Last Friday I took some time out and entered my first Top Coder competition.
For those who’ve never heard of it, Top Coder is an online competition for computer programmers. There’s several different categories to compete in with the most interesting to me being Algorithms.
Each week thousands of coders from around the world enter, and are given 3 programming challenges, with limited amount of time to compete them. Points are awarded for correct solutions, based on the difficulty of the problem, and the amount of time spent working on them.
I heard about Top Coder from an online interview with a Google employee, who attributes his success in obtaining a much coveted position there largely to his high standings in the competition. He also highly recommended it for anyone wishing to practice their programming skills.
The problems are hard, it’s a bit of fun, and provides good motivation to improve.