Interview Kickstart Review – Kicking Your Career Into Gear?

Written By John Sonmez

Quick Verdict

We recommend Interview Kickstart if:

  • you're an experienced professional
  • you're serious about leveling up in your current career, or
  • you're looking to make the switch to something more profitable
  • you're ready to make a significant investment
Overall Rating: 
4.5/5 stars

Quality of instruction

DOMAIN SPECIFICITY

INDIVIDUAL ATTENTION

community

motivating

price

Do you have considerable experience in your field, and are you fluent in at least one programming language? 


Then you’re set up to use an advanced online specialization like Interview Kickstart to reach a higher echelon in your career.


As is the case with almost anything nowadays: The race for tech jobs like Software Engineer is getting more competitive. Now is a great time to think about how you can set yourself apart – or possibly pivot into a more lucrative and in-demand field than the one you’re currently in. 


Interview Kickstart promises to get you there with just 4-18 weeks of going through one of their programs, plus a job hunt of less than 6 months.


Should their product be unable to hold that promise, they’re willing to refund you every dollar you’ve paid them. The company has a good track record of getting people into a new high-paying position quickly – and they’re willing to bet money on their ability to do so.


An in-depth review of Interview Kickstart

We’ll now go into the Interview Kickstart program in detail.


By the end, you should be able to tell whether it’s something that appeals to you or not.


The course is a considerable investment (more about IK’s pricing later) – but if it can actually deliver you its stated results, the payoff you get from it can be great, dare I say life-changing.


Our ratings explained

SP's Rating

how it's determined

Quality of instruction

Interview Kickstart is working with top-notch instructors, such as hiring managers at FAANG or specialists in senior positions.

To rate the instructors, we take into account their work history in leading positions at relevant companies, their professional specialization, and their ability and experience as teachers.

Specificity

With 18 specializations to choose from, IK prepares you for the exact job description you’re shooting for, and teaches you interview skills and strategies specific to the role.

Rating a course for specificity means judging whether it sticks to giving general advice for tech or software engineering interviews, or it offers a unique learning path for each of the different disciplines.

Individual attention

IK ticks all the boxes when it comes to personally assisting you during the program.

Here we look at how much feedback, individualized direction, and 1:1 coaching you can expect from a course.

Community

As a cohort-based course with many students signing up each time, you’ll have a big group of peers to share the journey with, gain motivation, and help each other out.

We ask the following questions when rating how community-oriented an interview prep course is: 

  • Are you doing group classes?
  • Is there a platform to interact with your peers?
  • Is the community large and active?

Motivating

Interview Kickstart’s bootcamp-style layout, gamified platform, and engaged community provide maximal motivation.

A course is rated motivating if it has a coherent, progressive structure, the presentations are engaging, there’s frequent assessments, and a community who is doing it with you.

Price

At $2400 for their entry-level courses up to $9800 for the most sophisticated ones, IK’s fees are high.

The price scale is simple: A free or cheap course gets a five-star rating, and the more expensive programs will be rated worse in this regard.

I’ve heard enough already - Let me join the webinar!

Before you can enroll with Interview Kickstart, you’ll need to go through a webinar hosted by Ryan Valles, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Accel and co-founder at IK.


This is to explain their offer to you in detail, so you can better decide whether or not the program is a good fit and it makes sense for you to invest in it.


If you already have a strong feeling it could be for you or you simply want to hear the information straight from the horse’s mouth — go ahead and:


 → Sign up for the free introductory webinar right away ←

Getting on with the review: Quick summary of IK’s online bootcamp

Instructors

500+ experienced FAANG & Tier-1 interviewers with specialized expertise in different fields

Available Specializations

AWS Cloud Solutions Architecture, Data Science and Data Engineering, Embedded Systems, Engineering Management, Front-End and Back-End Engineering, Full-Stack Engineering, iOS and Android Engineering, Machine Learning, Product Management, Security Engineering, Site Reliability Engineering, Technical Program Management, Test Engineering

Aimed at

Passing interviews at high-profile tech companies

Duration

4-18 weeks

Price

$2400-$11000

Quick Pros & Cons

What does Interview Kickstart do better (or worse) than other interview programs?


To see that at a glance, check out this quick list of pros & cons:

  • You can choose from many specialized programs while most courses prepare you for general Software Engineering coding interviews

  • You get guaranteed success or your money back
  • It’s available in 11 different programming languages vs. just 1-3

  • You do individualized coaching sessions vs. only pre-recorded lessons

  • You’ll learn behavioral skills, salary negotiation and career strategy – not just solving coding questions

  • You’ll do workshops on building your resume and LinkedIn bio services and get them reviewed by experts

  • You can request the right instructor for you (out of 500+ FAANG+ seniors), you’re not stuck with someone who might not suit you well

  • You learn interview questions by their patterns vs. memorizing solutions

  • You can take advantage of 15 mock interviews included in the program – you won’t have to go to another service to do them

  • You’ll be supported by a 5000-strong community of peers vs having to go through a course all on your own

  • You can do the program in the evenings or on weekends, so you won’t have to take time off work to go through it

  • It's a considerable investment
  • If you only need assistance in one area, purchasing the whole course just for that isn't really feasible
  • You’ll need to commit at least one to three months to a course, and another few months to hunting for a job that matches your new skills

Want to learn more about how Interview Kickstart works and what it offers, directly from one of the founders? → Sign up for their free webinar here.

Course Overview

Interview Kickstart's Features


The instructors are the real deal


As of 2023, Interview Kickstart now has over 500 instructors working for them.


The course leaders have 5-15+ years of experience in their specific fields, and many of them are hiring managers at top tech companies themselves. 


This means they’ll not only teach you to a high level in your exact domain — but they’ll also be able to give you the inside scoop on what’s needed to pass your interview at FAANG or other premium tech companies. 

Another cool thing is that you can request specific instructors – so you don’t have to worry about being taught by someone who isn’t the best fit for the type of role you want to get into (this can be a problem with some of the other programs out there).


Everything is live


With other tech interview prep courses, the lessons you get on how to solve coding questions or how to best approach the interview process are pre-recorded.


Not so with Interview Kickstart: All of their classes are an interactive live experience.


Sure, that includes introductory presentations by an expert instructor. But more importantly, they’ll be coaching the group through coding problems and case studies, simulate interview situations for everybody to learn from, and provide you with direct feedback.


On top of that, IK’s instructors will answer any and all questions raised during the live calls.


Mastering interview questions - they’ve got you covered


Interview Kickstart has access to 10,000+ interview questions.


You won’t have to sift through all of those by yourself, of course. They’ll tell you which questions you should practice based on their experience as FAANG+ interviewers.


Follow the roadmap that’s laid out for you and you’ll be optimally prepared. Yes, the most frequently asked coding interview questions don't stay the same forever.


But just the fact they have this massive database means they’re at the heels of tech companies, and if they see them change the types of questions asked, IK can catch up quickly. 


As opposed to other courses, where you’re stuck with their small pool of questions.


Their all-in-one learning platform ‘UpLevel’


It’s nice to work directly inside Interview Kickstart’s platform, see your schedule and the progress you’ve made, as well as take tests and even conduct mock interviews.


There’s a built-in online judge for any assignment you do inside UpLevel, so you’re getting instant feedback on your efforts solving coding questions.


You’ll also get alerts for any upcoming classes and activities, and you’re able to access 100,000+ hours of past classes. 


All this is of course in addition to the live group instruction and 1:1 coaching.

 

Career coaching to get you ready for a top-tier job


The career coaching portion of IK’s online bootcamp includes coaching you towards creating your best resume, polishing your LinkedIn Bio and building up your personal brand.


Then there’s the live behavioral workshops, where you learn the secrets to impressing at your behavioral interview and sticking in your interviewer’s mind because of the soft skills you’ve managed to display.

 

They’ll even teach you all about negotiating your salary and benefits, so you win the most amount of money from your next job offer.


Many opportunities for feedback and 1:1 training


It’s not just the group classes that allow you to get direct feedback from your instructors.


Every day, you’ll also be able to do coaching calls with an expert who will answer your questions in detail and personally go through solutions with you.


These sessions will take you on the fast track to cracking your next interview and advancing your career.


Pricing & Fees

Interview Kickstart requires you to invest at least $2400 to take any of their courses. This is for the one- to two-month Boosts. The full specializations cost at least $5600. There’s two options you can choose from for their longer programs: 

  1. Either you pay $600 for a trial, which allows you to quit before you complete the course without paying more. If you keep going, you’ll have to pay at least $5600 on top, so it’ll come out to a total of at least $6200.
  2. The second option is to pay $5600 upfront for full access to the program, saving you $600 – but you won’t be able to withdraw after the first week. 

Of course, remember you’re still getting the 100% money-back placement guarantee: If you finish the course with diligence, but you’re not able to get a job within the post-program support period, they’ll refund you everything.


Plus: In case you’re torn about which program at Interview Kickstart is best for you, you can switch over to another within three weeks at no further cost.


Is it worth the considerable investment?

On average, Interview Kickstart alumni manage to make 53% more than they did before taking the course. For most, this means a boost in their yearly salary of at least mid five-figures.


So after 1-2 months working at the superior position IK’s online bootcamp allowed you to get into, you’ll have made back your money spent on the course fee.


The potentially many years of profit after that would make the – admittedly considerable – $2400+ initial investment well worth it.

   

Courses in Detail

  • early engineering

  • Back-end Engineering

  • Data Engineering

  • Technical Program Manager

Early Engineering

The Early Engineering Course is Interview Kickstart’s entry-level bootcamp. If you’re a college student, newly graduated, or a Software Engineer with little experience, this program turns you into the DSA & problem-solving expert top-tier tech companies are looking to hire.

Cost

$4800

Length

8 weeks + 6 months support period

Work required per week

Around 12 hours per week (includes live online classes)

Training outline

5 weeks of Data Structures and Algorithms classes, 3 weeks of career coaching lessons, 6-month support period to help you nail interviews and get a great job

Specific curriculum elements

Algorithms, Recursion, Trees, Graphs, Dynamic Programming, Interview Strategy and Success, Behavioral Interview Prep, Offers and Negotiation, Advanced DSA & problem-solving, Mock interviews, 1:1 coaching

  • Full Stack Engineering

  • Site Reliability Engineering

  • Data Science

  • Front-end Engineering

Full-Stack Engineering

Are you a Full Stack Engineer looking to get to the top of your game – or a Software Developer looking to become a Full Stack Engineer? Then check out this Full Stack online bootcamp by Interview Kickstart. It promises to get you a high-paying job at a tier-1 tech company.

Cost

$7200

Length

16 weeks + 6 months support period

Work required per week

10-12 hours per week

Training outline

5 weeks of Data Structures and Algorithms coding classes, 3 weeks of System Design, 5 weeks of Full Stack Domain, 3 weeks Career Coaching, 6 months support period
5 weeks of Data Structures and Algorithms coding classes, 3 weeks of System Design, 5 weeks of Full Stack Domain, 3 weeks Career Coaching, 6 months support period

Specific curriculum elements

Databases, API Design and Implementation, Cloud Infrastructure, JavaScript and Web Development, UI System Design

  • iOS Engineering

  • Product Manager (Tech)

  • Embedded Systems

  • Android Engineering

iOS Engineering

If you’re a current or former iOS Engineer, this deep-dive will sharpen your coding fundamentals, specific mobile development expertise and career skills to the point that you’re highly valuable to the most prominent potential employers.

Cost

$5600

Length

15 weeks + 6 months support period

Work required per week

10-12 hours per week

Training outline

5 weeks of Data structures and Algorithms classes, 3 weeks of System Design, 4 weeks iOS Engineering Masterclass, 3 weeks of Career Coaching, 6 months support period

Specific curriculum elements

UI Programming Module, Fetching and Handling Data Module, Data Persistence Module, iOS Systems Design Module

  • Security Engineering

  • Machine Learning

  • Test Engineering

  • AWS Cloud Solutions Architect

Security Engineering

This course is aimed towards Security Analysts, Application Security Engineers, Security Architects, Security Support Engineers, Test Engineers, Site Reliability Engineers and Cloud Security/Support Engineers, as well as current or former Security Engineers who want to max out their existing skills.


After completing this course, you’ll be equipped to impress at even the hardest interviews at prestigious tech companies.

Cost

$7200

Length

16 weeks + 6 months support period

Work required per week

10-12 hours per week

Training outline

5 weeks of Data Structures and Algorithms, 3 weeks of System Design, 5 weeks Security Engineering Masterclass, 3 weeks of Career Coaching, 6 months support period

Specific curriculum elements

Applied Cryptography, Network Security, Cloud Security, Application Security, Security Themed Coding, Code Reviews, Secure System Design, and Security Policies

  • Data Analyst & Business Analyst

  • Engineering Manager

Data Analyst & Business Analyst

This course, aimed at current or former Business Analysts/Data Analysts/Product Analysts/Business Intelligence Analysts/ Business Intelligence Engineers, turns you into a highly proficient Data & Business Analyst, ready to win the hardest interviews and get a lucrative job.

Cost

$6200

Length

14 weeks + 6 months support period

Work required per week

10-12 hours per week

Training outline

3 weeks of Coding, 6 weeks of Data Analytics & Business Analytics Concepts classes, 2 weeks of System Design, 3 weeks of Career Skills, 6 months support period

Specific curriculum elements

Coding for Analysts, Probability and Statistics, Data Analytics & Business Analytics, Understanding Business Needs and Decision-Making, Visualizations Tools (Tableau), Advanced Analytics, Application (Case Studies)

How your online bootcamp will go - IK courses outline

As mentioned, the classes run on evenings and weekends, so you don’t miss anything because of your work schedule.

 

This is how IK’s programs are laid out:


Mastering the fundamentals first

One of Interview Kickstart’s strengths is how specific their courses are to the field and position you want to be working in.


But, this doesn’t mean they’re neglecting computer science fundamentals. In almost all of their programs, they’ll have you spend the first two months taking these foundational classes. 


Not only will mastering all aspects of Data Structures and Algorithms & System Design make you a stronger Engineer in your field – these topics also make up the majority of most tech interviews, so you’ll be well served by being highly skilled in them.


Masterclasses in your chosen specific domain

After you’ve laid the foundation of expert knowledge in DSA & System Design, you’ll be ready to take a deep-dive into your field of choice.


In a 4-6 week intensive class, you’ll learn the ins and outs of your field of choice. Once you’ve gone through it, you’ll have gained a valuable specific skillset that’ll set you apart from other candidates.


Leveling up your career skills through insider presentations, mock interviews and 1:1 coaching calls

In addition to the technical classes, each of Interview Kickstart’s courses offers 3 weeks of career coaching.


This will teach you all about the best strategy to succeed at your interview, how to prepare for the behavioral part, and how to negotiate once you’ve passed the interview.


Making sure you get your dream job with 6 months of support

Because of their strong money-back guarantee, IK are committed to supporting you as much as possible in your job hunt.


For 180 days after you’ve completed your course, you’ll be able to access all materials.


What’s more, you can take up to 15 mock interviews during this time, and request 1:1 coaching about any technical or career-related topic.


Your weekly schedule

Thursdays

You’ll receive the upcoming week's course materials
You’ll do a 3-hour leadership group workshop

Saturdays

You’ll complete tests and review your assignments

Sundays

You’ll do a 3-hour leadership group workshop including mini mock interviews & feedback

Mondays - Wednesdays

You’ll practice interview questions & problem-solving, with live discussions and instruction

Every Day

You can work with your instructors one on one for individual feedback, questions and coaching

Reviews & Testimonials

Here’s what Marvin Gersho had to say about his experience with the interview prep program. He ended up being hired at Amazon as a Solutions Architect.

Along with many other positive reviews, Interview Kickstart published this testimonial by Neleesh Tendulkar, for example – he managed to get offers from Intuit and Google:

Neelesh Tendulkar's Review of IK

Of course, any company will put nothing but good reviews on their own site. But you can verify the success these people have attained, and the sheer number of real, favorable reviews is a good indicator that IK’s course works well.


Plus, even on review sites like Quora most posters (among those with a verifiable identity and job placement) have good things to say about Interview Kickstart’s program, such as Jeremy Davies, formerly at Amazon:

What Jeremy Davies had to say about Interview Kickstart

The biggest criticism across the board seems to be pricing – which is understandable given the ~$6000 price tag. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether making such a large up-front investment into your career development is worth it to you at this time.


Final Verdict: Should you buy Interview Kickstart?

My recommendation:


Take one of Interview Kickstart’s specialization courses if you’re committed to climbing the career ladder at your current company, or getting hired for a high-paying position (potentially for a new job description) elsewhere. 


Only then does it make sense to spend the money on the program: When you know you’re going to give it your all, and you can clearly see how your investment will pay off in the near future.


Buy IK if:

  • you’re serious about putting months of focused work into the course AND the job hunt after that

  • you’re willing to invest mid to high four figures to take the next step in your career

How to Enroll

As mentioned, you can’t enroll in the course directly. Here’s how enrolment works with IK:

  1. → Sign up for cofounder Ryan Valles’ free webinar to learn more about the program and exact pricing.

  2. Then, you’ll be able to pick your specialization and join the next cohort.

FAQ

Is it any good?

IK has good reviews and and impressive track record: Their alumni have received salary increases between $75k-$200k last year, with many of them receiving multiple lucrative offers from top companies. Interview Kickstart holds its promises – if you’d like to level up your tech career, it’s one of the best resources out there.

How long is it?

Depending on which domain and format you choose, Interview Kickstart’s courses run for between 4-18 weeks. In addition to those, you get a 6 months long support period with extra coaching and feedback. If you include this, the total timeframe from enrolment to getting a job offer using Interview Kickstart comes out to around 10 months.

Is it good for coding interviews?

The main focus is for you to master coding interviews in your chosen domain – so yes, Interview Kickstart is excellent at preparing you to solve tough coding problems, handle the different demands of tech interviews, and land a top-tier job. During their 12-18 week program, you’ll crack 100+ questions with the help and feedback from expert interviewers at FAANG+ companies.

Is it good for Systems Design?

Interview Kickstart is good for Systems Design, too – each of their programs includes 3 weeks of classes especially on this topic. Learning Systems Design at a high level will then make the position-specific parts of IK’s program easier and more effective for you.

Interview Kickstart vs. Leetcode - which is better?

Compared to Leetcode’s free or paid level, Interview Kickstart is much more thorough. Think of it as an online bootcamp laser-focused on what you need to win interviews and get jobs in your exact domain. While Leetcode is a great resource as well, it requires you to manually sift through hundreds of questions.

 
Then you need to come up with your own preparation plan. In general, it takes much more effort and self-responsibility to make it work for you. For those who don’t mind investing a good amount into their career, in return for a quasi-guaranteed profitable outcome, Interview Kickstart is a great choice.