Having spent multitude of years in the industry, seeking for the exact place where I wanted to belong, I was internally motivated as hell but wasn’t able to see the path to my destination. I heard about Interview Kickstart (IK) through a very close friend who told me that they train people like me to achieve their goals. Then again I heard from another close friend who had just finished his coaching/training (whatever you want to call it) and spoke highly about it. I knew at that moment that I had to try IK. I also knew that IK alone is not the answer, instead it would be me who has to leave no stone unturned. And this is the prelude to my journey with IK.
Training at Interview Kickstart would indeed be a rewarding experience, at least it was for me. I am a software developer with tons of experience in writing embedded software as well as userspace software but my career wavered between these two worlds. But at my core, I always felt the urge to work more in the application domain. I was also smitten by the glamour of FAANG companies and the thought of working for one of them would motivate me even further.
If I can summarize my positive experiences with IK, that would be as follows.
1. If you have not interviewed at FAANG companies before or failed multiple times, then IK makes you aware of the expectation at these companies. To succeed at these top companies, it is imperative that you are aware of the expectation these companies have and be able to perform at that level.
2. IK has already done the work of figuring out the concepts, problems that would help you at these top companies. So you get a structured material.
3. They cover all the essential topics in coding, system design, concurrency, behavioral.
4. Once you are done with their coding exercises, you certainly would feel extremely confident. One thing worth mentioning here is that yes, you can leetcode on your own but I am pretty sure you would lack on the structure. Plus, the preparatory videos and class lectures at IK make your understanding solid as rock.
5. Before I started at IK, I knew that the most important part of interview is going to be System Design. I had extensively designed a lot of complex software systems but system design in the context of distributed systems is a different beast altogether. The lectures, guidance, awareness about system design at IK was nothing short of phenomenal. For me personally who would cringe at the thought of discussing a distributed system design problem, I went on to discuss these topics at great details during my interview at Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, Box.
6. Another thing which I totally learned for the first time here at IK was how important your LinkedIn profile is. Earlier I didn’t care a lot about it but after having my profile upgraded based on the inputs from folks at IK, it looked impressive and far better, and that boosts your confidence level. They helped me understand the importance of profile and how recruiters view it. During interviews, I guess a lot of it is your nerves. If you are high on confidence, you can have better control at your nerves.
Alright, lots of pros here. And it’s time for the other side of the coin.
1. Cost. I found it expensive at the first glance. However, the idea of preparing at this crazy level even if I didn’t succeed pushed me to join.
2. It’s a misnomer that IK would make you succeed. The truth is that they show the path, be a guide but the effort has to be yours. You need to prepare for the lecture before the class, participate in the class, and do the homework. If you don’t do it, then don’t blame IK.
3. I seriously wish that they had more TA hours for system design.
4. Another thing I would suggest is that they should have different recommendation for folks with varied level of experience.
Lastly, I want to mention about their mock interviews. They provide 14 mock interviews (included in the package) and believe me you want to take each one of those. Make all the mistakes here, get screwed in these and figure out what not to do in your real ones. Totally totally recommend everyone going for these.
In conclusion, I would say that IK acts as a guide, having very systematic way of coaching engineers to achieve their goals. They show the path and it’s you who has to take the lead, burn midnight oil, and run towards your goal. But often times, all you need is the right support and IK does that well.
Interview Kickstart: https://www.interviewkickstart.com/