Have you ever seen people posting that they received internships, swags from coding challenges, or contests? You want to try them too, but you don’t know where to start? Then you are on the right page; just think of all your questions about coding contest, and this blog will answer each of them by the end.
But first, let’s take an example of why we need to prove ourselves best. If you want to be the best cricket player, can you do that by just practising? No, you have to prove yourself, get the better of others, and conquer the battle because it is a precept that “More lessons are learnt on the sports field than in the classroom”.
Thus you need to take part in tournaments and upgrade yourself. Similarly, if you want to be the most exemplary coder, you have to face challenges and showcase your programming skills. The best way to do the same is Coding Competitions.
These contests offer young, talented students and programmers the opportunity to measure their capabilities and compare themselves to other programmers worldwide, motivating them to practice more. These competitions also provide you with swags, jobs, internship opportunities, scholarships, mentorships, etc.
What are coding competitions?
Coding competitions are primarily conducted in virtual environments so that people can participate from all over the world.
Coding teaches you how to think?Steve Jobs
They teach you to think from different perspectives. In most coding competitions, you will have some problem statements; you need to solve them considering time, space complexity. You always need to optimise your code; optimising shows you are a good programmer.
Coding competitions include hackathons too. In hackathons, you need to build a project based on an organisations’ problem statements or themes. You need to design your whole idea with a prototype and present it to the judges; this develops your presentation skills, teamwork, and network. Hackathons are the best way to improve your productivity.
Let’s talk about top programming contests worldwide and the perks of participating in them.
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Top Coding Contests
We’ve put together the following list of some of the most popular coding websites that conduct coding contest where you can level up your skills for many roles, from popular data science to software development. Most of them are annual competitions, but a few are continuous so that anyone can participate at any time.
These competitions are public so that participants can use C, C++, Java, Python, C#, .NET, or any other programming language at per individuals convenience. Most companies hire through these contests; for example, if you win the Microsoft Imagine Cup, you can get the mentor sessions with Microsoft’s CEO (Chief Executive Officer).
Most companies use Hackerrank to hire interns like American Express. These platforms provide the opportunities to meet new people, share knowledge, and develop new skills.
1. THE ACM-ICPC INTERNATIONAL COLLEGIATE PROGRAMMING CONTEST
ACM-ICPC is an acronym for “Association for Computing Machinery–International Collegiate Programming Contest.”
- The Alpha Chapter of the UPE Computer Science Honor Society hosts it every year.
- It is one of the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contests in the world.
- The contest participants come from over 2,000 universities spread across 80 countries and six continents.
- The contest fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new software programs and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure.
- The contest can have several problems (8 to 10) of varying difficulty levels and mostly being algorithmic.
Check out ICPC’s Official Website for more information.
- Topcoder is a crowdsourcing company with a welcoming global community of designers, developers, data scientists, and competitive programmers.
- They conduct twice a year, both online and on-location tournaments, and take on challenges from the world’s leading brands such as IMB, Google, and eBay.
- They also conduct individual matches every week in an online and automated format called “Single Round Match”(SRM). It helps in augmenting and recreating our learning in this age of cutthroat competition.
- They guide through SRM’s which make the event funny and quite exciting.
3. GOOGLE’S CODING COMPETITIONS
- Google’s Coding Competitions are meant to excite, challenge, and test coders around the world.
- Google conducts three coding contests every year, and everyone can register around the world.
- Google Code Jam is an annual programming competition in which professional and student programmers are asked to solve complex algorithmic challenges in a limited amount of time. This program starts in April and lasts up to August, and there will be five rounds.
You need at least 30 points to move into the next round.
Here is your preparation guide for Google Code Jam with Coding Ninjas.
Gennady Korotkevich has been bagging first place in google code jam since 2014.
- Google Hash Code is a coding challenge for students and professionals around the world. The program starts in November and lasts up to April, and there will be two rounds. The goal is to solve an optimization problem in 4 hours in a team of 2 to 4 people.
Finally, Top teams will then be invited to a Google office for the Last Round. This competition attracts thousands of competitors from all over the world.
Confused about the preparation? Here is a guided path for your preparation for Google HashCode Competition
- Google Kick Start is a global online coding competition comprising three-hour rounds designed to recruit top talent from the Asia Pacific region. The test focuses primarily on problem-solving skills, data structures, and algorithms.
We have created the preparation guide for Google Kickstart a CodeJam Competition just for you.
They held these competitions throughout the year to hire people looking for a technical career at Google and interested in solving fun, challenging problems. Furthermore, top participants may get a chance to get invited to interview at Google.
4. THE ICFP PROGRAMMING CONTEST
ICFP stands for “International Conference on Functional Programming”.
- ICFP Programming Contest has been held annually near June or July since 1998, with results declared at the International Conference on Functional Programming.
- ICFP is a fun and challenging three-days open programming competition. There is no entry fee or pre-registration.
- Participants can participate from any location. They may form teams, and there is no size limit for team formation.
- Participants have 72 hours to complete and submit their entry over the Internet.
- There is often also a 24-hour challenge called “lightning division.”
- One of the competition goals is to showcase the programming languages and tools that the contestants admire. The winners boast the right to claim that their language is “the programming tool of choice for discriminatory hackers.
- Previously, first prize winners have used Haskell, OCaml, C++, Cilk, Java, F#, and Rust.
If you want to be the next top hacker, you can register here.
5. FACEBOOK HACKER CUP
- Hacker Cup is Facebook’s annual open programming competition, open to participants around the world.
- The program’s motto is to apply problem-solving and algorithmic coding skills to advance through each year’s online rounds, win prizes, and have a chance to make it to the global finals and win the grand prize.
- This program starts in August and lasts up to October, and there will be four rounds. You need to be qualified in every round to get into the next rounds.
The winner of the Facebook Hacker cup 2020 is “Gennady Korotkevich”, with 76 points. If you love to take up challenges, check at their website.
Here are some tips for improving your rank in FACEBOOK HACKER CUP.
6. MICROSOFT IMAGINE CUP
- Microsoft Imagine Cup is conducted by Microsoft every year, and it has been two decades since they started.
- This program invites you to take on real-world problems submitted by IGOs, NGOs, and nonprofit organizations that you can then take on as part of your Imagine Cup project.
- The main idea behind this is “Code with purpose.” which assists in putting your ideas into action as you create solutions that have the potential to change the world.
- The winner of the Imagine cup will receive cash prizes, Azure Grant, and a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO.
Build your fundamentals strong with our preparation guide.
7. CODE FORCES
- Codeforces is a website that hosts competitive programming contests.
- A group of competitive programmers maintains it from ITMO University led by Mikhail Mirzayanov.
- Codeforces is one of the most popular websites among programmers because competitors learn to adapt classic algorithms to new problems, which improves their understanding of the algorithm’s concept.
- It offers the following features:
- Short contests of duration 2 hours, called “Codeforces Rounds”, held about once a week.
- Educational contests of duration 2-2.5 hours, with 24 hours hacking period, held 2-3 times per month
- During the hacking period, you can challenge/hack other contestants’ solutions.
- Solve problems from previous contests for training purposes.
- “Polygon” feature for creating and testing problems.
- Social networking through internal public blogs.
- Contestants are divided into ranks based on their ratings.
Earning these titles is what most programmers eternally daydreamed of.
Confused about How to Get Started With Codeforces? Read this blog.
- HackerRank is a competitive coding platform where you can practice different coding problems and participate in many challenges.
- This provides you with coding challenges, hackathons, and some companies conduct their hiring tests here.
- You can also earn badges by solving challenges on the HackerRank website, and these badges will be added to your profile.
- Some of the top contests they conduct are:
- Project Euler
- Week of Code
- Ad Infinitum
- CodeChef conducts a programming competition at the start of every month and furthermore conducts two smaller programming contests at the middle and end of the month.
- CodeChef also offers various algorithm tutorials and forum discussions to make the journey of computer programming more feasible.
- You can increase your points to get an excellent rank which is worth it.
- They provide different prizes like cash prizes, gadgets, and one of the exciting prizes: they provide CodeChef laddus to the top 10 Indian programmers.
- CodeChef organizes three contests a month on a conventional basis:
- Long Challenge: It is a 10-days monthly coding contest to show off your computer programming skills. It gives you enough time to think about a problem and try different ways of attacking the problem. If you’re just starting with problem-solving and have ample time at hand, this is ideal for you.
- Cook-Off: It is a 2.5 hours coding contest conducted every month essentially to improve your analysing and thinking capacity.
- Lunch Time: Lunchtime is a three hours coding challenge by CodeChef, and sometimes, many big companies like Amazon, Junglee, etc., tie up with CodeChef to hire programmers.
- You can participate in any of the challenges based on your ratings and demonstrate your programming skills.
How to Start with CodeChef: Competitive Programming?
- LeetCode is one of the largest tech communities with millions of active users.
- It offers various weekly and biweekly programming competitions for the participants.
- Leet code offers different monthly challenges. You will have 30 problems to solve in 30 days. A problem is added every day, and you have 24 hours to solve and submit it.
- Apart from the Coding Contest, various additional features such as job interview preparation, discussions, etc., are also provided on LeetCode.
- Their platform hosts contests that last for 90 minutes in which you can solve the challenges in their online editor, aka, Playground, in any one of the supported programming languages.
Perks of Participating in Coding Contest
Participating in coding contest can build the enthusiasm to create new projects and helps you think differently. The hackathons develop your teamwork and make it easier when you join the corporate world.
The real-world impact of coding competitions shows kids and teenagers what computing can achieve beyond the classroom and helps them see the power of open collaboration.
That is just one of the many benefits Competitive Coding provides.
Let’s look at some of the perks:
- Enhances Problem-solving Skills
- Guaranteed Brain Exercise
- More Attractive to Major Companies
- Swags from the top companies
- It’s a way to Practice Fast Coding
- Provides a Significant Technical Edge during Job Interviews
- Coding exercises can activate the brain’s learning centres.
- It can improve our memory, problem-solving skills, and cognitive skills as well.
- Boosts Programmers to write clean and better Code
- Willingness to Accept “Failure” Increases
- Competitive Programming has an Active Community
- Encourages Participants to be a Team Player
- Increase Focus
- Great at Debugging
Frequently Asked Questions
There are many platforms to practice competitive programming. Some of the topmost platforms are CodeChef, HackerRank, Codeforces, LeetCode etc.
Many platforms conduct coding contests, but Microsoft Imagine cup, Google coding competitions, Codeforces and TopCoder are few competitions among the best.
You don’t need a powerful computer at all. Programming is just editing text files, so if that is the only thing you do, get yourself a lower-spec option and save remarkable money.
There is no specific language to use for coding. It is your choice, and you can choose C, C++, Java, Python, etc.
In this blog, we started with a discussion on what coding contest is and how participating in them can improve our programming skills and give us a surplus of opportunities. Then we discussed in detail some of the most popular coding websites that conduct competitive programming contests that sharpen your brain and increase your logical thinking.
Never Quit! It might look hard initially, but believe me, the adrenaline rush you will get when the idea of a problem clicks in mind after struggling for many hours is worth the effort. So push yourself to be one of the best programmers by participating in a coding contest.
By Dharani Mandla