So, you’re thinking of buying LeetCode premium and are wondering if the price tag is worth it? Especially with all the free coding challenge platform alternatives, you could choose from? If so, you have come to the right place. As I too have faced the same problem you have and am now here to help!
Well, let me start off by saying that answer is highly dependent on where you are in your coding journey. As you will see a much higher benefit if you already exhausted the free features of LeetCode and have the relevant skills for the job.
if you are trying to become a web developer and still don’t have the basic skills or a degree, it may not be worth the investment just yet.
But don’t worry! In this article, we are going to break down exactly how you should be using LeetCode to get the full benefit from it and when to start using LeetCode Premium to make it truly worth your money.
Is LeetCode Premium Worth It If I Have Little To No Experience With Data Structures and Algorithms?
Let’s get this out of the way now before we dive into the premium features. No, I do not think LeetCode Premium is worth it if you are just getting started learning Data Structures and Algorithms. Even less if you haven’t even picked a language to learn them with yet!
Below I will break down why, as most pro features really aren’t necessary. However, the most important thing to know is that you should really just be focused on the top 100 questions when you get started with LeetCode.
These questions are the most likely to be asked in interviews and if you have them down, will give you a solid foundation in answering DSA questions on every major topic.
Are The LeetCode Premium Features Worth It?
In this section, I am going to break down what each premium feature does and whether or not it will be helpful. Read through this section carefully! When I first got started with LeetCode I thought some of these features would be very helpful, but I ended up finding better alternatives for free.
1. Are LeetCode Premium Videos Worth It?
This was initially one of the major reasons I wanted LeetCode premium in the first place. Having access to premium videos that would help me solve problems sounded like a dream! Needless to say, looking through the discussion forum for poorly written or confusing solutions was more than enough reason for me to pay the premium price for LeetCode.
But wait! If you follow my advice and start with those first 100 top challenges, there is an amazing youtube channel that will break these problems down for you in a simple and effective manner. They even give you a really clean solution in Python so you can see how the code is written.
That channel is NeetCode.
I have no affiliation with him, but that account is by far the best you will find. Even better than the premium solutions given by LeetCode. Just go to youtube and type in “neetcode problem name” and the solution should pop up!
2. Question Frequency
In LeetCode premium, question frequency refers to how often a question is seen in an interview setting. This means you are more likely to see this question and that it is a better representative of a good DSA question that is worth practicing.
Personally, I think this is the most useful feature in LeetCode premium and the one you should use after going through the top 100 questions on the platform.
The frequency filter means you can now go through each major DSA subject in LeetCode such as binary search, depth-first search, breadth-first search, greedy algorithms, dynamic algorithms, sorting algorithms, etc., and solve the most common problems first.
This means you won’t waste your time on questions that aren’t high quality and be more likely to see the given problem in an interview.
This should be the bulk of your time on LeetCode and is the main reason I would recommend LeetCode premium!
3. Select Questions by Company
This premium feature allows you to sort LeetCode questions by the companies that ask them in interviews. While this feature can be really useful if you are applying for jobs at Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, or any of the companies listed in the image above, it’s not always necessary.
If you are just starting out, you are still better off completing those top 100 questions first and being well-versed in all major domains of DSA mentioned in section 2. Then, if you think this feature will help, focus on the questions asked by these companies.
I don’t think this feature will make or break your interviews, but it could certainly give you an advantage over your fellow interviewees. Especially if you see one of these questions in your interview!
4. The Rest: AutoComplete, Debugger, Unlimited Playgrounds, Lightning Judge, Interview Simulation
I decided to group the rest of these features together because they are all pretty minuscule compared to the three mentioned above.
While having the autocomplete and debugger features would be nice, they are nothing you can’t find outside of the platform if you really needed them in any IDE of your choice. You could simply copy and paste your solution and use them there.
Having unlimited playgrounds is also not very useful. Why would you ever have more than 10 sessions going on at once? You should be focused on one problem at a time, not +10!
Lightning Judgement simply refers to running and checking your code faster. Again, it would be a nice addition but nothing crazy since it only takes about 3-10 seconds to run against all test suites anyways.
Finally, the interview simulation simply generates a random challenge and gives you a time limit to solve it. Once again something you could very easily do and track on your own.
All of these features really just rely on being a time-saver or a ‘nice to have’ addon. Nothing you really need, nor justify the price tag by themselves. Personally, I think you should base your decision on the first three features before these.
When Will I See The Most Value From LeetCode Premium?
To reiterate, you should not buy LeetCode premium if you are just starting out on your data structures and algorithms journey (if you decide to buy it at all).
First, you should have exhausted the first top 100 questions, and have a good feel for the platform. You should also feel job ready. Meaning you have the frontend, backend, or whatever skills you need to be a competent member of the job you are applying for before buying premium. Why pay for months of premium you won’t be using because you still need to learn other skills?
Then you can start studying section by section, starting at the highest frequency problems and keep solving problems until you have the patterns nailed down.
After that, focus on the company problems that you want to work at, such as google, amazon, Facebook, etc.
By using LeetCode, you make studying section by section way more efficient and can filter by specific jobs.
What If I Decide Not To Buy LeetCode Premium?
Ultimately, it is your decision to buy LeetCode Premium or not and decide if the premium features are worth the money. However, when I was going through questions randomly, I found that many questions did not help me with my DSA knowledge as much as others and/or were focused on clever algebra to get the best answers and not what you will be tested on in interviews. Which is data structures and algorithms!
While this isn’t the biggest deal in the world, I did find I would be spending my time much more efficiently if I knew which problems were most likely to show up in interviews and most closely reflected the DSA subjects I was focusing on learning at the time.
How Much Does LeetCode Premium Cost?
As of the time of writing this article, LeetCode pricing will cost you $35/month or $13.25/month per year. You can find the updated price here.
Honestly, it’s quite a big difference! The yearly subscription (billed annually) is 2.64x cheaper than the monthly subscription.
So should you choose the monthly or yearly subscription?
Personally, I would bite the bullet and yet the yearly subscription. If you plan on using LeetCode for at least 5 of the 12 months of the next year, it will be cheaper. Which you will likely have to do if you have never studied algorithms and data structures before.
Even if you have a job, “a LeetCode question a day, keeps unemployment away!”
Sorry, had to do it.
Anyways, think you can be job ready in 1-5 months? Don’t plan on studying more for the remaining 7-11 months? I would go with the monthly subscription.
Final Thoughts: Is LeetCode Premium Worth It?
Ultimately, I think LeetCode Premium is certainly worth the price tag it comes with! Especially if you are applying for a specific job that has a question bank in LeetCode.
However, depending on your circumstances, it may not be the right decision for you right now. If you are new to DSA, still need to learn other skills, or just don’t have the budget. Stick with the free version for now. If you think that the premium videos, question frequency filter, and job interview question bank features will drastically reduce your total study hours. Pull the trigger and buy premium.
Ultimately, buying LeetCode premium is an investment. If you land a good job, you will very quickly earn the money you put into it back. However, if you really don’t have the money to invest, I think it is possible to land a good job without premium.
In the end, it is up to you to decide if the premium features mentioned above are worth the $13 – 35 price tag per month attached to LeetCode Premium.
As always, good luck and happy coding!
In addition, check out my list of LeetCode alternatives here if you are looking for a different platform to study with.