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

A review of freeCodeCamp as a software engineer interview 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 freeCodeCamp do?

The mission of freeCodeCamp is to help people learn to code for free. They are a registered nonprofit, offering certifications in responsive web design, JavaScript algorithms and data structures, front end libraries, data visualization, APIs and microservices, and information security and QA. Users participate in 300 hours for each certification, which is only completed if they finish the 5 final projects. freeCodeCamp also offers technical interview challenges to prepare for coding interviews and a forum where community members can discuss issues they are having with their challenges.

Who is freeCodeCamp for?

People who are interested in learning the basics of software engineering 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 program. 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. As a nonprofit, they do give users and alumni the option of donating to their education initiatives and to help pay for their servers, services, and staff. 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, referring to freeCodeCamp as a “one stop shop to landing a job.” Most people disagree, explaining that there are a lot of benefits to the program (it is free, there is a lot of information, and the projects/certificates help show experience), but it is not enough for someone to do by itself and get a software engineering job. 

Alternatives to freeCodeCamp

For people who are looking to start learning to code from scratch, Udacity is a good option. Their courses are paid, but most of the introduction courses can be accessed for free. Similarly, Springboard is a good, though also paid, alternative to freeCodeCamp. They have tracks for people looking to advance their skills or make a career of the topic. 

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. Most people who use Leetcode feel that the questions are geared towards real work and are often better practice for technical interviews. HackerRank is a similar service, in which users can practice questions that might show up on 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, which can help people when they are working on similar problems. 

How does freeCodeCamp compare to Pathrise?

freeCodeCamp is a good tool for people who are looking to learn how to code or looking to practice and continue to advance their skills. The program is the most helpful for those who might be technically weak and would like to add certificates and projects to their resume to increase their experience.

At Pathrise, we are focused on helping our fellows with the entire job search, including 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, which means that there is a good opportunity for intermediate software engineers to use freeCodeCamp in conjunction with Pathrise.

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, fellows in the program have seen 3x as many responses to their applications and their 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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