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

A review of Codewars as a software engineer interview prep tool – 2023 update

Updated in 2023

What does Codewars do?

Codewars is a community-created online platform to practice code challenges, which they call “kata”. The term refers to “a system of individual training exercises for practitioners of karate and other martial arts”. Users write kata to teach various techniques. Then, community members solve kata with solutions that enlighten others. In addition, they often leave constructive feedback on the challenge. The leaders moderate the content and community to ensure it is accurate and safe.

Challenges are in 29 different languages and 26 more are currently in beta. Users can solve the problems directly in their browsers. In addition, kata are ranked by difficulty level. As users complete harder kata, they progress through the ranks. There is also an opportunity to compare solutions with others and discuss optimal solutions or ask questions to the community. Finally, users can create their own kata based on their interests and experience levels. Then, the community members can solve and give feedback.

Who is Codewars for?

There are 2 audiences for Codewars. Software engineers who have a strong interest in specific languages and some experience will find that the kata on Codewars help them advance their skills and learn new ways to optimize their solutions. The community is strong, so they can find smart people to discuss their issues and make changes to their code.

The second audience is companies who are looking to assess software engineering candidates in pair programming sessions. Codewars is connected to Hiring managers use this platform for coding assignments and live coding sessions.  

What does Codewars cost? How much work is involved?

Users who want to join the Codewars community have to “prove their skills” by solving a challenge in the language of their choice. Once they do that, they can start solving and creating kata, increasing their rank and honor.

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Ratings and reviews

Users in the Codewars community seem to enjoy the challenges, ranking system, and opportunities to gain honor. Reviewers explain that one of their biggest positives is the ability to compare your solution to others. You can also see more optimal solutions from experts in the space. Reviews from beginners report that they started out frustrated but learned quickly and advanced their skills.

On the other hand, some reviewers talk about the difficulties that come with community-created problems. For example, problems might be incorrectly coded, solutions marked incorrect, or the challenges will be ranked inconsistently. While moderators review the challenges before releasing them, it is not the same as a platform like Leetcode, where everything is pre-tested.

Alternatives to Codewars

There are other websites that compile software engineering questions, similar to Codewars, but not written by community members.

  • Created by a former Google software engineer, Interview Cake is a study tool that teaches people the right way to think about technical questions so they do well in interviews. Read more about Interview Cake in our review.
  • Another good option is AlgoExpert. This platform has software engineering interview questions on a variety of topics. It also includes an in-browser code editor.
  • Similarly, Codebasil features questions written by software engineers at top tech companies like Facebook, Apple, and Amazon.
  • Leetcode is another well known alternative. Their questions are geared towards the work one might see in a software engineering job. They are often better practice for technical interviews.
  • Similarly, people use HackerRank to prepare for technical interviews because it is often the platform that companies use to test their candidates.
  • Those looking to participate in mock interviews with software engineers at top tech companies should check out Learn more about in our review.
  • Pramp, Tech Mock Interview, and Gainlo are other resources for software engineers looking for mock interview prep with their peers or anonymous engineers.
  • Codesignal is another platform that employers use to assess candidates. They also offer practice technical questions and the opportunity for users to connect with hiring managers by applying to jobs through the challenges.
More alternatives to Codewars
  • If you are looking for technical questions directly in your email, Daily Coding Problem is a newsletter that sends 1 problem a day and the solutions for those who subscribe.
  • For people looking to prep with real world problems, CodeKata provides challenges that mimic requests from real tech companies.
  • You can also check out CodeChef and Edabit for free online communities and tools to practice software engineering technical questions.
  • Software engineers can use the tracks offered by Educative and to brush up on skills or practice for specific-language interviews.
  • Coderbyte offer a mix of free and paid resources and challenges for software engineers looking to practice their skills. Read more about Coderbyte in our review.
  • With exercises in Python and JavaScript for beginners and advanced engineers, CheckiO is a good free resource to check out.
  • Similarly, Quastor sends out a daily newsletter with software engineering interview questions. They also have a free online course.

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 Codewars compare to Pathrise?

Codewars is a good tool for software engineers of all levels to use to advance their language skills, interact with other software engineers, and discuss solutions. Beginner engineers need some experience in the language in order to join the program. 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 there is a good opportunity for people to use Codewars in conjunction with Pathrise, as Codewars can help with technical advancement and Pathrise 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 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 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. 

Apply today.

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Brian Wong

Brian Wong is an experienced senior software engineer and has worked at top bay area startups and organizations. In his free time, Brian works with Pathrise SWE fellows to help them land their dream job and learn insider tips on how to ace technical interviews.

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