Competitive Coding: What, Why, and How?

12year old can learn Python

A significant amount of work is being done to spark children’s interest in computer programming. As a consequence of the broad acknowledgment that coding is one of the most essential skills for the 21st century, a huge number of notable individuals are spreading the word that everyone should learn how to code. This is because coding is one of the most important talents for the 21st century.

Participating in a coding contest is one of the most effective ways to encourage youngsters to get acquainted with computer programming since it allows them to compete with their peers. The potential for awards to serve as a source of inspiration is something that is common knowledge among all of us. In any event, there is not a single person alive who does not take pleasure in achieving success and having their efforts appreciated.

When students take part in coding competitions, they are presented with a tremendous chance to put what they have learned to use in an environment that is fun for them and to construct something that has personal significance to them. By participating in a coding competition, children can hone their programming skills and get valuable experience in the real world by applying their coding knowledge to the resolution of a challenge.

This blog discusses the benefits that may accrue to children throughout the course of their lives as a result of parental encouragement to take part in coding contests.

When some people hear the term “competition coding,” the first thing that often comes to their minds is a picture of hackers staying up all night in an effort to construct the best software or website over the course of a weekend. This is often the first thing that comes to their mind when they hear the term (hackathons). Because of this, the purpose of this blog is to acquaint you with the world of competitive coding, to explain what it is, and to give suggestions on how you may encourage your youngster to engage in these competitions.

In order for you to have a better understanding of what competitive coding comprises and to avoid making the same mistake as others who confuse it with hackathons, the following is a straightforward description of what is involved in competitive coding.

When asked, “What is Competitive Coding?”

For those who aren’t acquainted, competitive programming is a kind of intellectual competition in which participants develop programs to fulfill a set of specified criteria in a particular amount of time in a certain period of time. These contests might take place either online or inside a private network at a specific location.

The Contests and Games that will take place

The ability to show a mastery of data structures and implementation approaches, in addition to solving algorithmic challenges, is often the major emphasis of programming competitions. In most circumstances, this is also the case.

Examples of typical topics of study include combinatorics, number theory, graph theory, geometry, string analysis, data structures, and artificial intelligence.

Contestants, who are sometimes referred to as sport programmers and can number anywhere from the tens to the several thousand, are given the task of developing solutions (using whichever programming language they are most comfortable with) that are capable of responding to logical or mathematical challenges that are posed by judges.

The judging is done online, and it is primarily based on the number of problems addressed and the amount of time spent producing appropriate solutions. Other considerations, such as the quality of output provided, the size of the program, and other aspects, are also taken into account.

The value of competitive programming is acknowledged and promoted by several international software and Internet businesses, including Google and Facebook, which frequently conduct programming contests. One example of this is the Google Code-In, which takes place every year in the United States.

The world’s best programmers gather in one location for the most significant and competitive coding competitions, where they fight for medals, trophies, and occasionally even cash rewards. These competitions are considered the most important and competitive in the world.

Although it is more frequent among high school and college students in other countries, competitive programming has been gaining ground in popularity in the United States. This is despite the fact that it is most common among these age groups in other nations.

A Concise History of Competitive Programming, Including Its Origins and Developments

Competitions in computer programming for kids have attracted a lot more attention from the general public ever since the turn of the century. This is because the growth of the Internet has made it simpler for websites that host coding competitions to create online global tournaments.

The competition that has been going on the longest is called the ACM-ICPC, which stands for the International Collegiate Programming Contest. It started in the 1970s and has since grown to include 88 countries in its membership.

What do you need for Effective Programming in a market that is highly competitive?

Essential Skills

  • Algorithm Skills
  • The Building Blocks of Mathematics
  • Programming Skills
  • Typing Speed Skills
  • Debugging Skills

Important Capabilities

  • Conduct your search using every possible method and make advantage of the whole search field.
  • A successful completion of the task within the allotted time
  • Efforts to make the search more effective
  • Performing a search using binary
  • Through the process of dissecting the code problem into its component parts
  • The technique is known as dynamic programming.
  • Determining problem state
  • A recursion that is both speedy and intricate in its retracing.

How to Get Started and Where to Look for Answers

To be successful in competitive programming, you need not only a solid working knowledge of whichever programming language you want but also a grasp of basic data structure concepts.

The first thing you need to do is choose a programming language.

It is recommended that you choose a programming language that you are most at ease with, particularly one with which you have had experience for at least three to four months.

The speed with which C++ can execute code has made it the language of choice for the great majority of programmers who participate in competitive programming. There is a good chance that the bulk of the materials and solutions will be written in the programming language C++. Python, on the other hand, is a strong candidate for the title of “best programming language for beginners” due to its easy-to-understand syntax and huge collection of built-in functions.

The second step is to get a fundamental understanding of data structures and algorithmic concepts.

Almost every coding problem will need the use of a certain data structure or collection of algorithms in order to arrive at the optimal solution. Because of this, prior to getting started, you are expected to have a rudimentary comprehension of these procedures.

Acquire a Comprehension of the Complicated Relationship between Time and Space

Almost often, there is more than one solution to a problem that can be implemented. The input obtained from users who use the website is used to do an analysis and ranking of the available solutions.

The necessary quantity of time and space may be used as a basis for doing an evaluation of the degree of performance.

The length of time it takes for a computer program to carry out each of its component operations is referred to as the program’s “time complexity.” On a computer, the amount of time required for each individual activity takes exactly the same amount of time. Although these factors are not taken into account by online judges, the time it takes to execute code may also be affected by factors outside of the programmer’s control, such as the computer’s hardware.

The following three case studies are used to conduct an evaluation of the amount of time required for execution:

  • Take, for example
  • The paradigmatic illustration
  • The most desired possible outcome

The execution time of a piece of code is nearly always measured based on the worst conceivable situation when the performance of that piece of code is being evaluated.

Practice, Practice and Practice

Simply being more knowledgeable about algorithms will not, on its own, make you a better programmer. You must train yourself to grow used to seeking answers to problems. It is necessary to engage in consistent practice with a wide range of approaches and strategies, in addition to gaining knowledge from more experienced programmers. The more code you create, the more prepared you will be to recognize a data structure and/or approach that is particularly well suited to the task of resolving a particular problem.

Get in the Game of the Competition

In addition, competing against other people is the most effective way to enhance one’s talents. It is impossible to recreate the conditions of real competition in any other environment, both the time limits and the amount of pressure that comes along with it.

The ICPC, is widely regarded as the most prestigious programming competition open to college students. High school students are eligible to participate in the competition, which lasts for five hours and requires them to find solutions to ten difficult problems.

The regional contests take place once a year in the fall, and the winners of those obtain an invitation to the global finals, which take place once a year in the spring and involve prestigious educational institutions from all over the world competing against one another.

When you are attempting to learn how to code, one of the most effective methods to improve your talents is to go through a range of coding jobs and puzzles. This will help you become more proficient in the language.

Codeforces is a rather good choice to consider if you want to engage in competition on a more regular basis. It has online tournaments every once or twice a week that run for a total of two hours each. It features a very intuitive user interface, and in the event that you get stuck, you will have access to a big database that contains the solutions to questions that were asked in prior competitions hosted by the company.

TopCoder has a sizable collection of issues in addition to the USACO Training Pages and the USACO Past Contests. In addition, HackerRank and CodeChef both sometimes run their own online tournaments for users.

Two of the most well-known and prestigious yearly programming competitions are the Google Code Jam and the Facebook Hacker Cup. These competitions are sponsored by organizations such as Google and Facebook.

Competitive programming myths and realities


It is too late to begin programming for competitive events.There is no specific age for this; however, it is ideal to begin coding for beginners.
It is a wonderful opportunity to get work in the field of software development.It is not the case since it is a sport that has the potential to provide advantages. Nevertheless, there is no assurance of a job being provided.
Before you can begin participating in competitive programming, you must first complete a significant number of computer programs.You can master the theory, but if you try to solve the computational tasks, you won’t be very helpful since each tournament has its own unique Top coder difficulties.
You should be quite knowledgeable about algorithms.Not at all; even those who are unfamiliar with coding may take part in it.
Competitive programming myths and realities

In contrast, competitive programming addresses a number of the same abilities that are covered in the computer science curriculum, but on a far more in-depth level. Therefore, you cannot refer to it as a game.


If you want to get the most out of your involvement in competitive programming, it is very necessary to be open and honest about the goals you have set for yourself. There is a dizzying array of options available to those who want to broaden their horizons and test their mettle via various rigorous activities. Competitions in programming may take on a broad range of forms to accommodate the diverse tastes and areas of expertise of the individuals that take part.

Although it’s likely that engaging in competitive coding won’t help you break into the professional sector, doing so will help you become more logical and analytical in your thought process.

Many computer programmers claim that the challenges presented in competitive programming have little bearing on the programming work they undertake in their day jobs. It is true, in most cases, but not entirely. So why do we continue to do it? Because doing so improves your skills as a coder. How?

  • A limited amount of time forces you to think of solutions that are time efficient.
  • Important test data enables you to create solutions that are right in a single pass.
  • In addition to this, it improves your ability to debug code.

In order to tackle difficult difficulties, you must first segment the problem into smaller problems, then address each of those problems separately, and then put it all together to answer the larger problem.

Competitive programming is not the only method to master these skills, but it is one of the greatest ways to do so. Yes, there are other ways to master these qualities. Try it out; if you find that you love it, the investment will have been worthwhile. You will get advantages that are not subjective in nature as a reward. If you still aren’t successful after a number of attempts, you should give yourself a rest.

If you are interested in taking online coding classes for kids, SkoolofCode offers a choice of age-appropriate courses that let beginners explore the world of code beginning at the age of seven years old. So, why wait Book a FREE trial class today. Participating in programming contests is an enjoyable activity; thus, you should be able to have fun with it regardless of how well or poorly the competition goes. This is the most essential thing to keep in mind.

By – Ms. Manpreet Virk, Head of E-learning and an educator at SkoolofCode with degree in M.Phil. and Master in Computer Science. She is passionate about learning and teaching young minds.