A photo of a review of Interview Kickstart as a software engineer interview prep tool

A review of Interview Kickstart 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 Kickstart do?

Interview Kickstart is a software engineering interview prep bootcamp. They work with people who have extensive experience so that they can be more successful in their technical interviews. They mainly focus on helping software engineers get into the interview mindset, with the understanding that these assessments are generally different than the coding that they will do on the job. A lot of their students have had years of experience already in the field and are looking for engineering manager positions.

The course, which includes lectures, assignments, and coaching sessions, lasts 8 weeks and then includes an additional 6 month support period. Access to the materials is removed for students at the end of the 6 months. The program is described as “rigorous” on their website and students are expected to commit a few hours a day to Interview Kickstart. Classes can be onsite in Santa Clara or remote.

Who is Interview Kickstart for?

A lot of the Interview Kickstart students have had years of experience already in the field of software engineering and are looking for manager positions. At the very least, students are required to have a good base knowledge of data structures and algorithms as well as similar core software engineering concepts. For beginners, or software engineers with less experience, Interview Kickstart might not be the best program.

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

On their website, they explain that Interview Kickstart is “not cheap”. Prices range depending on the types of services, starting around $5200 and ending up around $7200. There is a pre-enrollment webinar that must be attended as well as an introductory phone call, which acts as an assessment of the student to decide whether or not they have the required background. Students are also required to pay a $500 deposit before joining the program, then they have 1 week of courses before they are required to pay the tuition (the deposit is not part of the tuition).

Ratings and reviews

Like most of these online programs, there are a fair number of mixed reviews online for Interview Kickstart. The most recent review, from July 2019, describes a fairly negative experience with IK. He ended up having to pay the deposit twice alongside his tuition. When he finally started the program, he found that the videos were not great quality, the classes ranged based on who was teaching, the platform for the practice problems was not conducive for learning, and the coaching was misleading.

Since Interview Kickstart advertises 1-on-1 coaching, this is where the reviewer was the most disappointed. These sessions were full of students and the “coaches” went through questions that the students asked on a Google spreadsheet beforehand. In addition, he found that their career resources were disorganized and negotiation sessions could only occur if asked and sometimes up to a week from the date, which was too late.

In other reviews online, some people have found the program helpful and some have not. It does seem to depend greatly on the work the student puts in, but it also seems to cater more to students who have a lot of experience already. In addition, a reviewer noted that their refund offered, which is half of the tuition returned if the student does not get a better job in 6 months, does not actually occur.

Alternatives to Interview Kickstart

For software engineers interested in practicing for their technical interviews, Interviewing.io is a good option because they can do mock interviews real engineers and get feedback as well as start to feel more comfortable with interviewing. Pramp gives users the opportunity to act as the interviewer and interviewee, which helps them understand what to do and avoid for successful interviews.

Leetcode is another alternative, probably the most well known source of software engineer technical interview questions, but they do not provide interview training. HackerRank is another common alternative with software engineering technical interview questions.

Interview Cake is another alternative that software engineers can use as a study tool to practice technical questions. 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 Kickstart compare to Pathrise?

Interview Kickstart teaches experienced software engineers how to think about technical interview questions so that they are more successful in their interviews. They require a deposit and upfront tuition as well as focus more on lecture-style courses and less on 1-on-1 personalized support.

Pathrise is a full service organization, working with candidates through all stages of the job search to enhance their soft skills and develop strategies that can help them in the future. We spend a lot of time working with our software engineers on their technical interview preparation, through workshops, pair programming, and personalized, 1-on-1 sessions with their advisor, a former senior software engineer.

We also work with candidates through their entire pipeline. We work with them to optimize their resumes and online profiles, find the best possible opportunities, prepare and practice for behavioral and technical interviews, and negotiate to ensure they end up with compensation that is above industry average. Our program is extremely flexible and fellows can schedule sessions ad hoc with their advisors whenever they need help, including last-minute.

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 receive 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 any aspect of your job search, become a Pathrise fellow.

Apply today.

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