AlgoMonster is a relatively quiet tech interview prep platform. You don’t hear of it much like the other tech interview platforms such as Leetcode.
AlgoMonster is a relatively new platform that sits somewhere between Algoexpert and Grokking in terms of learning structure.
One might be quick to dismiss the platform, thinking that the competition would quickly stifle it.
However, it makes one significant promise; anyone who uses it for interview prep will get an offer from at least one tech company.
Of course, we are eager to put it to the test and see how well it measures up to its claim.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
TLDR; AlgoMonster Review 🤨
AlgoMonster is a coding interview course that helps you master the patterns for answering interview questions.
It has some free resources you can start taking without drawing out your credit card. You can take the free classes to see if it is worth the price for you.
It costs $99+ for lifetime access to the course which is much lower than the average cost of interview courses.
A better course that covers all you need is the Tech Interview Pro by Techlead. This course is responsible for helping 2000+ software engineers land their dream job with FAANG companies.
You get access to a free resume review by the course instructor plus a bi-weekly live session with him.
What is AlgoMonster?
AlgoMonster is one of the tech interview prep platforms available to aspiring software engineers.
It helps users to brush up on their coding skills so they can be ready for the tech interview.
As is true with many other inventions, AlgoMonster was built to address issues that conventional platforms at the time failed to solve.
I am talking about how a group of Google engineers collaborated to build a coaching platform because they wanted to spare others the stress they passed through when preparing for their interviews.
And they followed a simple ideology: Ditch the practice of solving many problems and build a platform that teaches the patterns that can be applied to just about any question asked in a typical interview.
That’s what AlgoMonster is all about: don’t just solve problems; learn the patterns.
The course is entirely online. There are no live classes, however, pre-recorded explanatory videos.
Once you sign into the platform, the first thing you’ll see is your dashboard, where all your progress and other statistics are shown.
Before you start the training, you will also be given an evaluation test to pinpoint your weakest areas so you can start from there.
All the training is through text-based questions, resources, and cheat sheets.
That approach was chosen because the team behind AlgoMonster found that video explanations don’t tax one’s thinking as hand-based solving does.
But that doesn’t make the course less interactive. It is chock-full of graphs, illustrations, diagrams, charts, et cetera.
Besides, you will be solving the code questions directly in the browser with their interactive code editors. This allows you to see the solutions to the code questions in real-time.
AlgoMonster reserves much of its training for its premium plans, but you can still get a few practice problems and cheat sheets in the free area.
About the Instructors
AlgoMonster was designed by a group of Google engineers independently of Google.
They had to run the gamut of intensive preparation for their tech interviews using Leetcode.
I will discuss Leetcode in more detail in my comparison with AlgoMonster later in this review.
For now, it suffices that Leetcode is also a prep platform for techies that gives you access to a vast database of questions.
Back to the Google employees. Leetcode worked for them, but they discovered that tackling over two thousand questions as prep wasn’t for everyone.
So they condensed the questions to identify several patterns one could apply to different questions.
AlgoMonster Course Outline
Let’s now walk in through the door and go deeper into the heart of AlgoMonster.
And that’s the course outline. It is where all the training can be traced to.
The course outline is not the most comprehensive, but it does cover many of the basics that every software engineer is supposed to know, regardless of their specialty.
Expect to find sorting algorithms, data structures, graphs, and all that stuff.
By now, it should be clear that AlgoMonster shows you the patterns that coding questions like the ones in tech interviews follow.
And then plenty of exercises for self-practice.
There are up to 48 patterns that have been isolated. The course outline groups these patterns into four sections: core patterns, advanced patterns, OOP (Object-oriented program) design, and system design.
Let’s explore them in more detail.
1. Core Patterns
This section starts with the fundamentals of software engineering.
When you want to prepare for a tech interview, you wouldn’t just jump into the more complex topics.
If you have asked people who took an interview, you’ll find that many questions are from seemingly minor issues.
Interviewers know that people often look down on basic concepts in favor of more complex issues.
That’s why AlgoMonster starts from the core patterns so that you can better outsmart the interviewer.
The topics listed here include
1.1 Binary search
1.2 Depth-first search
1.4 Depth-first search
1.5 Graph Intro
1.6 Topological sort
1.7 Two pointers
1.8 Priority queue/heap
2. Advanced Patterns,
After completing the lessons in the core section, it can be assumed that you can now take on the more complex parts.
So let’s assume you are the student. What topics will you encounter next?
2.1. Dynamic Program
2.2. Dynamic Programming Patterns
2.3. Disjoint Set Union/Union Find
2.5. Segment Tree
2.6. Divide and Conquer
2.7. Monotonic Stack
2.9. Composite Patterns
3. Object-oriented Program Design
Object-oriented program design has to do with creating programs for specific tasks.
This kind of programming is called object-oriented because it comprises essential elements known as objects that can interact amongst themselves.
Object-oriented programming is more practical than theoretical, and it’s good that AlgoMonster includes it in its curriculum.
In this case, if you are using AlgoMonster for tech interview prep, you’ll be designing the following programs for practice.
3.1. Playing Cards
3.2. Parking Spots
3.3 Public Library
3.4. Call Centre
3.5. Vending Machine
4. System Design
This section is for acquainting students with all it takes to design and build a functional design.
System design experts pool their skills to build operating systems and software.
In a system design interview, you might be asked to fix a fault in an operating system or otherwise modify it. This section helps you with that.
This section pays attention to about five critical aspects of system design which are viz;
4.1. Load Balancing
4.2. Partitioning and Sharding
4.4. Web Crawler
4.5. Tiny URL
If there is already an indication of AlgoMonster being a good prep platform, it’s in the pricing.
AlgoMonster costs $99 for a one-time payment which also grants lifetime access.
What I Like About AlgoMonster (Pros) 👍
When going through this prep platform, I noticed some things that stood out positively.
Can I say they are convincing enough to sway my verdict in AlgoMonster’s favor?
I should say that. I’m sure you will agree too. Let’s now check out the best parts of the platform.
1. Pattern Based
To me, it makes a huge difference that the creators of AlgoMonster choose not to make it simply a massive database of questions.
Learning the patterns cut out a massive chunk of time and stress and increases your chances of getting more questions correct in the interview.
2. Company-specific (OA) Online Assessment Question Bank.
Thanks to this feature, you know precisely what to prepare for based on your dream company.
Thus, you wouldn’t waste your time preparing more like a Google candidate when you are gearing up for a job on Facebook.
3. Reasonable Amount of Free Information
AlgoMonster goes way beyond just providing the course outline for free. It offers in-depth free training on some of the topics.
Honestly, this is something you’d be hard-pressed to see in other prep platforms.
And it makes it easier to decide if you’ll pick the platform for your prep needs.
4. Comprehensive Course Outline
Looking at the course outline at face value is deceptive.
You will think it skimps on a lot of vital topics.
But when you dive in like we just did, the results might blow you away. For instance, who would have expected that replicating existing systems, e.g., car parks, would be part of the package?
5. Lifetime Access at a Reasonable Cost
This is one thing you don’t get to find easily in other tech interview prep platforms.
The other platforms teach you, and then you go.
If you ever find yourself stranded again in some aspects, you won’t have many choices.
When you’re preparing for something as crucial as an interview, you want to take your time so you’ll grab everything with ease.
However, when a schedule is hemming you in, it may not always be easy to catch up as soon as expected.
So the fact that AlgoMonster is self-paced joins the list of factors that make it easy to recommend.
What I Dislike About AlgoMonster (Cons) 🤬👎
The plus points I’ve mentioned do not mean the platform is perfect.
There are still some things here and there that I wish could be patched up as soon as possible.
In no particular order, they are;
1. No Curated Assessments/ No Mock Interviews
With curated assessments, you can have a way of knowing where your strengths and weaknesses are.
The closest thing to that in AlgoMonster is the progress tracker, which only shows your pace.
And it sucks that there are no mock interviews. Mock interviews help you make mistakes before the interview, so you don’t repeat them.
That means you have to make do with learning without having a taste of the conditions you would face in real life
2. Absence of Soft Skills Training
The importance of soft skills cannot be overemphasized.
They include such social skills as teamwork, communication, leadership, and so on.
Candidates must know how to interact well with their interviewers and potential workmates. They won’t be dealing with hardware and software alone.
No Free Trial
A free trial is something that has almost become the norm nowadays.
But surprisingly, it is missing. Instead, free content is available to set aside the need for a free trial.
With a bit of deep thought, the reasons behind that decision may be understandable, but I don’t think anything can match up to a free trial when you want to play safe.
Text-based Training is not for Everyone
AlgoMonster departs from the mainstream system with its training system wholly based on text and diagrams.
While the reasons behind this policy are understandable, they won’t sit well with many people.
A hybrid system mix of video explanations and text could also have worked.
AlgoMonster vs. Grokking
AlgoMonster vs. Grokking is a popular comparison.
I have taken the time to review both of these software and now share my findings with you.
AlgoMonster and Grokking are very similar.
They both share the same pattern-based method of learning.
They are both also the champions of text-based learning sans video, that is.
However, they differ in some critical areas.
Google engineers put together AlgoMonster. Grokking is the product of an ex-Facebook software expert.
Does that give AlgoMonster the edge in speaking of authority? Maybe.
Grokking is meant for last-minute preparation, so it doesn’t go in-depth in its notes. That’s unlike AlgoMonster, which gives tons of notes and questions.
The duo also differ in the number of patterns they’ve isolated. For Grokking, it’s 17; AlgoMonster proves to be the real monster here with 48 designs.
But perhaps AlgoMonster seems to have the most decisive advantage, with its lifetime access feature once you go premium.
You don’t get that with Grokking.
AlgoMonster vs. Algoexpert
For comparison’s sake, if you minus the video part from Algoexpert, it’s probably the closest alternative to AlgoMonster.
Maybe in the suffix, though.
They both command authority since they both have industry experts at their helm.
However, one features video explanations; the other does not. You’ll have to decide which one you prefer in this case.
Regarding who has the more comprehensive course outline, I’ll say the crown goes to AlgoMonster.
For instance, on Algoexpert, you won’t get the level of practical system design training that you’ll get in AlgoMonster.
Algoexpert won’t even teach system design in its base package; you’ll have to pay for it as a separate bundle.
One area where Algoexpert beats AlgoMonster is in the number of practice questions.
AlgoMonster’s 161 questions pale in comparison to Algoexpert’s 231 questions.
AlgoExpert sweeps AlgoMonster to the floor with its curated assessments and mock interviews.
However, AlgoMonster gives a solid reply with its evaluation test and online assessment question bank curated for different companies.
If you’ve been keeping count, that’s two points for each platform.
Winner: it’s a tie here.
AlgoMonster vs. Leetcode
The next round pits AlgoMonster with Leetcode.
I’ll allow Leetcode to give the first strike here. It has over 2000 questions in its database, so you can spend months honing your skills.
Leetcode also has a full-fledged community, but so does AlgoMonster.
In terms of supported languages, Leetcode is the clear winner. It has support for over 20 programming languages. AlgoMonster? Just nine.
However, when talking about who has the better learning system, AlgoMonster is the indisputable champion.
Its pattern-based method of teaching does blow Leetcode out of the water.
Other perks follow on AlgoMonster’s side like company’s online assessment question bank, a personal evaluation test, an interactive mode of teaching and course, and pricing.
AlgoMonster has thus far proven to have what it takes to claim its spot among the best tech interview prep boot camps.
Its feature set might seem somewhat limited, especially considering the lack of curated assessments and mock interviews.
But it makes up for those limitations with its company-specific online assessment question banks and subjective evaluation tests.
Add to that its lifetime access for a reasonable price, and you get a platform with all the features that matter.
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