A Comprehensive Interview Cake Review: Is it Right for You?

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Interview Cake is a study platform designed to help software engineers (and aspiring ones, including self-taught programmers) prepare for coding interviews.

Created by Parker Phinney, it features free practice programming interview questions, expert coding interview tips (ranging from “How to get unstuck” to “Organizing your interview timeline” to all kinds of FAQs about tech interviews), a free 7-day email crash course on coding interview strategies, and a full tech interview course that could help you earn higher salary offers (potentially by tens of thousands of dollars)!

Interview Cake has helped students pass their coding interviews and get their dream tech jobs at companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and other top companies.

Disclosure: I’m a very proud affiliate for Interview Cake. If you buy a product through my links on this page, I may get a small commission for referring you. Thanks!

In this Interview Cake review, we’ll cover some key things to know about the platform, including Interview Cake pricing, features, ease of use, content quality and what past students think. LTCWM readers can get 20% off the full course by clicking this link. 

Interview Cake home page

Table of Contents

Interview Cake Review: The TL;DR

Pros:

  • 50+ hours of coding interview practice questions and readings to prep for your next coding interview
  • Solutions in 11 coding languages
  • Tons of free resources (glossary of important tech interview topics, detailed blog articles chock full of tips, and a 7-day email crash course)
  • Full refund if you don't get the job — or are at all unsatisfied (100% risk-free)
  • Special student pricing
  • Built for self-taught developers and bootcamp graduates, as well as CS majors (you don’t have to have a formal education or be super advanced)
  • Slack group where you can ask other coders for help with a coding problem

Cons:

  • No lifetime access for the full course (access is only offered in three-week, three-month, and one-year increments)
  • No video walkthroughs; completely text-based
  • Only offers 50 coding questions, while other comparable platforms offer hundreds or even thousands (however, higher quantity isn’t always better!)
  • No free trial option

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Topics Taught on Interview Cake

Interview Cake focuses on basically all the topics you need to know to ace your coding interview.

Specifically, that includes:

  • All the core data structures (e.g., arrays, linked lists, queues, stacks, hash maps)
  • Some advanced data structures (e.g., tries)
  • Common algorithm types (e.g., greedy, brute force, dynamic programming)
  • Math and trivia (e.g., probability, shuffling, combinatorics, common arithmetic series)

💡 Plus, you’ll get tips on preparing for your tech interview, from what coding interviews involve to how to get unstuck on a coding question to navigating behavioral questions and more. 

Interview Cake blog

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Interview Cake Pricing

While there are tons of free resources on the Interview Cake website, the full Interview Cake course has three pricing tiers:

  1. 3 weeks access (enough to prepare for one interview) = $149
  2. 3 months access + 9 months free (enough for a full job search) = $249
  3. 1 year of access + coaching (full year of practice to stay sharp) = $4900

Please note: These prices were accurate at the time of writing (January 2021) and they are subject to change.

💰 You can pay with credit, debit, or PayPal. Get 20% off your Interview Cake purchase with this special link for LTCWM readers.

Features of the Interview Cake Platform

💻 Access to coding interview questions asked at top tech companies: Browse through coding interview questions commonly asked at big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and more!

📨 Free 7-day email crash course: No prior computer science training necessary. Teaches you how to break down tricky algorithmic coding interview questions you've never seen before.

📧 Weekly question email list: Subscribe and get the most popular real-world coding interview questions and write-ups sent straight to your inbox on a weekly basis.

📖 Free glossary of important coding interview topics: You can read through detailed breakdowns of definitions (and example code) for important concepts like Big O Notation, arrays, algorithms, and much more. 

👩‍💻 Built-in code editor: So you can write out your code and test different solutions without having to leave your browser. 

1️⃣1️⃣ Solutions in 11 programming languages: Solutions for coding problems are available in the programming language of your choice (includes C, C#, C++, Java, JavaScript, Objective-C, Python 2.7, Python 3.6, Ruby, and Swift)

💬 Private Slack community: Discuss coding problems and solutions with a community of people going through the same thing. 

💸 Full refunds available for any reason: According to the Interview Cake website, less than 2% of students have requested a refund, but the option is always available. A full refund is just an email away (no complex process).

Ease of Use

Wondering how to use Interview Cake? Let’s take a quick tour.

From the home page, you can browse through interview tip articles and a glossary of key concepts, and/or click through to purchase the full Interview Cake course.

When you buy the course, you’ll have access to 14 different course sections, which each include a readings section and a practice section for coding questions.

Interview Cake course

When you click on a coding question, you’ll go through a simple process: 

  1. The platform starts by asking you to try it out on your own.
  2. You then have the option to click “I have an answer” or “Tell me more.”
  3. It progressively gives you more and more small hints to help you solve the problem on your own without you having to look up the solution, keeping frustration at bay.
  4. When you think you’ve come up with a solution, Interview Cake shows you common “gotchas” (or mistakes), that people often make with this particular exercise, basically forcing you to really understand the problem.
  5. If you still feel confident in your answer, Interview Cake will reveal the solution and give a super detailed breakdown of how to approach not just this problem, but similar problems as well. In this way, it teaches you a lot about problem-solving, not just how to solve that one specific problem.

You can write all of your code in their in-browser text editor, instead of having to switch back and forth between the platform and your editor.

Interview Cake in-browser text editor

Overall, Interview Cake really breaks down coding problems for you step by step and helps you think of a solution, instead of just giving you the answer.

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Interview Cake Content Quality

Interview Cake focuses more on quality over quantity. While other platforms like LeetCode might have hundreds or thousands of questions, Interview Cake has around 50 coding interview questions.

However, their narrower breadth of focus does allow more specificity, relevance, and depth in the ones they choose. Questions on Interview Cake are highly curated and are commonly asked at coding interviews at top tech companies, so instead of having to wade through tons of questions, you’re presented with only the questions you really need to understand.

Interview Cake examples

There’s no production value to speak of, since Interview Cake is a text-based course without audio or visual components, so just keep that in mind. It’s not a program with a lot of bells and whistles, but it gets the job done (or, well…gets you the job).

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What Past Students Think

The Interview Cake site has a page featuring reviews from past customers. Here are a few of them: 

“Having tried several resources for interview prep, I can honestly say that Interview Cake provides the most structured and confidence-inducing approach. Apart from the website itself, Parker is always willing to help with external resources advice too which is invaluable.” — Akshay (got the job at Amazon)

“When I told my friends I ran about 30 practice questions before getting the job, they couldn't believe it. They said they didn't feel prepared after practicing 200-500 questions. I told them I spent more time on each question, solving it in different ways, reading over each hint, because Interview Cake provided a problem-solving *experience* that emphasized quality over quantity. I will probably finish up the rest of the questions before my purchase expires, because I’d never thought I'd say this but I've actually come to enjoy practicing these questions.” — Ivy (got the job at Dote)

“Thanks to your site, I have offers from Apple, Facebook and Google. That's a hell of an ROI! I didn't go to school for computer science, and now I have multiple senior engineering offers from the world's best tech companies.” — Rich (got the job at Apple, Facebook and Google)

“I'm aware of other useful resources such as Hackerrank, Codewars, etc. but Interview Cake is far and away the most comprehensive, high quality resource I've found for preparing for interviews. I just wanted to say great job and thanks for putting together something amazing to help us nervous interviewees. :)” — Anonymous

Check out more Interview Cake testimonials here!

Who Interview Cake Is Recommended For

I’d most recommend Interview Cake for any of the following types of people:

  • Those who haven’t studied CS formally, since Interview Cake doesn’t just test you, it teaches you too
  • Those who want to improve their problem-solving skills
  • Someone facing their very first programming interview
  • Software engineers who want to brush up on algorithms and data structures
  • Someone who enjoys text-based solutions (those who prefer videos may not like the platform as much)

Interview Cake Alternatives

AlgoExpert: 100 coding interview practice questions in 9 different languages (vs 11 languages with Interview Cake). Plus, 70+ hours of video explanations to help you understand core principles. $99 per year. Read my full review here.

Interview Camp: Offers a combination of videos, text, and practice problems to help you ace your coding interview. Includes weekly live sessions to discuss coding problems, 60+ hours of video content, and a private Slack community. $250/year.

Cracking the Coding Interview: 150 Programming Questions and Solutions: Popular book by Gayle Laakmann McDowell, who has passed coding interviews at Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Covers the entire interview process. Teaches you how to break down complicated problems and write good code.

LeetCode: Similar to Interview Cake in that it’s text-based and has no video explanations. Different in that the basic tier is free and it has a library of 1,700+ coding questions to practice with (versus the 50 with Interview Cake). $35 per month to access detailed explanations of coding problems. 

Coderbyte: Offers 300+ coding challenges. Access to solution guides with a subscription membership. $35/month or $150/year.

Byte by Byte: A blog that delves into all the non-technical aspects of software engineering interviews, plus covers 40 different practice coding interview questions. Get access to 50 real-world interview questions that have been asked in actual interviews

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Review Final Thoughts: Is Interview Cake Worth It?

In the end, Interview Cake is a great option for experienced software engineers and new coders alike to help prepare for the toughest coding questions. It’s perfect for someone who wants targeted, effective interview prep, thanks to the highly curated content based on questions at real companies and the interactive answer system.

However, those who prefer a video style may not get much out of the platform, as it’s all text-based. 

Check out Interview Cake to see if it’s right for you!


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