Most questions on LeetCode support multiple programming languages, so you can do them in the languages you know best and avoid unnecessary learning.
#2 Community Discussions
Aside from the coding problems itself, the LeetCode community is its most valuable asset. It’s the #1 thing users talk about, and it’s a great resource for getting insight into how others are solving problems and learning from others’ mistakes.
The LeetCode community also has special threads for things like Compensation, where you can post the compensation package you’ve been offered—including signing bonuses, stock options, and everything else—and get feedback and advice from the community.
LeetCode Premium is LeetCode’s paid subscription, which currently costs $35/month or $159/year. It gives users access to premium problems and solutions, a built-in debugger, and interview simulations.
One thing I particularly like about LeetCode Premium is that it allows you to target specific companies—if you’re preparing for an upcoming interview with Facebook, you can choose to only see questions and mock interviews relevant to Facebook.
The data for this feature is crowdsourced and tends to be fairly accurate.
LeetCode also has monthly coding challenges, which are a fun way to hone your skills quickly.
As I write this, LeetCode Premium offers more than 300 unique questions, including:
- Customers Who Bought Products A and B but Not C
- Check If a String Is a Valid Sequence from Root to Leaves Path in a Binary Tree
- Find the Start and End Number of Continuous Ranges
- Print Immutable Linked List in Reverse
- Palindrome Removal
- Minimum Time to Build Blocks
- Missing Number In Arithmetic Progression
Is LeetCode Premium Worth It?
If all you’re looking for is a way to brush up your coding skills, LeetCode Premium is a great choice. It has a (nearly) endless amount of problems for you to work on, so you can spend months honing your skills.
But I still can’t recommend LeetCode (Premium or not), because while it will make you a better programmer, LeetCode will not land you a job in big tech.
LeetCode’s Biggest Weakness: It’s Only About The Code
Here’s something you probably don’t know about the FAANG hiring process:
The applicants who don’t receive job offers are no less capable than those who do.
The losers, just like the winners, also spent weeks and months honing their knowledge of recursion, data structures, hash tables, stacks, and queues on LeetCode.
The losers also got great grades at the top schools and, on the whole, are excellent programmers.
But what the losers don’t realize is that their programming knowledge had nothing to do with why they weren’t hired.
Because the reality of big tech is that hiring decisions come down to 90% fit and 10% code.
Of course your code needs to be good to get hired by Google or Facebook—we all know that.
But good code will only get your foot in the door.
There are still several other qualities you need to prove in order to get an offer.
Here are three of the biggest ones.
This is the #1 quality applicants overlook on their journey to getting hired.
Because what recruiters are really looking for is not your ability to be a strong junior engineer, but your ability to develop into a strong senior engineer.
They want to know that you have the empathy and the listening skills to lead a team of strangers, and that you’re willing to put in the work.
And if you can’t demonstrate that you're a leader in your interview, it doesn’t matter how good your code is—you won’t be getting an offer.
#2 Teamwork & Communication
Teamwork and communication are two other necessary skill sets you won’t learn in LeetCode.
But just like leadership, you must demonstrate your teamwork and communication skills if you expect to get a FAANG offer.
Because building the world’s best technology is a team endeavor, so if you want to thrive in big tech, you need to prove yourself as a team player.
Don’t overlook the importance of this.
FAANG companies routinely pass on highly competent engineers solely because they haven’t shown that they’ll be productive members of a larger team.
Don’t be the genius engineer that gets overlooked. Be the genius team player that gets the job.
#3 Mastery Over Complexity & Ambiguity
It’s common for technical recruiters at big tech firms to give applicants extremely ambiguous problems to solve—just to see how they handle them.
So if you can’t walk the recruiter through a logical process for solving that problem, they’ll move on to the next applicant before you even leave the room.
To be clear, the sort of ambiguous problems I’m talking about aren’t at all like the problems you face in LeetCode. They’re much more open-ended, and there truly are no right answers for them.
These are the sort of questions you need a guide to help you navigate through. That’s why you need something more comprehensive than LeetCode if you want to give yourself the best chance at getting an offer.
LeetCode vs. Tech Interview Pro
There’s no doubt that LeetCode will help you polish your skills for the coding portion of your interview, but to neglect the rest of the process is just plain irresponsible.
That's why we recommend Tech Interview Pro, a program designed by former software engineers at Facebook and Google who have compressed years of interview knowledge and experience into a single course.
Here are just a few of the reasons we recommend Tech Interview Pro over LeetCode.
#1 A Comprehensive Approach
Tech Interview Pro will coach you on all aspects of getting hired, not just your technical skills. And as more FAANG recruiters come forward and stress the importance of soft skills and leadership qualities in their hiring decisions, you can’t afford to overlook the human side of the hiring process any longer.
Here’s a breakdown of Tech Interview Pro, with the non-technical modules bolded:
- 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, there’s more programming practice in there than you’ll ever get through, but the real value comes in the non-technical modules: that’s how you’ll set yourself apart from everyone else who's just focused on LeetCode.
You can get more detail on each of these nine modules in our in-depth Tech Interview Pro review.
#2 Private Facebook Group
The Tech Interview Pro private Facebook group is a goldmine of opportunity.
With over 1,500 past students in there posting hundreds of times per month, it’s an invaluable resource for getting immediate feedback on your interviews and offers, and for meeting other engineers who have successfully made the leap into FAANG and other tech firms.
Here are some of the posts by past Tech Interview Pro students:
#3 Run By Industry Insiders
Tech Interview Pro is run by two industry veterans who have reverse engineered the hiring process to give you the best chance of success:
- Joma (Jonathan Ma) studied computer science at the University of Waterloo and has held internship and full-time positions at Microsoft, LinkedIn, BuzzFeed and Facebook.
- TechLead (Patrick Shyu) has grown his own websites to millions of users, spent his recent years working at Facebook and Google, and has conducted over 100 technical interviews for Google.
If there’s anyone who knows how to get a job at FAANG, it’s these guys.
#4 Bi-Weekly Q&A Sessions
Every two weeks, TechLead and Joma do a live Q&A session for all Tech Interview Pro students. The Q&A sessions normally last for about an hour, and they cover a lot of ground.
Some sample questions you might want to ask in the Q&A sessions include:
- I want to get hired at Amazon. How do I get started?
- I have an upcoming phone screening at Facebook. What should I be thinking about?
- I have an upcoming interview at Microsoft. How should I prepare?
- I didn’t get the internship I wanted at Google. What should I work on over the next 6 months to ensure I get the next one?
Every Q&A session is recorded, so as soon as you join Tech Interview Pro, you’ll gain access to all previous Q&A sessions, too.
The best part about the Q&A sessions is that you can get specific feedback for your scenario, which can be incredibly valuable. Make sure to tune in every two weeks!
#5 Resume Reviews
TechLead and Joma personally review your resume and help you tailor it for the position and the company you’re pursuing. Your resume will probably be a recruiter’s first interaction with you, so having it check all the right boxes is key.
#6 Lifetime Access
Every student gets lifetime access to everything within Tech Interview Pro: new video lessons as they’re added, the private Facebook group, all of the live Q&A sessions, and everything else.
So not only will you be able to leverage the course to get this job, but you can use it to get your next job 2, 5, or 10 years down the road, too.
LeetCode is a good tool for polishing your programming skills. But because everyone is doing LeetCode—and big tech recruiters know it—mastering LeetCode problems isn’t enough to land the job you want.
If you want to get ahead of your peers and give yourself the best shot at getting a big tech job offer, you’re going to need a better edge. We recommend setting yourself apart from the rest of the job market with Tech Interview Pro.
It’s almost a rite of passage for every budding software engineer to ask themselves “Is subscribing to LeetCode Premium worth it?”. The short answer: It depends on where you are in your software career. LeetCode premium has some features that can almost guarantee you a job at FANG – if you know how to use them. Let’s do an in detail cost benefit analysis of whether or not you should buy LeetCode Premium.
What does LeetCode premium give you?
LeetCode Premium costs $35 per month, or $159 per year (USD). By subscribing you get access to the following benefits:
- Premium content (more questions, better solutions, discussions from the LeetCode team)
- Autocomplete for your online code editor
- Faster judging of your code (Lightning Judge)
- A debugger so you don’t have to `print` every time you want to debug
- Interview simulations where you can give yourself a set amount of time to answer questions
- Company specific questions
- Question sort by interview asking frequency
Out of all of these features, the 2 that are really worth it are the company specific questions, and the interview simulator.
The company specific questions are amazing for practicing for specific company interviews. Are you starting the software interview process with Google? LeetCode Premium will give you ~30 questions that those Google engineers are most likely to ask.
You might be wondering, “Why would Google engineers still ask them?”. The answer: even if you know the question, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll solve it to their standards. Interviewers look for more than just whether or not your code works in a software interview. You can even check Glassdoor to see how many people get the same software interview question over and over again.
The interview simulator is definitely worth trying at least once. Companies will almost always send you an online screening test before inviting you for an onsite interview. If you’ve never done a coding problem in a controlled and timed environment before, this is a must try feature that LeetCode premium offers.
Is LeetCode better than HackerRank?
This is the age old question asked by software engineers everywhere. The answer: they both provide something different to the table, but if you had to choose one, choose LeetCode.
HackerRank focuses more on categorized questions related to coding basic algorithms and data structures.
LeetCode provides questions that make you use your brain and twist popular data structures and algorithms to fit the problem. It’s a lot more of a realistic way to practice, as those are the types of problems you’ll get on a software engineering interview.
How much money does LeetCode make from premium?
While there’s no way to know for sure, a quick Ahrefs search shows us that LeetCode brings in around 25k users per day.
If we assume roughly 500k unique visitors per month, and a 2% conversion rate (which is standard for SaaS sites), LeetCode probably makes over $500,000 USD per month.
What should I practice on LeetCode?
You may be saying something like “Okay, I’m sold that LeetCode Premium is worth it… but what questions do I practice?”.
If you have a specific software interview for a top company coming up (i.e Facebook), then you should focus on solving those questions on LeetCode.
If you’re just trying to improve, you should learn each data structure and algorithm one by one until you’re confident with it. We also have a data structures and algorithms road map that you can follow that will tell you every single thing you’ll need to know to ace software interviews.
In summary, LeetCode Premium is worth it if you have an upcoming software interview with a top company, or if you have some money to spare and want the best software interview practice possible.
India price leetcode subscription
Get started with a LeetCode subscription that works for you.
What will I get with a premium subscription?
In addition to free questions / articles, you will have access to exclusive premium questions / articles as well. You will also be able to group questions by company, and practice mock assessments targeting a specific company.
What are the premium articles? Is there a sample I can look at?
Some of the articles are reserved for premium subscribers only. You can take a look at this free sample article here. Please note that we are adding more articles so please check back frequently.
How does grouping questions by company work?
We compile the list of questions asked by specific companies based on data from user surveys: "Have you met this question in a real interview?". These lists will be kept up to date frequently with the ever growing survey data. You can find the list of companies in the problem list page, just below the Tag lists.
What about all the existing questions?
You will continue to have access to it all, it isn't going anywhere.
I clicked the subscribe button, fill in the credit card information and clicked "Add Payment Method". I still can't access the exclusive problems.
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