I have thoroughly compared Interview Kickstart and Algoexpert, and here are my findings.
They are both tech interview prep platforms that are very popular.
They both claim to be the best for every software engineer preparing for technical interviews.
But as you and I know, we rarely take any platform by its words until we’ve subjected them to exhaustive research.
That is precisely what I have done in this review. Here is the outline of what this review covers:
- Overview of both Interview Kickstart and Algoexpert
- Features of both platforms
- Downsides of the two competitors and finally,
- The best alternative
There’s a whole lot to learn in the review. So please sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s begin.
Interview Kickstart and AlgoExpert are two popular interview prep platforms.
But both aren’t among our top recommendations for a couple of reasons. For Interview Kickstart, it is because it is too expensive (over $5k) and there are courses that offer far better value.
For AlgoExpert, it is price friendly and a good course except that it isn’t comprehensive enough. You’ll need to buy the additional sister courses (SystemExpert, etc).
So what is our top recommendation? It is the Tech Interview Pro program by Patrick Shyu.
The Tech Interview Pro program covers the shortcomings of the two courses. It is comprehensive and also budget-friendly (although not the most affordable program).
With over 2000 students who have landed high-paying jobs with FAANG companies and other tech companies, the course is definitely worth checking out.
Table of Contents
Overview of Interview Kickstart
Interview Kickstart is an online training platform for software engineers (SWEs) vying for jobs in tech companies.
Soham Mehta is the CEO, and he co-founded the company with Ryan Valles.
Both have worked with startups and large companies before coming together to found Interview Kickstart. Microsoft, eBay, and Angel Enterprises ltd. are just a few of the places I’m referring to.
Interview Kickstart delivers its training using live classes. Think of it like going to a mini-college.
But IK allows students to choose their mode of attendance. Students can attend in-person evenings and weekends or join remotely from anywhere worldwide.
To add a confidence boost, all classes are led by instructors with several years of experience in the tech field. Most have handled or are in senior positions in their respective software companies.
Based on those attributes, Interview Kickstart looks promising as a platform for interview prep.
Overview of Algoexpert
If the term Algoexpert sounds like a fusion of algorithms and experts to you, you are right.
But I’ll say more on that later in this review. Algoexpert is owned by an ex-Google engineer, Clement Mihailescu. He has also worked in Facebook and some other high-profile tech companies.
Clement struggled with practicing for tech interviews before he finally got his first tech job.
He often recounts how he spent hours studying coding from books, articles, videos and what have you.
So he knows how frustrating it can be for aspiring software engineers who don’t have an interview prep platform to help them out.
So with that in mind, he founded Algoexpert—with Antoine Pourchet
Algoexpert uses pre-recorded videos to teach would-be software engineers. The course curriculum is highly structured, beginning with a data structure crash course, after which the core topics follow in their order of difficulty.
Interview Kickstart vs. Algoexpert – Features
We are now in the middle of the contest between these two viral platforms.
To know which one is a better fit, let’s look at their top features. The categories we will be looking at include: depth of training, mode of training, supported languages, success stories, support period, and extras.
Depth of Training
In this case, we are talking about their course curriculum, which gives us some insight into their scope.
Let’s start with Algoexpert. Remember how I said that the name looks like fusing algorithms with the expert tag?
That’s basically what Algoexpert specializes in. Algorithms and then data structures.
All the 15 topics you will revise in the course are, in one way or another, connected with algorithms.
Some examples are arrays, graphs, linked lists, recursions, etc.
That leaves out systems design which is indispensable to any software engineer.
You can also learn systems design, but that is another package.
And then, there is no communication aspect. But you do get behavioral tips for interviews.
Now for Interview Kickstart.
Interview Kickstart takes a more thorough approach to its training.
Digging into the course outline, I discovered that it’s domain-specific. In other words, IK specializes in different software engineering professions.
So, for instance, backend engineering is treated as a whole course on IK. And so is data engineering or Android engineering and so on. The domain courses are altogether 17 in number.
No matter the domain you are into, there is an in-depth training on the three critical technical skills every software engineer must have, viz:
- DS&A (Data Structure and Algorithms)
- System Design
Mode of Training
Mode of training is another area in which Algoexpert and Interview Kickstart differ.
The first thing to note, in Interview Kickstart, classes are held live in physical classrooms, but you can opt-in for remote access.
Classes are held in the evenings and on weekends.
In Algoexpert, it’s a different affair. Though not necessarily a worse one when you read the section of this review dedicated to pricing.
The training is delivered through pre-recorded videos. There is a data structure crash course, to begin with.
Then, each topic is explained in the videos, and users can try their hand at the practice problems.
Well, there is not much to say in this area. Interview Kickstart instructors will generally teach using the programming language of the majority.
It’s in Algoexpert that it is crucial to support several languages since it’s mainly for self-practice.
Both Algoexpert and Interview Kickstart have garnered many success stories.
Here is a screenshot of a collection from Algoexpert’s website
And from Interview Kickstart:
Length of support is something many of us watch out for.
Most times, we want something that we can have access to for as long as possible, and any platform that offers that scores a bonus point.
So I’m sure you are eager to see what position Algoexpert and Interview Kickstart take in this regard.
Algoexpert allows its users one year of access to its paid package.
Interview Kickstart, on the other hand, allows six months of extra support after you finish the two-month-long program.
Tech interview prep platforms, like many others, are often expected to come with extra features that enable you to squeeze some more value from your dollars.
Thankfully, Algoexpert and Interview Kickstart come with more than just basic training.
Let’s do a count here and see which one wins out.
Interview behavioral tips
All of Algoexpert’s bonuses
Career skills development
Interview Kickstart vs. AlgoExpert – Pricing
Next up in the contest is how these competing platforms approach the subject of pricing.
We would like to know which of these platforms’ pricing is friendlier on a low budget.
Let Algoexpert lead the way.
You can get Algoexpert for just $29 for one year of access. But you’ll be limited to just data structure and algorithms.
Interview Kickstart, on the other hand, demands a fortune more. Here’s the breakdown.
The trial alone costs $600. After that, the entire course is a pricey $5600. So if you like testing things out for yourself before committing, you know how much you are paying.
It is clear here that Algoexpert is more budget-friendly. Interview Kickstart charges a lot more, but that’s the norm among platforms that give live training that you can attend physically.
Why We Dislike Interview Kickstart 🤬👎
First things first, it’s too expensive. The money you pay for the entire course can pay the fees for most other systems more than five times over, and you will still have some balance to do other things.
Take a look at the paid trial itself. Few platforms charge as high as that to test them out.
Another downside worth pointing out is the category of people that can succeed with IK.
Interview Kickstart’s website is awash with positive reviews from past students.
Yeah, it’s not empty hype, but the truth is, most of those people had at least a few years of experience in their fields.
So if you are a newbie techie who wants to prepare for tech interviews from the ground up, IK might not suit your needs since you will have difficulty catching up.
But that’s not all, though.
Interview Kickstart has mastered the technical side of preparing for tech interviews, but it skimps on the communication side.
Otherwise known as soft skills, the communication aspect grooms you to interact well with your interviewer and colleagues if you get the job.
A sound software engineer, besides being a technical expert, must know how to work well with others since his job is not a solo one.
Last but not least, the length of the support period is a bone of contention.
Anyone who expects a lifetime level of support given the high price tag is in for a disappointment.
After the introductory course training, you can only expect six months of support. It’s not a deal-breaker for everybody, but it’s something to keep in mind.
In summary, everything we dislike about Interview Kickstart boils down to this:
It’s not meant for everybody because it’s too pricey, it picks off at an advanced level, it skimps on soft skills, and it doesn’t grant lifetime access.
Why We Dislike AlgoExpert 🤬👎
You may be able to save up for Algoexpert from your lunch money, but the course has flaws that need some attention.
The most obvious one is how it completely excludes training on system design unless you pay extra for the system design package.
Although the Algoexpert+ system design bundle is much less expensive than even IK’s paid trial, we are not asking too much if we want everything in one package.
Also worth considering is the lack of communication skills training which I discovered plagues most other tech interview platforms.
And finally, there is the matter of the support period. Algoexpert beats IK by offering six months extra of access and support, but it’s still a paltry substitute for lifetime access.
To summarize this section, Algoexpert misses out on system design, leaves out communication skills, and grants only one year of access to the paid course.
Any Better Alternative to Both Courses?
Short answer, yes. Long answer? Read on.
Tech Interview Pro is our flagship tech interview prep course which we recommend.
You might have read my previous tech interview prep course reviews where I chip in some information about Tech Interview Pro.
If not, I will go over some tidbits here. The course is owned by Patrick Shyu, otherwise known as Techlead.
He is a Silicon Valley native and has amassed a wealth of experience from working with various tech companies from junior level to senior ones.
He has even worked as part of the recruiting team and has interviewed hundreds of tech candidates.
All of that puts him in a good position to tell us what interviewers really want to see in their favorite candidates.
Tech Interview Pro is the ultimate course that promises to prepare you for tech interviews once and for all.
How is it better than Algoexpert (AE) and Interview Kickstart?
In more ways than one.
First, it covers all aspects a tech interview candidate should know well. For instance, it covers systems design and the soft skills part adequately. IK misses out on the latter while AE has no answer to both of them.
Additionally, it strikes the right balance to pricing. At $997 or $597 for a limited time, you are getting all the premium benefits and resources for a lifetime!
There is no doubt that Tech Interview Pro offers the best pricing for the value proposition.
I’m sure this review has gone the extra mile to address any questions you might have about which is better between AE and IK.
It’s not very easy to crown one of them as the winner. You have to decide based on your situation right now.
Are you a newbie in software engineering and only have so much to invest into a tech interview prep course?
Then AE is most likely for you.
On the other hand, if you have a few years of experience in your tech domain and have a lot of bucks to spare, then IK is not a bad choice.
But no matter your situation, you can experience the best price and value if you set aside a few hundred bucks and purchase Tech Interview Pro.
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