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Last Updated: Nov 14, 2023
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How to Prepare for Google Coding Jam?

Author Sagar Mishra
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Data structures & algorithms (Beginner to Intermediate)
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Introduction

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 witness positive career growth and go on to become senior-level developers. Sounds interesting?

coding jam google

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!

Read About, Interpolation in Angular

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 the test. The champion gets the coveted Google Code Jam winning title and a 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.

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Eligibility Criteria for Google Coding Jam

Participation in 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.

Structure of Google Code Jam Contest

  • Qualification Round: This round consists of a set of problems that need to be solved in a given time limit; the problems are purely based on data structures and algorithms, and the candidate that completes a certain number of problems in a given time moves on to the next level.
     
  • Round 1a, 1b, and 1c: These rounds are similar to the qualification round but with a more difficult set of algorithmic questions and a given time limit. This is also an elimination round; the candidate who completes a certain number of questions in a given time moves on to the next round.
     
  • Round 2: Similar format to the previous rounds, but the difficulty of problems increases and tickles the candidate's mind more. The participant who solves a particular number of questions set by the Google Code Jam team in a given time moves on to the next round.
     
  • Round 3: This is the final elimination round, with one of the most challenging problems to be solved. The participant who solves the most questions in the given time advances to the World Finals.
     
  • World Finals: This is the phase where every participant dreams to be. Participants from all over the world gather at a venue for a 5 hour long programming challenge with one of the most intriguing and mind-blowing algorithmic questions to be solved. The one who completes the most questions takes the title.

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:

1. Learn Basics of any Programming Language

First of all, you need to get to know a programming language well, along with its fundamentals like functions, conditional statements, object oriented programming, libraries, and error handling. This will be your first step towards enhancing and building your programming skills. The choice is yours, you can either choose C++, C, Python, Java, or any other language. Make sure that it supports Object Oriented Programming and has fast compilation. 

2. Practice Data Structure

Once you are done understanding the programming fundamentals, syntax, and code input-output, the next step is to learn, understand, and practice data structures. For any project or problem, data structures are an essential part. They will assist in synchronizing the data and also aid in traversing the data at any point in time. Starting from the basics; Arrays, Linked List, Stack, Queue, and then the advanced data structures like Graph, Binary Tree and Tries, all are highly interesting and important to be practiced. 

3. Practice Algorithms

Now that you are well aware of data structures and how to play around with them, it’s time for you to work on and learn algorithms, which comprise data structures that aim to solve a specific problem. Algorithms vary from problem to problem; for example, Sorting Algorithms that are used to sort elements in a linear data structure like an array, Searching Algorithms, Recursive Algorithms and the more advanced one, Dynamic Programming, are all different algorithmic approaches that are essential parts of problem solving.

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 2022 - One of the problems of the World Finals Code Jam 2022, called “Schrödinger and Pavlov”. The problem had 2 variations, an easier and a harder one. The easier one had a limited constraint of unknown boxes up to 10 only, which is small enough to solve the problem using dynamic programming. For test set 2, we would require a graph.

World Finals 2021 - One of the problems of the Virtual World Finals Code Jam 2022, called “Divisible Divisions”.  This one, in particular, heavily focused on mathematics. You are expected to know a bit about Modular Arithmetic notation, multiplicative inverse, and Chinese remainder theorem. 

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 knew, 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).

If you’re looking for an online platform that can help you prepare for the Google Code Jam problems, then check out the free and useful courses on Coding Ninjas and Coding Ninjas Studio

 

Check out the Google Interview Experience to learn about Google’s hiring process.

Resources to Practice

1. Coding Ninjas

Coding Ninjas has one of the best curated resources for problem solving, data structures, and algorithms. It aims to deliver content through videos, structured courses, and articles, and also provides a platform that can be accessed by anyone to practice and track programming problems ranging from easy to difficult for any data structure or algorithm. Head on over to Coding Ninjas Studio’s Practice Section, where you will be able to find various programming based problems and contests that will help you practice questions and even analyze your performance for improvement. The Library Section has a vast collection of articles and blogs for each and every data structure problem and solution, with various approaches to a single problem. 

2. Google Kick Start

Google Kick Start is one of Google’s flagship coding programs that takes place throughout the year and consists of coding problems divided into rounds with a time limit of 3 hours. This aims to give participants a gist of what technical knowledge is required to work in an organization like Google. Google Kick Start also provides a freely accessible archive that consists of problems and a scoreboard from previous editions, which can be another source of problem sets to practice.

3. Google Hash Code

Google Hash Code is yet another Google coding contest, which is a team based programming competition where students and working professionals form a team, pick their preferred programming language, and solve questions that are based on real life problems curated by the Hash Code team. This is highly anticipated content due to its creative question set, and the top teams get a chance to compete at the World Finals. The Archive for Google Hash Code is also available for previous editions problem sets and analyses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate in Google Code Jam?

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.

How do I practice Google Code Jam?

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.

Is Google Code Jam hard?

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.

Does Google Hire from Code Jam?

No, Google Code Jam is simply a global coding competition for programming enthusiasts. They don't explicitly hire through it, but getting a good rank in Coding Jam might get you an interview with Google. 

How much does Google Code Jam pay?

Google Code Jam does not provide cash prizes or direct payment to participants. Instead, the participants compete for recognition, prestige, and sometimes job opportunities at Google.

Conclusion

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
     

You can also consider our competitive programming course to give your career an edge over others!

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