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Interview Kickstart Reviews

See what Students & Instructors are saying about Interview Kickstart

Derek Chung

I started Interview Kickstart right before SIP (shelter in place 2020) happened, so my options for companies decreased due to industry wide layoffs and hiring feezes. However, that did not stop me from getting multiple offers from top tech companies including an offer from FAANG.

I always struggled with interview questions. I struggle with Leetcode questions, strategizing my interview preparation, understanding all sorts of algorithm problems, and understanding how system design even works. This lead me to a couple years of continuously being rejected by top tech companies. Most online materials are not really good and to get access to receiving help from a FAANG engineer attuned to the interview process is difficult. Interview Kickstart helped relieve me from all those issues and helped me finally snag a top offer for my level. I am really thankful to the Interview Kickstart team.

At first I was skeptical about IK because I thought that they would take my money and leave me in the dust, but I was wrong. Ever since signing up, I have felt like a valuable customer and that the team is out there cheering me on to succeed.

The staff includes various veterans from FAANG companies as coaches and instructors and some regular staff and interns who run the operation side of things.

Most of the coaching instructors moonlight for IK. They are recruiters for career coaching and SWEs/managers for technical coaching. So most of the time you are taking the class is after work hours. Hence, it is possible to take the camp while having work.

The staff at IK make me feel very comfortable. They are very accommodating to my needs and gave great feedback both technical and non-technical. The staff is absolutely wonderful.

This camp will teach us 3 different skills: algorithms, system design, and behavioral/soft skills.

Algorithms: very typical Leetcode stuff. I think the benefits of this is to go through each topic and to understand deeply on how it works. They have a portal to do some handpicked hackerrank questions. After each class, with a bit of work, it is easy to start completing the medium Leetcode questions. After a bit more work, hard questions will be easy to come buy. They will assign homework problems that are pretty much leetcode questions.

System design: teaches you how to perform a system design interview. This is mainly for individuals with a bit of system design experience at least. I didn't have any experience designing systems so I fell a bit behind. I highly suggest looking at Grokking the Coding interview to supplement your studies along with the system design if you haven't done system design before.

Soft Skills: There are mainly 4 classes that teaches us about resume building, behavioral interviews, negotiations, and company searching (something along the lines of that). These classes can happen during your technical semesters (algorithms/system design).

For each of these semesters, they also have test days where you have to complete 2 questions within a time limit. Afterwards, the class will get together and have a zoom meeting on going over the questions.

They also have office hours for technical and career coaching to ask personalized questions. These happen pretty much everyday.

From my experience, I believe this camp also expects you to have an intermediate understanding of coding. I am not sure if I would have been able to survive if I didn't know big O complexities, data structures, and coding basics.

From my experience, I believe that the camp expects you to have some system design experience. I didn't have any and I fell behind very quickly because I just got lost in the get-go. I had to pause my class and study up on my own before resuming.

How I found success:
I completed most of my homework and I put in the extra work. The camp is not a magic pill. I didn't get an offer just by putting money down. However, it did provide a lot of support which lead to my success.

I went to office hours whenever I had a question that I wasn't able to solve for a long time. The technical coaches are very adept and are able to answer the questions very thoroughly and well.

I understand that the customer is always right. If I wasn't happy or have some special needs, I let them know. They are usually very accommodating and quick to respond.

Be proactive and follow their success plan. I used the resources that I needed and studies when I had to. I tried my best to not lean to far away from their plan. They know what they're doing and have a lot of success stories to prove it.

I have no system design interview experience. I used grokking the coding interview as a good/necessary supplement to the system design classes. I suggest doing that before the system design class. Grokking  by itself is not enough to pass the interview.

I recommend this to everyone!

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