Engineering

Why so negative about leetcode

Toptal Beckstein
Dec 11, 2017

I read here very often something like "do stupid leetcode to get an interview at google/facebook...". I am doing leetcode and i am really learning new stuffs from math (properties of numbers, divisibility...), algorithms... #leetcode

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  • Microsoft Rolexpo
    Leetcode isn’t the issue here.

    Here’s what happening:
    1) lots of people are doing leetcode and hence the bar for making errors has gone dramatically high.

    2) you could be an exceptional problem solver but you didn’t see a problem (or pattern before) and you get stuck while someone else has solved 500 problems and aces that interview. All of a sudden they get the job.

    3) most interviewers are inexperienced and many feels they can only judge by asking hard leetcode questions and look for binary signals in evaluating (yes or no, rather than depth).

    Leetcode is great and made be get back to problem solving and it’s fun, however it has made the field immensely more competitive.
    Dec 11, 20173
    • Amazon / EngMarioBros4
      Immensely more competitive for no reason and while adding no value
      Dec 11, 2017
    • Facebook ChinaKlay
      2) is a good thing if someone prepared more then good for them.
      Dec 11, 2017
    • Expedia yo_mang
      Got denied from Two Sigma despite getting the Leetcode question and Leetcode style question right because I was too slow to writing it thoroughly I guess. I got perfectly running code but made a couple bugs or so whilst writing it, but then again it was an 8 AM interview :'(

      So there's another dimension of failure with Leetcode. One of those questions was essentially one one should memorize and if you weren't fast enough to the interviewer's liking, then you were out.
      Dec 12, 2017
  • Microsoft maverickk
    People who suck at leetcode are usually the ones who are negative about it. Hence they dismiss it as sour grapes.
    Dec 11, 20171
    • Facebook Hjhggf
      Agreed.
      Dec 11, 2017
  • Cisco genesiz
    Leetcode sucked the fun out of problem solving.

    1. It lets interviewers be lazy and make binary decisions. Which means, they don't care who their coworker is going to be. They could be a psychopathic customer info seller for all you know

    2. It is a singular measure. Over optimizing for one single thing. Algorithmic solutions to textbook problems. There is more to CS than that

    3. It encourages candidates (thus, future software engineers) to not be wholesome software engineers but to be mechanical rote memorizers. This shows in the quality of their code. Look up some popular "open sourced" code at popular leetcoding companies

    4. It devalues experience. Really, if everything was as simple as leetcode, anyone could've come up with map reduce. Why did it take 2 phds with years of experience with systems and lisp, I don't know

    5. I hate working with Co workers who can solve all algorithmic problems but cannot produce solid productive output. Leetcoders reinvent the wheel, spend time fretting about stupid algos and time complexities way too often. There is a place for this sure but not all of software engineering is just that

    6. Lastly, and my biggest gripe, is that it creates a class of interviewers who have absolutely no fucking clue that leetcode is not the best/singular/good way toeasure your future co-worker. These memorizing nerds are good at solving puzzles in one language but suck in others and don't understand the perspective of others...leading to questions like yours OP.

    I have met Java programmers (at Google) rejecting c programmers cuz the interviewer did not know that c doesn't have an API to get array length. In c, you need to find the size and pass it around.

    I have almost started questioning the quality of many leetcoders as software engineers.

    P.S. I forgot to add:

    - it creates a non reproducible process. The same candidate can get through with one set of questions and fail with another. For a profession that derives it's reputation on precision, the hiring process sucks pretty bad

    - it hires people who slack off at current work to practice leetcode over actually productive people. Who do we want as a coworker?
    Dec 11, 20175
    • Facebook Hjhggf
      Wrong. Learn about the Jedi and pirate interview types at FB. Only 3/5 interviews are fully coding interviews. The other two are open ended design and career / exp / behavioral interviews. All your points are proven wrong. Stop raging and start leetcoding.
      Dec 12, 2017
    • Cisco genesiz
      Will fb hire a person with awesome jediness and pirateness but bombed the solution to a random dp question?

      The answer to above question will answer why leetcode sucks.
      Dec 12, 2017
    • Facebook Hjhggf
      You need both. To answer your question: if a person bombed Jedi and Pirate but aced coding, FB will not hire them. Fail logic, dumbass. Stop raging, start leetcoding. Learn.
      Dec 13, 2017
    • Cisco genesiz
      Ground reality is different. It's easier to make mistakes in system design (simply because there is no correct answer). No such wiggle room in leetcode interviewers looking for a specific solution.

      If leetcode interviewers were sane humans giving people points for their thought process instead of just looking for the right answer, I'd buy your argument.

      Right now, you're just behaving like a stubborn Asian parent scolding their kid
      Dec 13, 2017
    • Facebook Hjhggf
      And you’re acting like a loser who failed interviews and raging about sour grapes. Get back to practicing dude, you’ll score better next time.
      Dec 13, 2017
  • Amazon qwerty765
    If a person is able to solve a problem because of doing similar problems in leetcode. It only tells that the person has spent time preparing and is hard working. That is also a good quality to be prepared, and interviewers like that.
    That being said, we often encounter people who have not done much preparation, but their fundamentals are strong and they are able to figure out different solutions to a problem. So it doesn’t really matter in the end as the interviewer is looking for both hard working and creative people. Sometimes you also encounter who is both.
    Dec 11, 20174
    • Facebook Hjhggf
      ^ this is the answer to shut up these leetcode haters. TLDR: leetcoding does demonstrate the ability to persevere and learn which is valuable.
      Dec 11, 2017
    • Splunk I will be
      What about the situation where 90% of Google's engineers use Homebrew but since the Homebrew Creator couldn't reverse a binary tree they told him to fuck off?
      Dec 14, 2017
    • Facebook Hjhggf
      90% of Google engineers don’t use Homebrew.
      Dec 14, 2017
    • Amazon Tesl@
      Wtf are you doing at your daily job ? Are you not learning? If you are, then you don’t need leetcode as your practical experience is what other companies should look for.
      Jan 17
  • Microsoft / EngHarmar
    I'm good at leetcode. I think it's fun. I also think it's a terrible way to interview people.

    Algorithms are important, but the type of problems leetcode covers aren't all that relevant to day-to-day work. They're really not relevant to complex systems design.

    It's like using a spelling bee to hire a speech writer.
    Dec 11, 20170
  • New / Eng
    G0dz1la

    NewEng

    PRE
    Qualcomm, Nokia, Apple
    BIO
    Hardware Tinkerer, Software Engineer, Musician, Painter, Moving Helper
    G0dz1lamore
    This is no different than cracking those competitive Engineering school entrance exams in India or China. All your experience, talent is worthless to these drones. All they want is a Black/White answer to a qn that has methodical solution someone could have simply practiced
    Dec 11, 20179
    • Amazon / Eng
      Hooliganss

      AmazonEng

      BIO
      Engineer at AWS
      Hooliganssmore
      Isn’t that the way life is? School, work, everything? Prepare for something, study, homework etc and do well when it comes time to test you?
      Dec 11, 2017
    • Twitch EPBQ13
      No, that's the way childhood is. You're an adult now, you're supposed to be developing skills that are useful.
      Dec 12, 2017
    • Twitch EPBQ13
      If your years of experience as a software developer have not prepared you for an interview, there is a problem with your experience or the interview or both.
      Dec 12, 2017
    • Splunk I will be
      @hooliganns that's the most profound brainwashed fucked up view of living. Every day is a test to prepare for another test. Paradise is on the horizon. Your worth is only as far as your test marks.

      Holy fuck.

      I mean, holy fuck!!!
      Dec 14, 2017
    • Amazon / Eng
      Hooliganss

      AmazonEng

      BIO
      Engineer at AWS
      Hooliganssmore
      Relax, no need to virtue signal. What I meant to say was that every step of your social and professional life is watched and judged. If you think you are done taking tests after school, you’re wrong.
      Dec 14, 2017
    • Twitch EPBQ13
      Remember when virtue signaling used to mean something other than "not being a huge dipshit"?
      Dec 14, 2017
    • Amazon / Eng
      Hooliganss

      AmazonEng

      BIO
      Engineer at AWS
      Hooliganssmore
      “Holy fuck. I mean, holy fuck!!!” Sole purpose was to signal to others. It’s not difficult.
      Dec 14, 2017
    • Splunk I will be
      The very fact you frame it as "every step of social and professional life is watched and judged." Says A LOT about how you view your self worth, how you view the world and how you view others. Why do you give away your power to others? Why do you lead your life framed as a what-do-other-people-think?
      Dec 15, 2017
    • Amazon / Eng
      Hooliganss

      AmazonEng

      BIO
      Engineer at AWS
      Hooliganssmore
      If you honestly don’t think your work ethic, team fit, etc is not constantly being judged by your managers/bosses, or that your social standing doesn’t fluctuate daily based on how you act and what you do, then I’m sorry your a bit naive in that regard.
      Dec 15, 2017
  • Facebook ChinaKlay
    It's mostly old heads complaining about leetcode
    Dec 11, 20176
    • Toptal Jeff Gates
      Yeah agree
      Dec 11, 2017
    • Facebook Hjhggf
      Wrong. Learn about the Jedi and pirate interview types at FB. Only 3/5 interviews are fully coding interviews. The other two are open ended design and career / exp / behavioral interviews. All your points are proven wrong. Stop raging and start leetcoding.
      Dec 11, 2017
    • Facebook ChinaKlay
      I'm not raging? I actually think leetcode gives people like me a chance at jobs I might not get if I had to rely on traditional schmoozing
      Dec 11, 2017
    • Facebook Hjhggf
      Oops replied to wrong thread. My comment was aimed at the thread above yours.
      Dec 12, 2017
    • Splunk I will be
      Someday you'll be the old head. You'll be useless and unwanted. Some punk kid will come shred up your life and not even know what the fuck they're talking about and have not an iota of what it means to want to build and create, not memorize answers
      Dec 14, 2017
    • Facebook Hjhggf
      ^ so what? Meritocracy means the smart folks shit on dumb ones. It’s the way the world works. Get real.
      Dec 14, 2017
  • Microsoft jXLi76
    Leetcode is more fun than 90% of the jobs which is just plumbing.
    Dec 11, 20172
    • Facebook / EngWh00dis
      Sadly agree
      Dec 11, 2017
    • Expedia yo_mang
      The best answer as to why Leetcode is valuable, folks!
      Dec 12, 2017
  • Google beJi21
    I did not know of leetcode until 2 weeks before Google’s onsite. I solved about 6-7 problems, somehow still landed a job at Google.
    Dec 11, 20170
  • Toptal Jeff Gates
    Also those negative comments are from second-class company (amazon, cisco) folks. I am not afraid of saying that because i have passed interviews to both of them, got offers. But people i have met there + the offer I knew I am too good for them
    Dec 11, 20173
    • Cisco genesiz
      Lol. Selection bias much?
      Dec 11, 2017
    • Toptal Jeff Gates
      bored? How can you write like 10 paragraphs of text (just in case, i am referring to your previous comment. One cannot be sure. You are only at cisco). Too much negative energy in you :)
      Dec 11, 2017
    • Cisco genesiz
      Instead of replying with an irrelevant question, why don't you answer your logical fallacy?

      Does it bother you that you weren't logical? If not, then what's stopping you from admitting that you're not the smart person you think you are? :)
      Dec 11, 2017
  • Google psk
    I think leetcode tests the basic ability of a person to be able to develop optimized algorithms to problems. If a person has this basic ability then rest other skills can be learned. So leetcode problems are good to test beginners and even algorithmic skills.

    However, I do agree that leetcode doesn't test following:
    1. The ability of a person to write maintainable code using different design patterns. It is a necessity for applications built by multiple engineers so that code is not rewritten again and again.
    2. The ability to think about the overall architecture of the application, multithreading, locking, parallel processing etc so that it's easy to expand the application for more features

    These two abilities come with experience and the love for writing beautiful code. Anyone can write code but writing easy to understand and maintainable code is an art, designing the overall architecture of the application is an art. Think about someone who designed map reduce, Apache spark, app development frameworks etc.
    Had these not been written well then imagine the amount of code rewrite that would happen just to add a small feature, the errors introduced by multiple engineers working on same application.

    Even experienced engineers sometimes lack these skills. This is an asset that these popular software firms have in the form of talented and experienced software engineers. Even beginners get to learn these skills from these skilled developers and become a well rounded software engineer.

    Testing these abilities is tough in an interview without knowing the past projects of the interviewee. You can still do some high level interviewing of the concepts but still it lacks somewhere. But then there is no full proof system and it is the case with everything in the world.
    Dec 11, 20170
  • Toptal Jeff Gates
    Honestly negative answers here still did not give me answer. And they remind me old corporate guys. I had a colleague who would name all design patterns, loots of technical terms in a single sentence. After 1 year ZERO line of his code was shipped to production.
    Dec 11, 20171
    • Facebook Hjhggf
      Well said.
      Dec 11, 2017
  • Google LtcodeKid
    Leetcode is a lifestyle.
    Dec 11, 20170
  • Starbucks / EngW🤑W
    One of my gripes about interviews is when they ask whiteboarding questions that have nothing to do with the job or domain you are interviewing for. Almost like the interviewer just selected a leetcode problem at random.
    Dec 12, 20173
    • New / Eng
      G0dz1la

      NewEng

      PRE
      Qualcomm, Nokia, Apple
      BIO
      Hardware Tinkerer, Software Engineer, Musician, Painter, Moving Helper
      G0dz1lamore
      I asked a 2D graphics algorithms problem for a Graphics Software engineer once and actually gave him a Coderpad to solve it. He complained it was too trivial of question - so there goes my effort as an interviewer to find the right problem that can test both coding and domain knowledge
      Dec 12, 2017
    • Starbucks / EngW🤑W
      Sounds like your guy just failed the interview. Not that your attempt to ask a domain specific question was bad.
      Dec 12, 2017
    • New / Eng
      G0dz1la

      NewEng

      PRE
      Qualcomm, Nokia, Apple
      BIO
      Hardware Tinkerer, Software Engineer, Musician, Painter, Moving Helper
      G0dz1lamore
      He cleared. Startup where I'm at, could not find another guy to join
      Dec 12, 2017

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