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

A review of freeCodeCamp as a software engineer interview prep tool – 2021 update

Hi, I’m Brian, a former senior software engineer and now software engineering mentor at Pathrise. I have helped hundreds of software engineers land their dream job. Check out my review of freeCodeCamp.

Updated in 2021

What does freeCodeCamp do?

The mission of freeCodeCamp is to help people learn to code for free. They are a registered nonprofit and they offer certifications in a variety of topics. Some of these include responsive web design, JavaScript algorithms and data structures, front end libraries, data visualization, APIs and microservices, information security, and QA. They also offer 3 different Python courses: data analysis, machine learning, and scientific computing.

Users participate in 300 hours of learning for each certification course. In addition, they must finish the 5 final projects in order to earn their certificate. Beyond courses, freeCodeCamp also offers technical interview challenges to prepare for coding interviews. Students can also discuss problems and solutions on their forum.

Photo of freeCodeCamp platform

Who is freeCodeCamp for?

People who are interested in learning the fundamentals of specific software engineering topics are likely to find the most benefit from freeCodeCamp. Though, intermediate software engineers looking to brush up on skills or learn new languages can also make use of the platform. In addition, because freeCodeCamp provides certificates for completion of courses, software engineers who have a technically weak resume would likely find more success after including those certificates and projects.

What does freeCodeCamp cost? How much work is involved?

From its name, you can probably guess that freeCodeCamp is free. Since they are a nonprofit, students can choose to make a donation if they have the funds. In order to gain access to the courses, users make an account by connecting to their email, Facebook, Google account, or GitHub.

Ratings and reviews

Most of the users who have reviewed freeCodeCamp online enjoy the program. But, almost all of them mention that it is better as a supplement to books or additional online courses. Their main reasoning is that it does not do a great job of actually explaining the “why” behind the problems.

Users also felt that some of the comments and general branding they saw online for FCC was misleading. This was especially the case when referring to freeCodeCamp as a “one stop shop to landing a job”. Most people disagree. Instead, they explained that there are a lot of benefits to the program, but it is not enough for someone to get a software engineering job. 

Alternatives to freeCodeCamp

If you choose not to participate in a freeCodeCamp course, there are a number of alternatives to help you learn the fundamentals or prepare for software engineering interviews.

  • 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 is a platform where software engineers can practice questions that cover a variety of interview topics.
  • Similarly, 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.
  • You can check out Udacity and Springboard. These are online educational platforms that students can use to brush up on the basics or advance their current tech skills. Read more about Udacity and Springboard in our reviews.
  • Likewise, Codebasil features questions written by software engineers at top tech companies like Facebook, Apple, and Amazon.
  • Lambda School is also a well known 9-month bootcamp where students can learn fundamentals of web dev and data science. Students can choose to defer payment through an ISA.
  • Those looking to participate in mock interviews with software engineers at top tech companies should check out Interviewing.io. Learn more about Interviewing.io in our review.
  • Pramp and Gainlo are other resources for software engineers looking for mock interview prep with their peers or anonymous engineers.
More alternatives to freeCodeCamp
  • If you are a software engineer with more experience and looking to practice technical questions and advance their skills, Leetcode is probably the most well known service.
  • HackerRank is a similar service, in which users can practice questions that might show up on technical interviews.
  • Software engineers can use the tracks offered by Educative to brush up on skills or practice for specific-language interviews.
  • 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.
  • Similarly, Quastor sends out a daily newsletter with software engineering interview questions. They also have a free online course.
  • Gainlo matches users with software engineers at tech companies to participate in 1-hour long mock technical interviews via Skype and a collaborative coding tool.
  • 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 platforms to practice software engineering technical questions.
  • With exercises in Python and JavaScript for beginners and advanced engineers, CheckiO is a good free resource to check out.

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 freeCodeCamp compare to Pathrise?

freeCodeCamp is a good tool for people who are looking to learn how to code or advance their skills. The program is the most helpful for people who might be technically weak and need a certificate to stand out.

At Pathrise, we are focused on helping our fellows with the entire job search. This includes resume and portfolio optimization, reverse recruiting, cold emails, behavioral and technical interview prep, and negotiation. We recommend that software engineers in the program practice data structures and algorithms as much as possible so they can go into their interviews with confidence. That means that there is a good opportunity for intermediate software engineers to use freeCodeCamp in conjunction with Pathrise.

Pathrise is an online mentorship program that works with students and professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With our tips and guidance, fellows in the program have seen 3x as many responses to their applications and their interview 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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