Code competitions - good for you?


I have been seeing a lot of trending for code competition sites (codewars, codin, etc etc). I have tried a couple myself and I have a “mixed feeling” about them.

I understand the appeal especially if you are getting into the “development world”. Having a site with multiple challenges in multiple languages can increase your skills for sure, but is the “competition factor” really helping someone who is just starting out? In fact, is it helping anyone at all?

In our “core” we are competitive but does it make any sense “competing” against another developer? I even read in some blog posts that you should go to these site and “work your way up the ranking” because then you will have a good job! What kind of an employer searches developers based on how competitive they are? Is that a place you would want to work at? (i know i would not!!)

I am fairly new in FCC and consider myself a “junior/mid web developer”, however i have been a developer for +10 years (mostly Java, C++,Sql stuff) working in many different teams and I can’t remember a single case where “competition” was encouraged. If my current employer would tell me to “compete” with my teammates i would quit on the spot!

For me software development has always been a “team sport”. You must be as tired of this quote as I am, but its appropriate for this thread so here it goes: "Great developers don’t develop great software, great teams do!“

Before I ask your opinion I just want to point out that I am not saying that “life is not a competition”… not at all… the software you develop has to compete with similar software (made by a “competing” team). We have to “compete” with each other in many fields but I don’t see Software Development “itself” as one of them.

I personally feel I grow much more as a developer when I am helping out someone (or being helped by someone) to solve a particular problem.

Now is “polling time”:

Feel free to use the voting app i did for FCC (still in beta with a couple of bug’s) and share you opinions in the thread comments

Happy coding!

Coding competitions are competitive in the same way that 5K’s are competitive, it’s more about growing as an individual than trying to win first place. Working under pressure is a great motivator to improve quickly and have a bit of fun doing it.

With regards to leaderboards, I think they serve multiple purposes. For one thing, they are a great way to track your progress over time. Take HackerRank for example, when I started I was in the 100,000s in terms of points you get from solving algorithm problems; and now I’m in the 40,000s. You should be motivated to work your way up the ranking’s, it’s proof that you have skills that put you a cut above the rest.

This is not to say that it’s an every man for himself type game. On the contrary, I’ve been through 5 weekend competitions, and the whole week leading up to it I’m practicing like crazy, talking with people online on how to optimize this or a better technique for that, Skype calling friends to prepare together. Everyone want’s to help each other win because we all benefit from competition.

Overall you are correct, developing great software requires a team effort. But the best team members are those who help their teammates improve, and why not make a game out of it right?

I see your point… makes sense :slight_smile: … good luck for your challenges