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Is Competitive Programming really necessary?

What is Competitive Programming?

It is a globally popular coding sport where individuals participate and solve coding problems. You have to solve a problem with code that is fast and consumes the minimum amount of memory.
Competitive programming is popular among university students and those trying to get into big tech companies. Coders, Developers, Researchers, Tech Recruiters have repeatedly said to practice competitive programming.

Why Competitive Programming?

->Gives you an opportunity to work for big-tech company

A lot of big companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon hire through competitive programming so if you want to get into these companies then you really need to get your hands dirty in competitive programming. These companies constantly keep track on the Competitive Programming organizer websites to pick participants with high potential and with the best ability of solving complex tasks.
But how can companies evaluate a person applying for a job so quickly??
(Read till the end to find the answer to this concern)

->Enhances your ability to learn something new.

Competitive Programming exposes you to different types of questions, problems in different patterns and formats. It also provides you the liberty to learn and code. It will help you to develop some basic coding skills and learn to generate new ideas. This helps you prepare for taking up jobs where you can adopt and solve various kinds of problems in various type of situations.

->Improves your debugging skills.

During competitive programming, you solve difficult tasks which enhances your problem-solving and debugging skills giving you real-time fun. Competitive programming is a brain-sport. As you start solving harder and harder problems, your analytical and rational thinking intensifies.

->Improves your logical thinking

Competitive programming allows you yo train yourself with algorithmic problems that test the better out of your current logic skills. Practicing more and more improves your logic skills. With an improved logic, you think faster and put your thinking and approach to the solutions into code faster.

->Makes you a team player

Working in a team is very important skill in every field while in software development it is more important because most jobs will require you at some point to work in a team. Competitive programming helps you learn how to effectively work together, as you must work with others on your team to complete the same task. In this situation you will learn how to assess your team member’s strength and weakness and effectively divide responsibilities between each other.

How to prepare for Competitive Programming?

->Choose a Programming Language that you are most comfortable with and learn its syntax. It can be C, C++, Java, Python or any programming language. Programming languages are a tool through which you can communicate to the computer and instruct what to do. C++, C or Java are fast programming languages in comparison to other languages. So it’s good if you choose one out of these three but there is no restriction if you are comfortable with another language.

->Understand the Concept of Time and Space Complexity as in most of the cases there is more than one solution that exists to a problem so you need to come up with the best solution i.e optimal one and that’s decided by how much time and space an algorithm takes to solve a problem. So it’s really important to learn about these two concepts to write an optimal solution for the problem.

->Learn the Fundamentals of Data Structures and Algorithms which is the heart of programming. Array, Linked List, Stack, Queue, Tree, Trie, Graph, Sorting, Recursion, Dynamic Programming all these are basic building blocks of DSA which will help you not only in competitive programming but will also make you a better programmer. You need to know which data structure is suitable for the given type of problem to get the optimal solution.


->Is Competitive Programming same as Real-World Programming?
How can big-tech companies decide your "feasibility" by making you solve a problem in 30-minutes, a problem that is completely unrelated to any work you might have done in the past, or you might do in the future.
Interviews for companies are more of an exam where you have to memorize and learn about things you won't use after getting the job.
You'll find almost no use for competitive programming in the real world. No algorithm running on production Microsoft servers is written in unreadable code, with short and meaningless variable names, undocumented and optimized only for speed and not readability or maintenance.

Then how do we clear that interview?

Competitive coding is not the only way to clear an interview – there are all kinds of people running all kinds of companies. Build good projects and have a strong portfolio. Have a complete skill set which is useful for companies. Have mastery with a tech stack. Have projects, blogs, experience to show that you are what is in your resume. Build connections, network with people, ask for their recommendations. Your work can take you places you couldn't imagine. But nothing good comes easy, at least if you're ambitious enough.
The world needs great programmers to progress, to move humanity forward, not people who can get hired.

Thank You!
Cover Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

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