Should You Buy LeetCode Premium?
Yes. If you are interviewing at a large tech company (FAANG, Uber, Airbnb etc.) then LeetCode Premium is one of the best purchases you can make.
The free version of LeetCode is a must have resource. But the premium version has several unique features that we will explore.
The #1 reason to purchase LeetCode Premium is that it allows you to filter questions by company name.
Why is that helpful? LeetCode's questions are user submitted and often have many similarities with exact FAANG interview questions. By purchasing premium, you will identify interview patterns at each company (e.g. Google asks many graphing questions). That pattern recognition allows you to use your time efficiently.
LeetCode Premium Pricing
LeetCode Premium has two pricing models.
- $39 / per month
- $159 / per year
LeetCode has a strict no refund policy. LeetCode Premium monthly and yearly automatically renew. The easiest way to avoid an accidental auto renewal is to immediately cancel. After cancellation your subscription will remain active until the current time period is finished.
LeetCode rarely has sales but in the past they have run a Black Friday deal for $30 off the yearly subscription.
LeetCode Premium Deep Dive
LeetCode has always been about practicing algorithm and data structures questions - not teaching you the concepts.
With premium, that doesn't change but you unlock new features that help you make practicing more efficient.
LeetCode has gained a reputation as the most important software engineering interview preparation tool because of its extensive, user submitted question base.
LeetCode has almost 2000 questions. It is impractical and unnecessary to solve all 2000. Instead, you should select a core set of questions that are representative of a typical interview. A good list of questions the LeetCode 75 from TeamBlind.
The free version allows sorting by commonly seen topics (e.g. arrays, dynamic programming, trees) and rare topics (e.g. monotonic queue, topological sort, minimum spanning trees). Beyond topic, you can sort by difficulty (easy, medium, hard) or have LeetCode randomly assign you a question.
Both are helpful ways to filter questions and are best for general interview preparation. Once you have interviews scheduled, LeetCode's true differentiation is allowing you to filter by company name. Users have tagged questions by company name after completing their own interviews, giving you insights into commonly seen questions (or even question types) which is incredible valuable.
LeetCode Premium also unlocks a larger set of questions. However, the free version has enough questions for thorough preparation. The additional questions are useful if there is a topic that you want to continue practicing in more depth. For example, some of our clients at Rora felt that Dynamic Programming questions were challenging for them and as a result used the premium questions to do additional practice.
Finally, LeetCode Premium allows you to rank questions by frequency seen in real interviews. Pairing frequency with a company filter allows you to prioritize the most likely questions to be asked in your interview.
Sorting by question isn't useful in all situations. Despite having the largest question bank online, for smaller companies LeetCode will often lack company specific questions. It is best utilized for FAANG interviews and well known tech companies (e.g. Uber, Airbnb, Lyft etc.).
Both LeetCode questions and solutions are user submitted. As a result, there is a lot of variety in the quality of the solutions. Recently, LeetCode Premium introduced video solutions which premium users have access to.
The quality of LeetCode solutions is sub-optimal because:
- Many of the hard questions don't have any solution, especially LeetCode Hard problems
- Solutions aren't in a single, standardized language
- Solutions aren't properly vetted - once in awhile they have the wrong space and time complexity
- Solutions often aren't well explained or visualized
Beyond the solution for the question, each user can publicize their own solution in a discussion forum. Those solutions can be upvoted and are often helpful resources.
Despite LeetCode's recent efforts to improve their solutions, their solutions aren't good enough to justify purchasing LeetCode Premium.
LeetCode Premium Interview Simulations
LeetCode interview simulations, paired with their extensive question bank, make Premium a great investment.
It is often challenging to stay engaged throughout an entire interview. To help Premium users, LeetCode has designed interview simulations that are timed and leverage the company specific question bank.
For example, to prepare for a Google interview, there is a simulator that will provide a series of Google questions to complete in a limited time. LeetCode intelligently changes the amount of time allocated based on the difficulty of the question.
After you feel comfortable with questions from a specific topic (e.g. graphs), using the simulator is highly recommended to help you ace your interviews.
LeetCode Premium Perks
LeetCode has several other perks for premium users. Most aren't a large enough differentiator from the free tier to justify purchasing Premium.
- Lightening Judge saves several minutes per problem but isn't critical
- Autocomplete and a debugger allow for faster development but at the cost of reliance. Despite being faster, some interviewers still require code to be written in plain text editors - practicing in an identical environment without a debugger or autocomplete can be an advantage.
Should You Buy LeetCode Premium?
If you are interviewing at a large tech company (FAANG, Airbnb, Uber etc.) where LeetCode has company specific questions, then LeetCode Premium is a great and worthwhile investment.
If you are interviewing for a startup, then LeetCode Premium will make you faster but the value is significantly diminished. Try out the free version first before upgrading.