As the name suggests, competitive programming is a kind of sport wherein you write code using your programming skills for some exciting and challenging problems. Competitive programming works under a few rules like memory limits of the program and timing of execution. This is all included in the process of winning a competition. It also requires you to solve the maximum number of problems in a specific period.
With so many programming languages to choose from, beginners often find it confusing to pick the best language to start with. For that, let’s look at…
What language should you choose?
While there is no boundation on the language one can opt for, it’s often one of the three major languages that a candidate chooses. Those include:
- C++: The programmers highly recommend language C++. The reason behind it is high speed. Algorithm implementation here is straightforward. C++ is allowed in all kinds of competitions.
- C: For programmers already familiar with C, it is advised that they strengthen their grip on the language for competitive programming. After all, known as the mother of all programming language, C might not be the fastest language there is, but the amount of control it provides the programmers over their code is unparalleled.
- Java: Unlike C++, Java isn’t an extremely fast language. However, there are reasons in favour of using Java as your main competitive programming language. One of those reasons includes the BigInteger Library present in Java, that allows computation of large quantities like Factorials, Modulus, Exponentials, and much more.
Having picked a sword for the battle now is the time to know some essentials to emerge victorious in competitive programming:
Master the Basics
The moment you get a hold on to the syntax of the language, now it’s time to write some real code. You can start with simple problems that only require implementation skills. In this step, you should stick with your own coding style. Coding style usually refers to the pattern of your code for example- including a lot of spaces, putting the opening and closing braces in different lines etc.
EVERYONE WHO IS ANYONE IN THE PROGRAMMING FIELD SHOULD HAVE THEIR PERSONAL CODING STYLE.
Two things that you should always keep in mind while coding is:
Readability: No matter how carefully we write the code, there is always a possibility of a bug appearing. However, to debug it, you have to write a decipherable code. If the code is readable and easy to follow, it automatically makes debugging easy.
Ease of implementation: There are times when you’re writing long lines of code. You obviously don’t want to get consumed with your own work. So, please take a few minutes before implementing the code rather than consuming a large amount of time later.
Master Algorithms and Data Structures:
There is no simple way to master a field. You have to find an alternative way to work efficiently. The factors you should consider while learning Algorithms and Data Structures are as follows:
1. Your prior knowledge of Data Structures and Algorithms: It will take much less time for you to master DS & Algos if you have an understanding of the basics for example., Linked Lists, Sorting, Arrays or searching etc. However, a passionate mind can still catch up with the rest of the crowd even if you are starting from scratch.
2. Purpose of learning DS and Algo: If your sole purpose of learning Data Structures and Algorithms is competitive programming, you should keep your focus on complex problems. It is the most effective way to improve your skills. After you have solved a bunch of those complicated problems, the rest of them will seem to be very easy to encounter.
3. Resources Available: Suitable resources play a crucial part in the training of competitive programming. Make sure the tutorials are detailed enough to provide you with clear concepts. Try to practice on a successful set of questions.
4. A Guide: Now that the purpose of your learning, tutorials, set of question papers is all sorted, you still need guidance for ‘where to start?’. This is the part where our team of professionals at coding ninjas will help you walk through it.
Aforementioned were a few tips and tricks to develop your skills for competitive programming. Following them thoroughly will make you grow relentlessly. And, during the journey, if you find yourself stuck, visit us as we offer courses designed around competitive programming which help you tackle even the most difficult of the problems you’ll encounter!