Photo of a review of Codesignal as a software engineer interview prep tool

A review of CodeSignal as a software engineer technical prep tool

Hi, I’m Brian, a former senior software engineer and now software engineering advisor at Pathrise. I work with hundreds of software engineers to help them land their dream job.

What does CodeSignal do?

CodeSignal provides challenges and assessments in a real-world coding environment. Originally called CodeFights, the program was created to let developers compete against each other in short coding challenges. They began creating company-sponsored “bots”, like UberBot, where users could fight each other with their code while Uber engineers recruited from the group.

Now, CodeSignal is mainly focused on the recruitment side. Users participating in challenges and assessments get scored on their understanding and given information about their strengths and weaknesses. This is what goes into their Predictive Coding Score, which is kind of like a credit score. The site also gives users the opportunity to apply directly to jobs directly by way of their Certified Assessments, which are technical challenges that users can attach to their applications to help differentiate themselves from the competition.

Uber, Evernote, and Affinity are some of the companies that use CodeSignal as an assessment tool for technical challenges and interviews.

Who is CodeSignal for?

Software engineers who want to keep their technical skills sharp in a variety of languages and programs can benefit from the CodeSignal study section, where they have 1,000+ different coding tasks that range in difficulty, topic, and theme. Those who are looking to take Certified Assessments and use them for their applications can use CodeSignal to give themselves an added boost against their peers. Software engineers with little to no experience would not do well on CodeSignal as most of the challenges require background knowledge of the language or program and they do not offer tutorials or instructions. 

Companies who are looking to assess software engineering candidates in technical challenges and pair programming sessions also use CodeSignal. They see the candidate’s Coder Score (a breakdown of subject-specific capabilities of each candidate) and any certified assessments they might have. Once they invite the candidate to a challenge or technical interview, they see a plagiarism checker, live coding window, and recording of the session.

What does CodeSignal cost? How much work is involved?

For users, CodeSignal is free. They just need to create an account via email, Facebook, Google, GitHub, or Twitter and set up a profile. CodeSignal makes money from the companies that are connected to the platform, who pay for access to the users.

Ratings and reviews

Software engineers with experience who are looking to keep their skills sharp enjoy the problems on CodeSignal. Specifically, they have learned how to write the shortest, and usually most optimized, solution, skim code, recall code, and type quickly. 

Some users were frustrated by the lack of tutorials and basic instruction that most of the other similar sites, like HackerRank, include with their problems. There are also comments that the questions can get redundant, which means the program can get a bit boring. The general feedback is that CodeSignal is good for practicing problems and having fun while coding, but it is not helpful for learning new languages or skills.

Alternatives to CodeSignal

For software engineers who are attracted to CodeSignal because it is a platform that specific companies use for their own assessments, they might want to check out HackerRank, which is the leading technical assessment tool for companies.

People at all skill levels who are interested in practicing technical questions to learn new languages or advance their current knowledge might prefer Leetcode because their questions are geared towards the work one might see in a software engineering job and are often better practice for technical interviews. 

Coderbyte is a platform that has over 300 questions, but requires the user to pay a membership fee. Becoming a member gives access to step-by-step solution guides. CodinGame is a free gamified platform that software engineers can use to keep their skills sharp while having fun, which is similar to Codewars, a community-built gamified platform.

How does CodeSignal compare to Pathrise?

CodeSignal is a good tool for intermediate and advanced software engineers who are looking to keep their skills sharp and make connections with hiring managers at some tech companies. Continuing to advance technical skills is an important part of a software engineer’s job search.

At Pathrise, we are focused on helping our fellows with the entire job search. We recommend that software engineers practice problems, especially in data structures and algorithms, in preparation for technical interviews so they can go into their interviews with confidence. This means that people can use CodeSignal to keep their skills up-to-date alongside Pathrise, which can help with everything else needed to find the best possible job for a software engineer.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and young 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 any of our advisors 1-on-1 to get help with your software engineer interviews or with any other aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow. 

Apply today.

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