DSA Proficiency Question

How proficient does one need to be with DSA in order to be considered a competitive hire?

So after 2.5 months of learning JavaScript, I took part in today’s weekly Leetcode contest. I completed the FCC Javascript module about 3 weeks ago and have been reviewing with javascript.info since then.

I have been studying a lot and was fairly confident in my DSA skills after breezing through the Javascript Projects, but I did so poorly today. It took me 3.5 hours to solve just 1 of the 4 problems, and it was marked one of the “easy” ones, too. The top ranked programmers solved all 4 problems in about 20 minutes.

The question I solved was Count Pairs of Similar Strings and my code was not very elegant.

I have so far submitted two other Leetcode problems, and they both seemed harder than the Intermediate Algorithm Challenges on FCC. I had to look up solutions to help me understand them.

Candy
Maximum Subarray

I do plan to continue growing and improving. I enjoy the process. That said, how quantitatively gifted does one have to be get hired in this field? I hear working programmers joking that all they do is maintain code and copy / paste from libraries.

Do you have to be like, an Algorithm Rainman in order to land a decent developer role? A lot of the Project Euler and Leetcode “hard” questions, I can’t even imagine solving them on my own. I also read people’s CodePen scripts for games like Pong and Chess and do not understand what is going on. I have been enjoying the struggle and growth so far, but I would be really discouraged to eventually discover that this field ultimately requires a level of giftedness that I just do not possess.

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

Time varies from person to person, but keep in mind that you are competing with graduates of four year programs. Learning programming is hard and it takes time.

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