Google organizes a universal coding contest called Code Jam in which contestants from over 125 countries take part. The current Google Code Jam contest is underway, and you can prepare yourself to compete in the contest for the next season. There are multiple rounds to go through to be one of the top 15 finalists selected from different countries. The rounds are the qualification round, round 1, round 2, round 3 and the onsite finals. Even though it is tough to reach the finals, as a programmer, you should take part in it and be in the top 1000 coders in the Round 2.
The rounds consist of algorithmic puzzles and you can enhance your skill in coding by participating in it. Getting in the top 1000 will strengthen your resume. This will open up your chance to apply for jobs in Google, and you can take part in Distributed Code Jam contest as well. Google also ships free T-shirts to the top 1000 programmers. Without further ado, let us guide you on how to prepare for it to progress as far as you can.
The Preparation Steps –
One of the biggest reasons why so many coders participate in the contest is not just in top 100, 100, or being a finalist but for the thorough preparation sessions. There are unlimited resources provided by Google to prepare for the contest, and this is going to help you become a better coder. As a matter of fact, professional coders who are working in MNCs also take part for the same reason.
Step 1. Google Kickstart – Mock Test
Google Kickstart is a test platform for all those preparing for the contest. The platform was created to let the university students as well as industrial professionals to enhance their coding skills and pursue a career in Google at a later stage. It is more like a mock test with three hours’ time to solve algorithmic problems. This test will give you an idea about the contest and where you are standing with your skill set. After giving the mock test, you will be able to spot your strengths and most importantly, weaknesses. Then you have to work on those weaknesses before you actually sit down for the Google Code Jam.
Step 2. Brush Up Your Basics
When you compete in Google Kickstart, you will understand that you have to concentrate deeply on data structure and algorithm to break through the rounds. But before them, you have to get your basics right and hence, prepare all the basic things and get it out of your system. The basics include everything you need to learn on the programming language of your choice. There are five languages valid in Code Jam – C, C#, C++, Python, and Java. Ideally speaking, Python is the best language though there are a few things that can be done better in Java. Therefore, if possible, keep two languages under your grip and be clear about the IDE to use and all its features.
Step 3. Data Structure and Algorithm
If you check the past questions of Google Jam Code, you will find that most of them are algorithm based and large on the data structure. Therefore, you need to master all the known algorithms available and all the different data structures and associated problems. You should go through the data structure and algorithmic based problems having various constraints. It is the constraints that make coding difficult even though you can have the base right. Starting from the searching and sorting algorithm to number and graph algorithms, everything should be at the tip of your fingers.
Step 4. Practice and Practice –
There is no syllabus for Google Code Jam, but you can analyze the past questions of Code Jam to get an understanding of what is generally concentrated on. The only way to win through the qualification round and Round 1 to be in the top 1000 is through practice. You should practice as many new as problems as possible every day. You need to log in to sites like Hackerrank, Codechef, Topcoder and likewise to practice every day as they have the best set of questions. You should not give u easily and spend at least 1.5 hours on each problem. Thinking smart is the key rather than working hard.
Most of these sites offer the solutions as wee, and when you go through them, you will understand that the problems are not that hard when you can solve them in the most efficient way. Therefore, thinking smart is where you need to invest more time rather than coding endlessly.
Final Words –
It is easy to crack the qualification round with long duration of time to solve and upload the solution. Round 1 is where the real game starts as it is a time constraint of 2.5 hours. Keep working on your data structure and algorithms and keep practice hard problems. Find out the ways to solve a problem more efficiently and that too in the least possible time. Practice is the keep to the preparation.