The Missing Piece of the Computer Science Curriculum

Despite the increasing availability of alternative options such as online learning sites and coding boot camps, many students who are interested in programming still pick the traditional approach: getting a Computer Science degree. If you plan to do academic research, a degree is really the only option. But for someone who wants to get a […]

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What You Can Learn from Easy Programming Puzzles

When you start solving programming puzzles like those on uHunt Chapter 1, what are you learning about? The obvious answer is that you’re learning about competitive programming. After all, uHunt has a companion textbook called Competitive Programming, and many programming puzzle sites are associated with the competitive programming community, or even run their own contests. […]

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How to Learn an Algorithm

If you want to get better at programming, you need to get better at algorithms. In some ways, that statement is tautological. To quote Computer Science pioneer Niklaus Wirth, Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs. But besides the algorithms that you write yourself, it’s also worth studying well-known algorithms such as those taught in introductory […]

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How to Attack a Programming Puzzle

If you want to get a lot better at a skill, you need a process for practicing it. When you follow a process, it encourages you to practice in a consistent way, rather than using whatever practice technique you happen to feel like using on a given day. As you get experience using your process, […]

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Learning to Code Online

Last week I wrote about the benefits of working on programming fluency. But before a programmer can work on fluency, they need to learn to program in the first place. Until recently, prospective programmers had to go through a complicated setup process to get their compiler and environment up and running. There’s something to be […]

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Communicating Fluently with Your Computer

As you know if you’ve been following along, I’m currently working through a book called Competitive Programming 3. Each chapter has a set of practice problems, some of which are identified as “starred problems,” and are especially recommended. Chapter 1 contains 39 starred problems, categorized as “ad-hoc problems.” This generally means that they don’t focus […]

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The Bathtub Puzzle

As I mentioned in my post introducing Project 462, I have spent some time in the past working on historical CodeForces problems to get some idea of what their programming competitions are like. I thought it would be interesting to go through one of those problems, Hot Bath, from the perspective of a CodeForces beginner. […]

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Project 462

The Story So Far Long ago (2008), I read a post on the “xkcd blag” (yes, Randall Munroe occasionally just writes regular blog posts) about “a site with a lot of math-oriented programming problems that you can solve in any language.” I like math and programming, so that seemed like fun. I spent a few […]

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12 Reasons to Study Competitive Programming

In my deliberate practice plan for software developers, I suggested that aspiring programming experts find a source of programming problems to use as part of a deliberate practice routine. It turns out that there are more pre-packaged programming problems out there than you could get through in a lifetime. Many of them come from the […]

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Deliberate Practice for Software Developers

In Making Sense of the Deliberate Practice Debate and Coding is Underrated, I introduced the concept of deliberate practice, and suggested a specific skill that aspiring software development experts can use as their practice target. I’m now going to go into detail on a deliberate practice process for this skill. Here’s the skill description again: […]

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