Photo of Interview Cake as a software engineer technical interview prep tool

A review of Interview Cake 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 Interview Cake do?

Interview Cake is a study tool that preps software engineering candidates for programming interviews. Parker Phinny, the creator of Interview Cake, is a former Google software engineer who tutored his friend for her coding interviews and developed those questions and subsequent sessions into a curriculum to help more software engineers play the interviewing game.

The focus is on understanding the right way to think about and answer the technical questions so that candidates can derive successful answers to questions they have never practiced before. That being said, Interview Cake does include a full breakdown of the solution, a gotcha list, and “what we learned” section for each practice question. The questions are grouped by language, topic, or company they are most likely to be asked in.

Who is Interview Cake for?

Software engineers who are looking to do well in their technical interviews can benefit from Interview Cake. The program began with a bootcamp grad, so those who are more new to software engineering can still do well in the program. Since they are attempting to teach a new way of thinking about these types of questions, seasoned software engineers and beginners should both feel like they are learning new things.

What does Interview Cake cost? How much work is involved?

There are 3 levels of Interview Cake courses. The first is optimized crunch time prep and gives the user 3 weeks of access for $149. The second is their most commonly purchased, which is the full course. It gives users 3 months of access and it costs $249. The third option is currently sold out and it is a pretty big jump from the other prices. It is the full access to the course along with 4 one-hour 1-on-1 sessions and it costs $4,900. They also offer a full refund if you don’t get a job. 

Ratings and reviews

A lot of the reviews online are affiliates of Interview Cake (which means paid partners advertising Interview Cake), so they are usually fairly positive. Those who are not connected to Interview Cake still provide positive opinions on the quality of the questions. They also complimented the variety, style, and depth of the solutions and the tips/tricks that Interview Cake provides for each type of problem.

Those who have used the program did mention that it is beneficial to have a background in data structures and algorithms before spending money on the program, which is not highlighted on the website. Most software engineers preparing for their technical interviews need to have background on these topics, so this feedback is not surprising.

Alternatives to Interview Cake

There are other websites that compile software engineering questions, similar to Interview Cake. Leetcode is probably the most well known. Most people who use Leetcode feel that the questions are more geared towards real work and are often better practice for technical interviews. They also mentioned that Interview Cake only has 50 questions, versus Leetcode, which has thousands.

HackerRank is another common alternative. People say that the UI is nicer on HackerRank but the questions and content are sometimes less helpful than Leetcode and Interview Cake. Codewars is a user-generated alternative, where all of the challenges are written by the community and CodinGame makes coding challenges more fun by gamifying them.

How does Interview Cake compare to Pathrise?

Interview Cake is a good tool for software engineers of all skill levels to use in preparation for their technical interviews. The emphasis on deriving solutions and thinking the right way about software engineering problems can make the program extremely helpful leading up to these challenges and interviews.. 

At Pathrise, we are focused on helping our fellows with the entire job search. Part of that is mastering the technical interview and so we recommend that software engineers in our program practice these types of questions as much as possible so they can go into their interviews with confidence.

This means there is a good opportunity for people to use Interview Cake and Pathrise together, as Interview Cake 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 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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