SystemsExpert vs Grokking the System Design Interview light text on dark background with hand sketches of Storage

SystemsExpert vs Grokking the System Design Interview SHOWDOWN

SystemsExpert vs Grokking the System Design Interview… Which prep course is better?

FAANG coding interviews are hard enough. But now more than ever, systems design questions are becoming a standard part of their interview process.

Companies like Google and Facebook are unforgiving. They want you to prove your knowledge of complex, large-scale systems that are maintainable and reliable.

Interviewer: Design Netflix.

Interviewee: Oh… Um… okay. Let me just get organized here.

How do you even begin to tackle that?

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🍬 Unwrapped 🍬 in 30 seconds (TLDR)

So which is the better systems design course – SystemsExpert or Grokking the System Design Interview?

Well, we recommend taking them both.

➑️ Grokking the System Design Interview is text-based. And it has more resources available for systems design basics. So you can start with the fundamentals and build a strong foundation.

There are plenty of interview questions, but the absence of a mock interview scenario may leave you wanting more.

And that can lead you towards being prepared for SystemsExpert.

➑️ SystemsExpert is video-based. Because of this, it moves at a faster pace than Grokking the System Design Interview. It provides a refresher of key terms and concepts, but the meat is in the detailed systems design interview questions.

So you can be confident with the foundation you built from Grokking the System Design Interview. And you can apply that to the SystemsExpert systems design questions.

SystemsExpert vs Grokking the System Design Interview: Comparison

Both courses were created by people that have worked at various FAANG-level companies.

SystemsExpert is a video-based, highly-interactive course. It was created by ClΓ©ment Mihailescu (ex-Google, ex-Facebook) and Antoine Pourchet (ex-Uber).

And Grokking the System Design Interview is a text-based course with ample media-rich examples. It was created by hiring managers from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Now let’s take a glace at some basic similarities and differences between the two courses:

Grokking the System
Design Interview
SystemsExpert
LevelBeginnerAdvanced
Course StyleText-basedVideo-based
Lessons3122
Playgrounds20
Interactive
Workspace
NoYes
Code Snippets2216
Illustrations102in-video
Problems158
GlossaryYesYes
Developed by
FAANG employees
CurrentFormer
Cost~$79 for course,
$250 for platform
~$60 for course,
$129 for platform

And now let’s take a closer look at what SystemsExpert and Grokking the System Design Interview have to offer…

SystemsExpert

SystemsExpert is updated regularly with new questions, features and more.

It’s separated into 2 sections: Systems Design Fundamentals and Hand-Picked Questions.

1. Systems Design Fundamentals

You’ll start the SystemsExpert course by watching videos on 22 modules. Each covers a specific concept:

πŸ”· Leader Election πŸ”· Peer-to-Peer Networks πŸ”· Configuration

πŸ”· Hashing πŸ”· Load Balancers πŸ”· Replication and Sharding

πŸ”· Polling and Streaming πŸ”· Rate Limiting πŸ”· MapReduce

πŸ”· Client-Server Model πŸ”· Storage πŸ”· Network Protocols

πŸ”· Logging and Monitoring πŸ”· Publish/Subscribe Pattern

πŸ”· Key-Value Stores πŸ”· Relational Databases πŸ”· Proxies

πŸ”· Latency and Throughput πŸ”· Caching πŸ”· Availability

And more.

Each module contains a video explanation of a systems design concept.

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

And it’s accompanied by a list of key terms you should be familiar with.

In addition, more difficult concepts include a code example for clarification.

shared screen of 3 panes of code examples
Storage code example in SystemsExpert video module

The modules are organized to build upon concepts from previous modules.

2. Hand-Picked Questions

Each question is presented in the form of a mock interview, which is an effective method of interview preparation.

There are 8 hand-picked questions. And you’ll design:

βš›οΈ AlgoExpert βš›οΈ Code-Deployment System βš›οΈ Stockbroker

βš›οΈ Facebook News Feed βš›οΈ Google Drive

βš›οΈ Netflix βš›οΈ Reddit API βš›οΈ Uber API

Each question is neatly organized in SystemsExpert’s dark mode 4-pane integrated workspace:

Prompt: Here is where you’ll see the interview question. In addition, you’ll see recommended clarifying questions to ask the interviewer.

Scratchpad: You can write down all notes in an HTML-enabled note-taking window.

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

Video Solution: This is where you’ll hear the mock interview take place. ClΓ©ment asks the interviewer clarifying questions. And from there, he writes and draws out solutions as if an actual interview was taking place.

Solution Walkthrough: This list of walkthroughs is used to clarify the explanations in the video. Plus, these are great as a reference point when revisiting the question.

And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s an expandable glossary with about 100 key terms you can easily reference throughout these systems design questions.

πŸ’° Cost:

You can get SystemsExpert for about $60 for an annual subscription.

Or you can buy the SystemsExpert & AlgoExpert bundle for about $129 for an annual subscription.

Check out SystemsExpert here. 🚨 Use coupon code realtoughcandy at checkout and save 10%. 🚨

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

Grokking the System Design Interview

In contrast to SystemsExpert, Grokking the System Design Interview is geared towards engineers in the earlier stages of systems design.

In addition to a thorough explanation of fundamentals, they also recommend various resources to get more in depth with key concepts. And from there you can graduate to navigating systems design problems.

The course is separated into two sections: System Design Problems and Glossary of System Design Basics.

1. System Design Problems

System Design problems include:

🟒 Web Crawler 🟒 Facebook’s Newsfeed 🟒 Ticketmaster

🟒 Dropbox 🟒 Facebook Messenger 🟒 API Rate Limiter

🟒 YouTube 🟒 Typeahead Suggestion 🟒 Twitter Search

🟒 Uber backend 🟒 Yelp 🟒 Nearby Friends 🟒 Netflix

🟒 URL shortening service 🟒 Pastebin 🟒 Instagram

Each section is broken down into multiple parts using:

πŸ”» text explanations πŸ”» code snippets πŸ”» illustrations πŸ”» playgrounds

For example, let’s look at Web Crawler.

You’ll learn:

βœ”οΈ what a web crawler is

βœ”οΈ requirements and goals of the system

βœ”οΈ design considerations

βœ”οΈ capacity estimation and constraints

βœ”οΈ high level design

Detailed component design Web Crawler example in Grokking the System Design Interview

βœ”οΈ detailed component design

βœ”οΈ fault tolerance

βœ”οΈ data partitioning

βœ”οΈ crawler traps

And more.

2. Glossary of System Design Basics

This section covers:

🟣 Key Characteristics of Distributed Systems 🟣 Load Balancing

🟣 Caching 🟣 Data Partitioning 🟣 Indexes 🟣 Proxies

🟣 Long-Polling vs WebSockets vs Server-Sent Events

🟣 Redundancy and Replication 🟣 SQL vs. NoSQL

🟣 CAP Theorem 🟣 Consistent Hashing

Here you’ll find extensive explanations and uses for each concept.

For example, Load Balancing looks at:

  • benefits of load balancing
  • load balancing algorithms
  • redundant load balancers
  • backend health check methods
Example of redundant load balancer in Grokking the System Design Interview

And more.

πŸ’° Cost:

You can buy the Grokking the System Design Interview course for about $79 for lifetime access.

Or get complete access to over 150 courses and learning tracks on the Educative platform for about $21 per month.

Check out Grokking the System Design Interview here.

SystemsExpert vs Grokking the System Design Interview: Conclusion

We recommend taking SystemsExpert and Grokking the System Design Interview when preparing for your systems design interview.

With the expansive resources available on Grokking the System Design Interview, you’ll build a strong foundation of fundamentals.

Plus there are plenty of systems design questions for you to work on. But the lack of mock interview scenarios is something this course is lacking.

However, the questions on SystemsExpert are all mock interview scenarios. And with their refresher of key terms and concepts, it’s a well-rounded course.

So our SystemsExpert vs Grokking the System Design Interview recommendation: Prepare for your systems design interview using both SystemsExpert and Grokking the System Design Interview.

Up Next: Is LeetCode Worth It? [AlgoExpert vs LeetCode vs HackerRank]

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

    If you're preparing for a FAANG-level systems design interview, Grokking the System Design Interview course is definitely worth it. This text-based course contains 31 lessons. And you'll learn systems design basics and key concepts. From there you'll work on systems design questions asked at real FAANG interviews.

  2. Is SystemsExpert for beginners?

    SystemsExpert is not for beginners. It's geared towards developers preparing for FAANG-level systems design interviews. The video-based course contains 22 modules covering systems design fundamentals. Plus you'll work on questions asked at actual FAANG interviews. In addition, all questions are presented in mock interview form. And you'll work on them using the advanced 4-pane integrated workspace.

  3. How do I get a FAANG job?

    It all starts with preparation. We recommend these courses: 1. Grokking the System Design Interview. This text-based course covers systems design fundamentals. And has ample resources. Plus you'll work on systems design questions asked at actual interviews. 2. SystemsExpert is a video-based course. It also covers systems design concepts and questions. Plus, the questions are in an advanced 4-pane integrated work environment.

  4. How good is Grokking the System Design Interview course?

    Grokking the System Design Interview is ideal for systems design interview prep. This text-base course covers systems design fundamentals with links to resources. Plus you'll work on systems design questions asked at actual interviews.

  5. How good is SystemsExpert?

    SystemsExpert is a must-have course for systems design interview preparation. It's video-based and covers 22 key systems design concepts. From there you'll work on systems design questions asked at actual FAANG interviews. And you'll do all work in an advanced 4-pane integrated workspace. Plus, it's regularly updated with new questions and features.