Codewars vs. LeetCode
Codewars and LeetCode are two similar sites in the online coding platform genre. Both websites have a similar and simple purpose, to help improve your data structures and algorithms skills.
Although there are many similarities between the two platforms, there are also many differences as well. Differences that are important to know before you start using either coding site!
There is also one obvious winner if you want to improve your coding skills quickly and land your dream job. For that reason, I created this quick guide to allow you to see the strengths and weaknesses of both online coding platforms.
If you want to read about my thoughts on Codewars individually, you can check it out here.
Let’s begin with a brief introduction to both Codewars and LeetCode.
Codewars is a coding website that provides players with numerous coding challenges that players must complete in order to rank up and increase their “kata”. The more difficult the challenge rating, the more quickly you rank up.
Ranks are used to indicate the abilities of users and the difficulty of Kata. Ranks begin at
8 kyu - 1 kyu and then from
1 dan - 8 dan. This means 8 kyu is the lowest rank and 8 dan is the highest rank.
Codewars is a community-built platform, its challenges are designed by its users for its users. As of 2022, Codewars can be used with 29 main languages and even 26 beta languages. Allowing you to improve any coding language you like, even specific languages like Terminal Shell or PowerShell.
Overall, Codewars is a fun and interesting way to better your coding skills while also giving you a sense of community to help motivate you to grow and learn from others.
LeetCode, very similarily to Codewars, is an online coding platform with multiple coding challenges to choose from. Just like Codewars, these problems are generally focused on data structures and algorithms (DSA). There are over 2,000 problems to choose from, so you always have something to practice. However, some are locked with a premium membership. Which we will talk about a little bit later.
The coding challenges are ranked from easy, to medium, to hard in difficulty and are generally pretty accurately tagged. Unlike Codewars, these challenges are not created by a community but by the site creators. A major advantage to the platform that I will discuss later as well!
Overall, LeetCode is also a very engaging and fun coding platform to help you improve your coding skills and ace your technical interviews.
Codewars vs. LeetCode Features
Now we are going to look at the ranking systems in LeetCode and Codewars and compare the differences and similarities.
The first feature I want to compare between LeetCode and Codewars is its ranking system.
Codewars: Ranking System
Codewars has a much more complicated ranking system than LeetCode. Made up of rank, honor, privilege, and leaderboards.
In Codewars you rank up from 8 – 1 Kyu and then from 1 – 8 Dan. These names make sense because, in Japanese martial arts, Kyu is what degree away from mastery you are. Dan is the term used for mastery. In that context, we are working out way up to Dan and then counting down from 8 Dan to 1.
So to be clear, 8 Kyu is the lowest rank and 1 Dan is the highest.
Another important aspect to take note of is that the ranking system exists for both your overall rank and for each individual coding language. So your overall rank might be a 1 Kyu, but you would still be a rank 8 in every programming language you haven’t yet completed a challenge in.
The only way to level up in Codewars is by completing coding challenges. The difficulty of the challenge also determines how fast you rank. Completing the easiest challenges won’t rank you up nearly as fast as completing harder challenges. You can check out the point system for each rank here.
While Rank is given to address your skill level, Honor is used to portray the level of respect a user has gained from the community. Honor is mostly indicated by your level of contribution and activity within the community and is used to persuade participation on the platform.
you can read more about Honor here.
Finally, gaining Honor earns you privileges. By growing as part of the community, you are granted access to do more things. These can include authoring activities, such as creating challenges or translations or could be to assume a moderator role that allows you to approve or vote on the quality of user-created content.
Overall, the idea of Honor and Privilege is a cool idea that is uncommon on coding platforms. It ensures the moderators earn their place and know how to code. It also helps instill a sense of community that makes others want to participate.
You can learn more about Privilege here.
Leaderboard & Misc
Codewars also provides features such as discussion forums, leaderboards, and a wiki to learn more about the platform.
LeetCode: Ranking System
LeetCode takes a much more simple approach to its ranking system. LeetCode simply tracks how many of the problems you have solved. Of which, there are 2,344 problems. 582 easy problems, 1249 medium problems, and 513 hard problems.
However, this number is always increasing as LeetCode adds new problems, making sure you always have problems to solve.
LeetCode also has a concept of “points” within the platform. You can earn points in a plethora of ways, such as solving a specific amount of problems within a time frame, confirming your email, or winning contests.
Points act as a digital currency that allows you to buy things from the LeetCode store. This includes items such as premium subscriptions and LeetCode merch.
Realistically, unless you are an unreal programmer that can win LeetCode competitions, it will be hard to earn enough coins to pay for anything worth your attention. For example, coming first place in a competition can earn you enough points for a premium subscription for a month. However, these contests do offer other cool prices as well.
Check out all the ways to earn LeetCode points here.
Badges also exist as a way to show a user’s performance in contests. A users badge changes depending on their LeetCode ranking.
Overall, badges are not a huge part of using LeetCode. However, if you’d like to learn more about them, you can do so here.
Which Is The Better Ranking System?
Overall, when comparing Codewars vs LeetCode, which ranking system is better depends on your personal preference. I personally like the ranking system for LeetCode. It is more simple and places more focus on learning algorithms and less focus on “what level you are”.
However, the ranking system on Codewars can feel more like a game and give you motivation to complete more difficult challenges. Meaning you end up spending more time on the platform.
Ultimately, the ranking system doesn’t matter too much, as both platforms do a great job of teaching algorithms and data structures through their systems.
The coding environments in LeetCode and Codewars are essentially the same. There is a built-in code editor in each web platform where you can write and submit code. Both platforms also provide test suites that allow the user to know whether or not their current solution works in all provided test cases.
Codewars: Coding Environment
However, in Codewars I generally find there are more test cases and all are available for you to see after running your code. Also, remember that these test cases are written by a community member, so you can’t know for sure if the test cases will even be correct!
LeetCode: Coding Environment
In the LeetCode environment, there are a few additional perks. The most important is that they do focus on efficiency, which is crucial in coding interviews. LeetCode wants you to come up with a solution that is optimal and even tells you the efficiency of your solution. As you can see in the bottom right corner here, the submission tells you the Runtime and Memory of the code being run. A huge advantage over Codewars.
Additionally, the LeetCode site also has a debugger you can use to run through your code. However, this seems to be a premium-only feature. Nevertheless, if you’re willing to pay for it, it could be incredibly useful to understand your code better.
Codewars Supported Languages
Codewars has one of the highest language supports I have ever seen from a coding platform. Overall, there are 29 stable languages that range from, object-oriented, scripting, functional, and procedural languages. Having official support for functional languages like Haskell, Closure, and F# are really cool benefits in my opinion.
Additionally, there are also 26 beta languages that are supported by Codewars. This includes languages such as Julia and PowerShell.
You can view all the available languages here.
LeetCode Supported Languages
In total, LeetCode has support for 22 languages. Although some of these are ‘duplicated’, such as Python and Python3 or MySQL, Oracle SQL, and MS SQL Server. However, not all of these languages are supported for every challenge. More commonly you will see around 18 languages supported for a specific challenge.
This is mainly due to the fact that certain languages such as SQL and bash are not supported for every challenge.
You can view all the available languages here.
LeetCode vs Codewars: Pros & Cons
Educational Use and Job Prep
In terms of educational use and job prep, I have to say that LeetCode is the clear winner for a few reasons.
1. LeetCode Has Challenges More Similar To Job Interview Questions
The first reason why LeetCode is better than Codewars for job prep is that you are likely to see the same questions used in Job interviews. It is not uncommon for employers to pick questions that are used in LeetCode or Cracking The Coding Interview. LeetCode puts a lot more focus on helping you pass coding interviews and less on random challenges.
Codewars, on the other hand, have challenges that have been thought up by their members. So you are very unlikely to experience challenges that will be directly asked by an employer in an interview. Although they may be similar enough that you can solve the interview questions anyways.
2. LeetCode Premium Features For Interviews
In addition to this, LeetCode also has many premium features to help you in the process of applying for FAANG companies. If you want to land your dream job you can use their interview packages for Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, or Adobe! You can check out my review on the premium subscription here.
LeetCode For Job Interviews
Overall, if your primary concern is acing your job interviews LeetCode has a lot more resources, including free ones, that will help you land your dream job. The feature mentioned above that allows you to see how much memory and the efficiency of your algorithm is also incredibly useful. Although Codewars will also help you a lot in your journey, you are more likely to see a greater benefit, much faster with LeetCode.
Overall, I would say that both Codewars and LeetCode can be pretty addictive. If you’re the type of person who likes programming, feeling satisfaction after solving a difficult problem should be all the motivation that you need to keep utilizing either website.
However, I would have to say that the ranking system in Codewars can be a really strong benefit to the coding site in bringing its user back and pushing them to attempt tougher challenges. I mean, anyone ranked 1 Dan has some pretty great bragging rights within the platform!
On the other hand, LeetCode doesn’t have too much of a motivator to push you to try more difficult challenges. This means you might be spending more time than you should on the easiest problems and the progression may feel less like a video game than Codewars.
Reliability within LeetCode and Codewars is actually a really big deal and one of the major downsides of Codewars. Although it’s great to have a driven community ready to create difficult challenges for its users, it can be unreliable at times. Sometimes the test cases are incorrect, or there is some error in the description of the problem that makes the challenges confusing or impossible to solve. A very annoying thing to encounter if you just spent 3 hours trying to solve a problem!
Since LeetCode has a smaller amount of challenges that are created by a dedicated team, it makes it much more manageable to not commit these errors and increases the quality of the challenges overall.
Finally, let’s talk about the social community. I think Codewars has a much better social community than LeetCode. While everyone on LeetCode is there to nail their coding interview, you are likely to find more people passionate about algorithms on Codewars.
The implementation of clans on Codewars and users that are moderators also helps to give the platform a much more social dynamic. On Codewars, you feel more like you are part of a community than practicing algorithms alone. So if that is something that interests you, Codewars might be a better fit!
Verdict: Which Is Better, LeetCode vs Codewars?
So here we are! Which coding platform is actually better, Codewars vs LeetCode? Well, if you’ve read up to this point you probably already know which platform I like better. However, there are some specific reasons why you should go with either platform.
Choose Codewars if…
If you like the idea of learning in a more community-driven environment as you hone and perfect your coding skills, go with Codewars. With Codewars, you can benefit from a strong sense of community that LeetCode just doesn’t have. LeetCode’s hyperfocus on nailing the coding interview makes it a bit more impersonal, and its frequent requests to join the premium network can also make you feel like the creators really just want your money.
Choose LeetCode if…
You should choose LeetCode if your main goal is the pass your coding interviews and learn data structures and algorithms in the most streamlined way possible.
Although LeetCode does have a ton of premium features to help you on your journey, they are by no means necessary. You can learn a lot from the plethora of free learning material provided within the platform.
LeetCode knows exactly what hire companies are looking for and built its platform around preparing for exactly that.
Codewars vs LeetCode: Wrapping Up
Ultimately, no matter what coding platform you choose LeetCode and Codewars are both great options and will lead you down the right path to making you a better coder. However, I do believe that LeetCode does give you a greater benefit for your time if you are trying to ace your coding interviews. If you already have a job or don’t care about coding interviews, then Codewars can be a more fun and social experience that you may not get with LeetCode.
That about wraps it up! Our article on Codewars vs LeetCode, If you are new to coding and want to check out some free web development resources, check this out.
If you want to check out some great courses for development, check this out.