2017 was a special year for me: I joined WeAreDevelopers and for the first time I joined Eric Wastl’s Advent of Code (AoC) and made it through the end. The AoC is a collection of 25 daily coding puzzles in December and exists since 2015.

Advent of Code

Each day you get two puzzles. The first is usually based around a story and has some kind of a theme. So one day it could be string operations and the next day you work on a hex grid. The second puzzle usually builds on the first and has a higher difficulty or complexity. And everything is embedded in a nice story, spiced with dev culture hints. For each completed puzzle you are awarded with one star. At the end of the journey an animated map awaits you.

While I did not make it on the AoC ranking list (it only has 100 spaces), I am proud to be in the third spot on the list Thomas from the “Developers in Vienna” Facebook group created. I used Python 3 all the way through and started with the goal to use just Pythonista (an iPad app for Python development). I had to switch to my Notebook for three problems and started to create sketches on the problems after the first few items.

I can only encourage you to take part in a coding challenge yourself. There are several reasons why you should do that.

Reasons for participating in coding challenges

  1. You will have fun.
    There is a difference and a special satisfaction in completing the challenges.
  2. You will code towards goal.
    The objective is to reach a goal, so you can leave the efficiency aspect out of view.
  3. You will learn something.
    Most coding challenges confront you with things you never use in your daily developer life. So you will learn something.
  4. You will realise that you do not know enough.
    The challenge will add more language knowledge to your portfolio. You will profit in your professional life as well as in job interviews.
  5. You will have something to add to this list
    My point is that I know that I know that I am one of the few who finished the contest. As you can see only 4’443 of the 46’009 who started actually finish. That’s mere 10%. 
  6. It will be fun.
  7. It will be lots of fun.

So I recommend the https://www.adventofcode.com but you have to wait for December to participate again. What about a hackathon in the meantime? Any coding contest you would like to recommend to us?

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