If you’re passionate about coding and love to solve challenging algorithms, then the Google Coding Jam coding competition is just for you! Did you know that around 49.6% of coders begin writing their first codes between the ages of 16 to 20?
Not just that, almost 36% of those who start coding after 26 witnesses positive career growth and go on to become senior-level developers. Sounds interesting?
Well, then, read on! This post is a comprehensive guide on the Google Coding Jam – a global coding competition to inspire the programmer in you. It’ll walk you through the details of the Google Coding Jam, starting from registration, exam pattern and eligibility criteria to the best preparation tips!
What is Google Coding Jam?
Code Jam is Google’s prestigious coding competition, a global battleground that urges all programmers to showcase their coding skills. A thrilling opportunity for all code-lovers, Google Coding Jam is a one-of-a-kind platform where programmers are pitted against each other and against time by putting their coding skills to test. The champion gets the coveted Google Code Jam winning title and cash prize of $15,000!
The Google Coding Jam comprises several rounds and a Code Jam World final. Each round brings with it challenging algorithmic problems; contestants have to pass each of these preliminary rounds, and finally, a total of 25 coding wizards reach the end game to fight for the cherished champion’s title.
Does that sound thrilling? Then, here are all the Google Coding Jam details you’ll need to know.
Google Coding Jam Contest Structure
Before you can participate in any of the Google Coding Jam rounds, you are required to create a contest profile and register yourself. Following registration, there are several rounds of the contest. Here are the details of the exam pattern:
- The Code Jam contest begins with an online qualification round that lasts 30 hours. Contestants have to score a minimum qualifying point (within 30 hours) to clear this round and progress to the next stage.
- The qualification round is followed by online Round 1 with three sub-rounds. Contestants can participate in as many of these sub-rounds to end up in the top 1,500 of any of these rounds.
- The top 1,500 from each of the sub-rounds of Round 1 go on to the next stage – online Round 2. The second round ends with the top 1,000 contestants who proceed to online Round 3 and earn a limited edition and exclusive Code Jam T-shirt.
- After battling it out in the Code Jam Round 3, the top 25 contestants move on to compete in the ultimate stage – the Virtual World Finals, and only the best wins the championship title and the cash prize.
Eligibility Criteria for Google Coding Jam
Participation in the Google Code Jam entails certain eligibility criteria.
Here are the details:
- Age: Contestants must be of at least 16 years of age at the time of registering for the Google Coding Jam. However, contestants can participate in a final round of the Google Code Jam only if they are at least 18 years old (or the age of majority in their country of residence) at the time of initial registration for Code Jam.
- The contest is prohibited in Quebec, North Korea, Iran and Crimea.
- Conditions for ineligibility/disqualification: Contestants will be immediately disqualified if they are:
- A resident of North Korea, Crimea or Iran.
- A resident of Quebec, Canada.
- A resident of a country where the contest is prohibited.
- A current intern, employee, officer, contractor or director of Google, Alphabet or any of their affiliates.
- Access to the interest and a valid Google account is mandatory to enter the Google Coding Jam.
How to Register for Google Coding Jam?
Wondering how to register for the Google Code Jam? Here is a detailed guide on creating a profile and registering for the contest:
- Before registering for Google Coding Jam, you have to create a contest profile at g.co/codingcompetitions.
- Whether you’re participating in Google Code Jam or Hash Code, you need to register for each contest separately.
- Only one valid contest profile is required to register for the contests.
- Ensure that all the information you provide during profile creation and registration is correct, complete and in English.
Preparation Tips for Google Coding Jam
Google Code Jam is a prestigious contest for the best coding minds. No doubt, the best way to ace it is to have an efficient and sustainable preparation strategy. If you’re clueless about where to begin, then check out the following preparation tips for the Google Code Jam:
- Computer Science topics: Needless to say, a coding contest makes no sense without hardcore computer science topics. Hence, contestants must have a thorough knowledge of the basics, including:
- I/O fundamentals of the programming language being used
- Syntax and built-in data structures such as sets and arrays
- Defining and invoking functions
- Manipulating lists and strings
- Using control structures
- Time complexity analysis
- Algorithms and strategies such as binary search, greedy algorithms, Djikstra’s algorithm and dynamic programming
- Common data structures such as hash tables, priority queues and binary search trees
- Mathematics topics: Besides having a strong foothold over topics from computer science, an aptitude for mathematical concepts is equally crucial for the contest. It is recommended that you brush up your fundamentals on basic number theory, probability, permutations and combinations, and other mathematical concepts usually incorporated in the secondary school curriculum.
- As much as problem-solving skills are essential, contestants must also fulfil some programming language prerequisites. Here is a list of all the programming languages that are supported, and contestants must be familiar with at least one of them.
Previously Asked Questions in Google Coding Jam
Here are some previously asked questions from the Google Code Jam contest to give you an idea of the level of problems and help you prepare better:
World Finals 2020 – One of the problems of the Virtual World Finals 2020, called “Pack the Slopes,” was related to the organisation of a group of skiers taking a trip to a mountain. It was a minimum cost maximum flow problem where a detailed skiing plan was given and the contestants had to figure out a solution to put the maximum number of skiers on the mountain and minimise the possible expense for the trip at the same time.
World Finals 2019 – The “Won’t sum? Must now” problem in the World Finals of 2019 was related to palindromic terms. For a given positive integer S, the contestants had to find K palindromic terms that summed to S such that K was minimised.
World Finals 2018 – One of the 2018 World Finals problems was “Swordmaster” which included a detailed description of a duel. Winning against each opponent at least once makes one the swordmaster. Knowing which defences and attacks each opponent know, the Code Jam finalists were asked if it was possible to guarantee the title of the swordmaster regardless of the choices the opponents made.
World Finals 2017 – The “Dice Straight” problem of the 2017 World Finals described a set of six-sided dice with six different positive integers on each of their six faces. Different dice had different numberings. The contestants were required to find the longest arrangement of dice placed in a row such that the faces on the top show consecutive integers (that is, they form a straight).
Frequently Asked Questions
Participation and registration are open to any programmer who is at least 16 years old. However, contestants must be at least 18 years old to participate in the final round of Google Code Jam.
The winner of Google Code Jam 2020 was Gennady Korotkevich (representing Belarus). He was the seventh time winner in a row.
You can practice previously asked questions on Google Coding Jam and submit your solutions in the practice mode. Problems from past Code Jams can be accessed on the Google Code Jam Archive Page.
The problems in Google Code Jam have a wide range in terms of difficulty. Brushing up the basics such as programming languages, computer science topics, mathematics topics and thorough practice of previously asked questions are the best ways to prepare for the Jam.
Google Hash Code is a team-based programming competition where contestants can pick their team and programming language and have to solve an engineering problem assigned to them. The difficulty level will vary with the problem. The best way to prepare for it is to practice past years’ Hash Code problems along with your teammates.
No, Google Code Jam is simply a global coding competition for programming enthusiasts.
The Google Code Jam Qualification Round, Round 1, Round 2 and Round 3 are held online. The World Finals are held at one of the different international Google offices each year.
You will receive a Code Jam certificate if you make at least one submission in the Qualification Round. If you progress through the subsequent rounds, then your certificate will be updated accordingly. Certificates will be available after the completion of a round on your contest profile.
After you have successfully registered for the contest, you will receive a confirmation email from firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check the status of your registration by checking the homepage and schedule page of the contest from your Google account.
Google Coding Jam is a great way to test and enhance your coding abilities while competing with the best minds from around the world. If you think you have what it takes to bring home the coveted Google Code Jam championship title and the cash prize, then kick-start your preps right away!
Here are some key takeaways before you sign up for the Google Code Jam contest:
- Carefully read the Code Jam Terms and Rules to ensure that you are eligible to participate in the contest
- Provide complete and accurate information while registering
- Brush up your basics of computer science, mathematics and programming languages
- Practice as many past editions of Code Jam problems as you can
Practice can take you a long way in acing the Code Jam. Get started today!