CPFAQ: How Did X Become a Top Competitive Programmer?

Studying

I’m working on a project this year to build a competitive programming FAQ. This is one in a series of articles describing the research, writing, and tool creation process. To read the whole series, see my CPFAQ category page.

Questions that are too specific to one person’s situation don’t work well on Quora. They tend to be non-canonical duplicates that are fishing for ultra-personalized advice that’s unlikely to help future readers. Often they include a long personal story.

Answers, on the other hand, can benefit from writers who are willing to share their life experience. In the competitive programming topic, several people have described how they made the journey from beginner to expert level in the world of programming contests.

« Continue »

CPFAQ: How Long Should I Work on a Programming Problem Before Looking at the Answer?

Clock

I’m working on a project this year to build a competitive programming FAQ. This is one in a series of articles describing the research, writing, and tool creation process. To read the whole series, see my CPFAQ category page.

Anyone who has practiced solving competitive programming or coding interview problems, has confronted a choice: when you get stuck on a problem, when is it time to look for help? Here are some principles and suggestions to make the right decision.

« Continue »

CPFAQ: Is Competitive Programming Only For Smart People?

Einstein

I’m working on a project this year to build a competitive programming FAQ. This is one in a series of articles describing the research, writing, and tool creation process. To read the whole series, see my CPFAQ category page.

It’s fun to debate the nature vs. nurture / intelligence vs. effort question. Years ago, I started this blog with a post on that subject. In Quora’s competitive programming topic, people have found a multitude of ways to ask Is competitive programming only for smart people? I found the most interesting answers in a question with this unwieldy title:

Can an average IQ person with no competitive programming experience reach Brian Bi’s level in C++ and competitive programming one day just by hard work?

« Continue »

CPFAQ: Will Competitive Programming Success Help Me Get a Programming Job?

Coder

I’m working on a project this year to build a competitive programming FAQ. This is one in a series of articles describing the research, writing, and tool creation process. To read the whole series, see my CPFAQ category page.

Although Quora is by far the most popular venue for competitive programming Q&A, questions do sometimes pop up on other sites. On Stack Overflow, competitive programming questions typically get downvoted and deleted in short order. Reddit has more lenient policies and allows questions to stay up even if users have asked them repeatedly in the past. Here’s one that appeared last week on the CSCareerQuestions subreddit:

Competitive programming, worth dedicating time to it or not?

Do employers value competitive programming at all?

Although the question didn’t get a huge amount of attention — after a few days, it has just three upvotes — the responses covered a range of opinions similar to those expressed on Quora when people ask similar questions there.

« Continue »