diagram of a distributed file storage system with text that says Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview vs SystemsExpert a side by side comparison

Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview vs. SystemsExpert [Pass the FAANG System Design Interview]

Today we’re looking at the course Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview, a FAANG interview prep course on Educative.io.

We’re also comparing this course to SystemsExpert, another popular prep tool for system design interviews.

🧠 Did you know? According to Techopedia, system design came about before World War II because engineers were attempting to solve complex problems involving communications.

What is system design?

System design is the process of satisfying specific requirements for a system by defining:

✅ product design

✅ architecture

✅ interfaces

✅ modules

✅ data

Simply put, it’s systems theory applied to product development.

System design takes a systematic, bottom-up or top-down approach to the design of a system.

There is an overlap with system analysis, system engineering and system architecture.

System design interviews aren’t easy.

Now more than ever, you’re faced with the seemingly impossible:

System design interviews can feel a little overwhelming (Image courtesy of Medium)

Interviewers want you to solve challenging problems in record time and without error.

It seems like a daunting task, but the truth is:

It’s not impossible.

With the help of a course and plenty of practice, you can do it.

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TLDR: Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview

✨ In this FAANG interview prep course on Educative.io, you’ll learn core system design skills that will likely help you in your professional career.

💥 This is a follow up to their smash course Grokking the System Design Interview.

🌟 You’ll learn about 20 system design patterns commonly found at FAANG interviews.

🤩 These patterns cater to common design problems related to distributed systems such as:

📌 messaging systems
📌 locking services
📌 file storage systems

➡️ Sign up for Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview ⬅️

Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview: At a Glance

Pros

  • Advanced system design questions asked at FAANG interviews
  • Illustrations
  • Quizzes
  • Mock interview questions

Cons

  • No video explanations
  • No workspace

Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview

💰 Cost: $79 per year for the course/$59 per month or $199 per year for all courses and Learning Paths
⏲️ Duration:
5.5 hours
🖥️ Format: Read-Only
💪 Support:
Yes
🎖️ Certificate:
Yes

System design questions have increasingly become part and parcel of software engineering interviews at FAANGs.

Learning environment in the course Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview on Educative.io

If you’re properly prepared for these FAANG interviews, you can show off your design skills and demonstrate how they work with complex systems.

In this course, you’ll find an architectural review of common distributed systems.

Chubby library in Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview on Educative.io

One of the main objectives is to extract crucial design details relevant to the system design interview.

In addition, you’ll find a list of system design patterns for different distributed systems.

Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview: Course Layout

The course is divided into two parts: system design case studies and system design patterns.

Bloom Filter system design pattern

Let’s take a closer look.

Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview Part 1: System Design Case Studies

In the first section of this course, you’ll explore the architecture of a set of distributed systems:

Dynamo: How to Design a Key-Value Store
Cassandra: How to Design a Wide-column NoSQL Database
Kafka: How to Design a Distributed Messaging System
Chubby: How to Design a Distributed Locking Service
GFS: How to Design a Distributed File Storage System
HDFS: How to Design a Distributed File Storage System
BigTable: How to Design a Wide-column Storage System

Let’s take Dynamo as an example.

Dynamo was developed by Amazon for internal use. It provides a flexible design which allows applications to choose their consistency and availability level.

Dynamo design pattern introduction in Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview

The goal for this FAANG system design interview problem is to design a distributed key-value store that is:

✅ reliable

✅ consistent

✅ decentralized

✅ highly scalable

First you’ll learn about Dynamo’s architecture.

Then you’ll dive into concepts like data partitioning and replication:

Data partitioning

Following that, you’ll look at:

vector clocks

✅ put() & get() operations

Merkle trees

gossip protocol

And beyond.

You’ll follow these lessons with a quiz.

Finally, you’ll find mock interview questions which mimic some questions you may be asked at actual FAANG interviews:

Mock interview question example

Once you’ve mastered the Dynamo system design problem, you can move onto the next.

Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview Part 2: System Design Patterns

System design patterns are used for common design problems that are related to distributed systems.

It would behoove you to familiarize yourself with these patterns because you can apply them to all types of distributed systems… especially during the FAANG system design interview.

Consistent Hashing

Here are the 20 system design patterns you’ll be looking at:

Bloom FiltersConsistent HashingQuorum
Leader and FollowerWrite-Ahead LogSegmented Log
High-Water MarkLeaseHeartbeat
Gossip ProtocolPhi Accrual Failure DetectionSplit-Brain
FencingChecksumVector Clocks
CAP TheoremPACELEC TheoremHinted Handoff
Read RepairMerkle Trees

Each system design pattern is broken down into sections.

Let’s take the Consistent Hashing pattern as an example:

Consistent Hashing system design pattern

First you’ll explore the background of Consistent Hashing and its usage.

Second, you’ll learn the definition of Consistent Hashing.

Third, you’ll find the solution to the pattern.

Fourth, you’ll discover examples of system design case studies that use Consistent Hashing.

Background of Consistent Hashing

You’ll find the same layout for every system design pattern in the course.

What’s next after System Design Case Studies and System Design Patterns?

After Parts 1 and 2 of the course, you’ll find two assessments.

Quiz question

In both assessments, you’ll demonstrate knowledge of different systems you have learned throughout the course.

So is Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview worth it?

Yes, we certainly think so.

You’ll find a well-rounded look into system design case studies alongside some of the most common system design patterns found at FAANG interviews.

But let’s see how it stacks up against another popular system design interview course: SystemsExpert.


Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview vs SystemsExpert

💰 SystemsExpert Cost: $99
⏲️ Duration:
Multiple hours (Exact runtime unknown)
🖥️ Format:
Interactive learning and video
💪 Support:
Yes
🎖️ Certificate:
Yes

Type of learningLevelDurationCost
Grokking the Advanced System Design InterviewRead-OnlyAdvanced5.5 hours$79 for course
SystemsExpertVideo and InteractiveAdvancedUnknown hours$99 for course

SystemsExpert is an interactive course on the AlgoExpert platform created by Clement Mihailescu.

4-pane integrated workspace with top left prompt, top right scratchpad, bottom left video solution, bottom right solution walkthrough
Student workspace on SystemsExpert

SystemsExpert Course Details

You’ll start by learning the fundamentals of system design.

So unlike Grokking, SystemsExpert may be more useful for less experienced engineers.

It contains 13 system design questions curated for FAANG interviews, compared to Grokking’s 20 questions.

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

Some of the questions include challenges to design:

✅ AlgoExpert

✅ Google Drive

✅ The Reddit API

✅ Facebook News Feed

And more.

In addition to the instructions, you’ll find clarifying questions and solution walkthroughs.

There are two things SystemsExpert has that Grokking doesn’t have: video explanations and a scratchpad for taking notes:

video solution depicting handwriting of mapping out systems design of video, video content and video storage
Video explanation in SystemsExpert

Learn more about SystemsExpert with our full SystemsExpert review.

Similar to Grokking, you’ll find a system design quiz testing your understanding of technologies and concepts.

In all, I think there are more bells and whistles on SystemsExpert.

But the real meat of system design case studies and system design patterns lies within Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview.

Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview vs SystemsExpert: Conclusion

Today we looked at Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview and SystemsExpert.

But which one reigns supreme?

If you’re looking for an intensive read into what to expect at FAANG interviews, then we think Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview is the way to go.

In addition to learning system design case studies, you’ll find 20 system design patterns.

There are also mock coding interview questions you can use to prepare for FAANG interviews.

However, if you prefer an interactive learning environment coupled with videos, you may enjoy SystemsExpert.


Readers of Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview are also reading:


  1. Is Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview worth it?

    Yes, we think the course Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview on Educative.io is worth it. The course is divided into two parts. First, you'll examine system design case studies. Then, you'll discover 20 system design patterns you can use for your FAANG interview. Learn more about Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview in today's post.

  2. Do software engineers need to know system design questions?

    Yes, software engineers need to know system design questions. It can seem like a daunting task because of the fact that often times, software engineers only work on part of a problem, not a complete one. But with the right instruction, software engineers can learn how to navigate system design questions with confidence. In today's article, we're looking at Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview, a course on Educative.io meant to help you prepare for the system design interview.

  3. Are system design interviews easy?

    No, system design interviews are not easy. They're known to be challenging, especially because developers typically work on parts of problems, not problems in their entirety. Courses are considered by many to be a great way to learn how to navigate system design questions. In today's post, we're looking at the course Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview on Educative.io meant to help you successfully navigate system design interviews.

  4. What is the best advanced system design course?

    In our opinion, the best advanced system design course is Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview on Educative.io. It's divided into two crucial sections: system design case studies and system design patterns and is meant to help you pass system design interviews. Learn more about Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview in today's article.

  5. Where can I learn about advanced system design?

    Courses and books can be some of the best places to learn about advanced system design. In our opinion, one of the best advanced system design courses is Grokking the Advanced System Design Interview by Educative.io. You'll learn about system design case studies alongside system design patterns. Discover more about this advanced system design course in today's post.