11 best FAANG interview prep resources in 2020 purple and blue text

11 FAANG Interview Prep Resources You Can’t Afford To Miss Out On

A FAANG interview is arguably one of the most nerve-wracking experiences a software engineer can go through. The outcome of the interview could literally make a 6-figure difference.

But if you don’t have the right resources, you could tank the interview.

You’re going to be competing with some of the best minds out there, so you want to make sure you have every advantage possible.

“How do I know what FAANG interview prep resources to use?”

Great question. We put together this must-use list of the top 11 FAANG interview prep materials:

Courses & Coding Platforms:

  • AlgoExpert
  • SystemsExpert
  • Grokking the Coding Interview
  • Grokking the System Design Interview
  • Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview
  • LeetCode
  • Interview Cake
  • HackerRank
  • Codewars

Book: Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Video: “How to Get a Job at Google – Amazon – Facebook – or Microsoft” lecture by John Marty at USC.

So let’s take a closer look at ’em.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.

At a Glance

Text or
Video-Based
Number of
Programming
Languages
Coding
Problems
CertificateCost
AlgoExpertVideo9100$99/year
SystemsExpertVideoN/A8$60/year
Grokking the Coding
Interview
Text438$249/year
Grokking the System Design
Interview
TextN/A15$249/year
Coderust:
Hacking the Coding
Interview
Text580+$249/year
LeetCodeText71000+$159/year
Interview CakeText1150$249/year
HackerRankText45+???Free
CodewarsText50+3000+$48/year

Now, let’s look in a little closer detail…

1. ✨ AlgoExpert

AlgoExpert is one of the best platforms for FAANG interview prep. Designed to help software engineers ace the technical interview, it extensively covers algorithms and data structures with video-based modules.

AlgoExpert is one of the best resources for interview preparation as far coding goes, especially if your goal is to land a job in big tech companies like Google.

Jordan Bishop, technical interviewer

Plus, they update content regularly.

Learning Environment

AlgoExpert’s 4-pane integrated workspace allows you to:

  • read the prompt
  • watch the video
  • input and test your solutions

All in one coding environment.

And it’s a factory of bells and whistles:

✔️ adjustable panes ✔️ multiple syntax highlighting options

✔️dark mode ✔️ editor selector

And much, much more.

4-pane integrated workstation environment in AlgoExpert
Student learning environment on AlgoExpert featuring Two Number Sum

Programming Languages

AlgoExpert enables you to code in 9 programming languages:

JavaScriptTypeScriptPython
SwiftKotlinGo
C++C#Java

And solutions are presented in Python because it’s an easy language to read.

Coding Problems

There are currently 100 coding problems available on AlgoExpert. Difficulty levels include easy, medium, hard, very hard, and extremely hard.

For example:

  • Easy – Validate Subsequence
  • Medium – Spiral Traverse
  • Hard – Water Area
  • Very Hard – Flatten Binary Tree
  • Extremely Hard – Square of Zeroes
Square of zeroes problem mapped out in AlgoExpert review
Square of Zeroes video explanation on AlgoExpert

Certificate

AlgoExpert does offer a certificate of completion.

Extras

The AlgoExpert platform contains hours of additional educational goodies:

✅ Data structures crash course ✅ Experience-backed interview tips

✅ Behavior interview prep ✅ Coding interview tests

💰 Cost

You can get AlgoExpert for about $99 annually.

Or you can get the AlgoExpert and SystemsExpert bundle for about $139 annually.

Use AlgoExpert promo code realtoughcandy and get 10% off AlgoExpert, SystemsExpert or the bundle. Check out AlgoExpert here.

💡Want to know more about AlgoExpert? Check out our full review.

2. ✨ SystemsExpert

SystemsExpert is another course on the AlgoExpert platform created to help software engineers ace the systems design portion of a FAANG interview.

I have to stress this…This is for a very specific subset of software engineers and software developers who are looking for FAANG jobs.

RTC

Learning Environment

Similar to AlgoExpert, SystemsExpert has a unique 4-pane integrated workspace. Here you can:

  • read the prompts
  • watch the mock interview scenarios
  • use the scratchpad to take notes
  • read the solution walkthroughs
4-pane integrated workspace with top left prompt, top right scratchpad, bottom left video solution, bottom right solution walkthrough
Student learning environment on SystemsExpert featuring Design AlgoExpert prompt

Problems

There are currently 10 problems jam-packed with information, scenarios and walkthroughs.

And remember, one systems design question is going to take you an hour or so to sufficiently answer.

MapReduce hand-drawn data of map to data to k/v pairs, to reduce step to output
Video explanation of MapReduce in SystemsExpert

Certificate

SystemsExpert does offer a certificate of completion.

New in October 2020!
SystemsExpert now has a 50-question quiz and a systems design certificate.

💰 Cost

You can get SystemsExpert for about $79 annually.

Or you can get the SystemsExpert and AlgoExpert bundle for about $139 annually.

Use SystemsExpert promo code realtoughcandy and get 10% off SystemsExpert, AlgoExpert or the bundle. Check out SystemsExpert here.

💡Want to know more about SystemsExpert? Check out our full review.

Educative

The following three courses are available on Educative.io, a robust learning platform for developers.

And while there are no videos, there are ample interactive coding environments, snippets, playgrounds and media-rich examples to keep you engaged while learning.

Grokking the Coding Interview

Grokking the Coding Interview is one of the best courses for FAANG interview prep.

It contains 16 patterns for coding questions. The idea is that once you’re familiar with a pattern you’ll be able to solve dozens of similar problems.

When our team sat together to brainstorm on ideas to make the interview process easier for candidates, we realized quickly that one skill helped us the most when we were preparing for coding interviews: “the ability to map a new problem to an already known problem.”

– Design Gurus, one creator of Grokking the Coding Interview

Learning Environment

Grokking the Coding Interview has a standard learning environment, but don’t be fooled. As you move through the course, the code snippets, playgrounds and diagrams constantly reinforce concepts.

Learning environment in Grokking the Coding Interview featuring Smallest Subarray lesson

Programming Languages

Solutions are supported in 4 programming languages:

✅ Java ✅ Python ✅ JavaScript ✅ C++

Coding Problems

Grokking the Coding Interview covers 16 patterns such as:

  • Sliding Window
  • Merge Intervals
  • Cyclic Sort
  • Two Heaps
  • Subsets
  • Topological Sort

And more.

In addition, each lesson contains code snippets and playgrounds for you to test your knowledge.

From there, there are multiple problems to solve.

Anagrams problem in Grokking the Coding Interview with a solution in Java

Certificate

Grokking the Coding Interview does not offer a certificate of completion.

💰 Cost

You can purchase the Grokking the Coding Interview course for about $80.

Or you can get a subscription to all 160+ courses and learning tracks on Educative.io for about $249 annually.

You can check out Grokking the Coding Interview here.

💡Want to know more about Grokking the Coding Interview? Check out our full review.

4. ✨ Grokking the System Design Interview

Grokking the System Design Interview is a complete guide to system design interviews. Created by hiring managers who have worked at Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon, the course contains a compilation of actual system design questions asked at interviews.

Even engineers [who have] some experience building such systems aren’t comfortable with these interviews, mainly due to the open-ended nature of design problems that don’t have a standard answer.

– Design Gurus on Grokking the System Design Interview

Learning Environment

Similar to Grokking the Coding Interview, Grokking the System Design Interview uses a series of diagrams, snippets and playgrounds as teaching guides.

diagram of web crawler with queue files, URL set, internet, document checksum set and document store
Diagram of web crawler in Grokking the System Design Interview

Certificate

Grokking the System Design Interview does not offer a certificate of completion.

💰 Cost

You can purchase Grokking the System Design Interview for about $80.

Or you can get a subscription to all Educative courses (160+) and learning tracks for about $249 annually.

You can check out Grokking the System Design Interview here.

💡Want to know more? Check out our full review.

5. ✨ Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview

Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview was created by former hiring managers of FAANG-level companies. The course contains over 80 problems with step-by-step visualizations.

Learning Environment

Just like Grokking the Coding Interview and Grokking the System Design Interview, Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview uses a blend of code snippets, diagrams and playgrounds to reinforce key concepts.

Coderust Quicksort challenge with multiple language support screenshot
Sample quickSort problem on Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview

Programming Languages

Problem solutions are available in 5 programming languages:

✅ Python ✅ C++ ✅ Java ✅ JavaScript ✅ Ruby

Coding Problems

There are 80+ problems and solutions with step-by-step explanations in this course.

Certificate

Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview does not offer a certificate of completion.

💰 Cost

You can purchase Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview for about $40.

Or you can get a subscription to all 160+ Educative courses and learning tracks for about $249 annually.

You can check out Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview here.

💡Want to know more about Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview? Check out our full review.

6. 📚 BOOK BREAK: Cracking the Coding Interview

If you’re looking for the Holy Grail of FAANG interview prep, look no further.

Cracking the Coding Interview book laying on dry cracked earth
Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Cracking the Coding Interview has almost 700 pages of pure coding interview preparation gold:

  • 189 programming questions based on algorithms, coding, and design
  • Hints and walkthrough for each solution
  • Strategies to tackle various algorithm questions
  • Huge section covering Big O notation, data structures and core algorithms
  • Insider look at how Google & Facebook hire developers
  • Techniques to ace soft skills at interviews with behavioral questions

And much, much more.

🚨 Important: Most coding interview questions in this book are written in Java. So if you don’t know Java, Cracking the Coding Interview probably isn’t going to be useful.

You can get Cracking the Coding Interview for about $25 here.

💡Want to know more about Cracking the Coding Interview? Check out our full review.

7. ✨ LeetCode

LeetCode has multiple collections of coding problems ranging from easy to hard. You won’t find any courses here, though there is a thriving community, over a thousand coding questions and various competitions.

And while we don’t recommend LeetCode as a lone source for FAANG interview prep, it can be useful in conjunction with other platforms.

Learning Environment

Coding problems on Leetcode are presented in a standard, no-frills coding environment.

student coding environment on LeetCode with black and blue syntax and white background
Typical learning environment on LeetCode showcasing singly-linked list

Programming Languages

There are currently 16 languages supported on LeetCode:

C++CC#PHP
Python3JavaPythonScala
JavaScriptTypeScriptKotlinRuby
SwiftGoRustBash

Coding Problems

There are over 1400 coding problems on LeetCode.

But because many problems (and answers) are user submitted, so the quality and consistency is not guaranteed.

List of 16 coding problems on LeetCode with their number, title, solution, acceptance percentage and difficulty level
Example of problems available on LeetCode

Certificate

LeetCode does not offer a certificate of completion.

💰 Cost

LeetCode does have a free tier, but you can get a Premium subscription for about $159 per year.

This gives you access to upgraded help, more questions, autocomplete in the code editor, debugger and more.

You can check out LeetCode here.

8. ✨ Interview Cake

Interview Cake is a course geared towards helping software engineer candidates with FAANG interview prep.

Their main offering is a 14-module FAANG interview prep course.

In addition, they offer free interview tips, a glossary and weekly practice questions.

All in all, I’d recommend Interview Cake the most to candidates who already have experience and want to brush up on algorithms. If you are someone who’s familiar with technical interviews and working your way through a problem, Interview Cake is great because it explains problems and logical flow well.

James Chang, software engineer

Learning Environment

After reading about a concept with examples, you then work on a problem within their built-in code editor.

Example of Arrays explanation on Interview Cake

Programming Languages

Interview Cake supports 11 languages:

JavaPythonRuby
JavaScriptC++C
SwiftObjective-CPHP
C#SQL

Coding Problems

You can organize interview questions by company:

✅ Google ✅ Facebook ✅ Amazon ✅ Uber ✅ Etc…

Or you can organize interview questions by topic:

✅ Programming Language ✅ Testing and QA

✅ Bit manipulation ✅ Etc…

Certificate

Interview Cake does not offer a certificate of completion.

💰 Cost

Usually an annual subscription to Interview Cake costs $249. However, due to Covid-19, they have a special for $29 for the year.

You can get Interview Cake here.

9. ✨ HackerRank

Similar to LeetCode and Codewars, HackerRank contains plenty of FAANG-level coding problems. However, it’s not a one-stop resource for comprehensive FAANG interview prep.

Learning Environment

After reading a series of instructions, you then execute the challenge in the embedded coding environment.

darkmode coding environment on HackerRank with black background and red, yellow and blue syntax highlighting
Coding environment on HackerRank showcasing MakeAnagram function in PHP

Programming Languages

HackerRank currently supports 45 programming languages.

This includes popular programming languages like JavaScript, C, Python, Java, PHP and Scala. And some less popular programming languages include LOLCODE, Brainf**k and Smalltalk, none of which you’ll need for FAANG interview prep.

Coding Problems

While the total number of coding problems on HackerRank is unclear, we do know there are at least 100 algorithm-related questions.

Certificate

Yes, HackerRank offers a certificate of completion.

💰 Cost

HackerRank is free to programmers.

You can check out HackerRank here.

10. ✨ Codewars

Codewars is set up using Kata (honor) points, where you can level up and compete against others. The platform is gamified. And the more Kata you earn, the higher Kyu (rank) you achieve.

You can skip and choose questions within a difficulty level. And you can jump around difficulty levels, and level up at your own pace.

Learning Environment

The instructions are presented and you code your solution in the embedded code editor. They include sample tests.

Student learning environment on Codewars featuring Skiponacci Sequence problem

Programming Languages

Codewars supports over 50 programming languages.

Coding Problems

Coding questions are organized by collections and tags. These collections range from a couple programming problems to thousands.

Codewars student learning environment with FAANG interview prep coding problems
List of problems on Codewars

Similar to LeetCode, users can contribute to coding problems.

Certificate

Codewars does not have a certificate of completion.

💰 Cost

Codewars is free, but has a Red Tier which costs about $48 annually for:

  • expanded profile stats – streaks and detailed language training
  • real-time test output streaming of code
  • redundant code runs
  • head-to-head comparison with other users
  • faster & more isolated code execution

And a few other features.

You can check out Codewars here.

11. 📺 VIDEO BREAK: How to Get a Job at Google – Amazon – Facebook – or Microsoft

John Marty is a project manager at Amazon that has interviewed at Google and other major tech companies. In this lecture at the University of Southern California, John discusses his journey into the FAANG world.

John Marty presentation on FAANG interview prep giving lecture at University of Southern California with large screen
John Marty talks about his FAANG interview prep recipe for success

He also lays out the 3 strategies for successful FAANG interview prep:

  1. Practical Steps
  2. Outreach
  3. Nailing Interviews

FAANG Interview Prep: Conclusion

Today we showed you some of the best FAANG interview prep materials out there:

Courses & Platforms:

  • AlgoExpert
  • SystemsExpert
  • Grokking the Coding Interview
  • Grokking the System Design Interview
  • Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview
  • LeetCode
  • Interview Cake
  • HackerRank
  • Codewars

Best book: Cracking the Coding Interview by Gayle Laakmann McDowell

Video lecture: “How to Get a Job at Google – Amazon – Facebook – or Microsoft” by John Marty

Now it’s up to you to decide which resources work best for you.

Up Next: SystemsExpert vs Grokking the System Design Interview SHOWDOWN

  1. What are the best FAANG interview prep materials?

    The best FAANG interview prep materials consist of courses, practice problems, books and video lectures. Some of our favorites include the courses AlgoExpert, SystemsExpert, Grokking the Coding Interview, Grokking the System Design Interview, and Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview. In addition, we recommend the book Cracking the Coding Interviw by Gayle Laakmann McDowell. Some other resources included platforms such as LeetCode and HackerRank where you can practice coding problems. And sometimes, video lectures can help drive a point home, like John Marty's presentation “How to Get A Job at Google – Amazon – Facebook – or Microsoft.”

  2. What's the best coding interview course for FAANG interviews?

    Here are a few of the best coding interview courses for FAANG interviews. 1. AlgoExpert – learn data structures and algorithms in this video-based course. 2. SystemsExpert – work through 8 systems design interview questions with guided mock interview videos. 3. Grokking the Coding Interview by Educative is designed to prepare students for FAANG-level interviews. 4. Grokking the System Design Interview by Educative helps you prepare for the system design part of technical interviews. 5. Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview by Educative is another solid course for FAANG interview prep.

  3. What are some places for coding interview practice?

    Here are some great places for coding interview practice: 1. Cracking the Coding Interview, a book by Gayle Laakmann McDowell. It has 189 coding problems for FAANG interview prep. 2. AlgoExpert.io is a video-based platform filled with problems, interview tips and assessments for coding interview practice. 3. SystemsExpert is a systems design course to prepare you for the systems design portion of interviews. 3. Educative has courses like Grokking the Coding Interview, Grokking the System Design Interview and Coderust: Hacking the Coding Interview. Each of these helps you prepare for different aspects of coding interviews. 4. Other resources include platforms containing hundreds of coding interview practice questions like LeetCode, HackerRank and Codewars.