"Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or just want to pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn." -Stephen Hawking

In life, there will always be some skills that are more in-demand and wanted than others. For instance, those who can care for others can quickly find work if trained as doctors or nurses. Also, since we live in the digital age, any ability to program computers and develop operating systems software is greatly valued by employers.

Therefore, without further delay, let's look at computer programming and how it can be taken more seriously by engaging in competitions and events.

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What is Competitive Programming?

coding competitions from home
Coding competitions can either be done at home virtually or in person. (Source: Unsplash)

Before becoming a competitive programmer, it's worth stating that a person must know the basics of programming, such as debugging computers, solving complex software issues through code, and communicating computer science system goals with their clients and coworkers.

However, to keep their drive going, many programmers become interested in competitive programming. For those of us who don't know, what is competitive coding? In the briefest of definitions, competitive programming is the competition between programmers and coders held over the internet in a nearby or the same network that involves programmers trying to code according to unique specifications.

Competitive programmers are referred to as sports programmers, and they can be likened to the athletes of the computer science world since they compete to become the best and win prizes!

Depending on the type of competition or event, competitive programmers are required to solve programming issues through code brought up by the organisers, and they must do this in the quickest way possible.

Since competitive programming has become something of interest to so many coders, various competitions occur across the UK and the world to determine who are the best coders.

Some tips to succeed during coding competitions may include the following:

  • Know the basics of code,
  • Practice writing code every day until it becomes second nature,
  • Seek the assistance of a private programming tutor for tips and tricks.

Please take a look at our well-written article to learn more about coding competitions.

Hackathon UK

hacking and hackers
Hackathons are events where computer programming experts crack the code to work on something together collaboratively. (Source: Unsplash)

What comes to your mind when you hear the terms "hacking" or "hacker?" Something positive or negative? It is most likely something negative since hacking is associated with persons who use their computer programming skills to break into secure networks and steal people's information.

Nonetheless, it's important to mention that it's not always negative when it comes to hacking since there are things known as "hackathons" that are worthy of participating in. Therefore, we'll answer the following three questions about hackathons in this subheading:

  • What is a hackathon?
  • How do I find a hackathon?
  • What are some tips and tricks to ensure victory during a hackathon?

What is a Hackathon?

In layman's terms, a hackathon is an event where computer programming professionals collaboratively work together to create something that has to do with software and hardware in the computer science sector. Thus, hackathons may also be known by others as hack days, hackfests, datathons, or codefests.

While the hackathons created by organisations and companies to have individuals win prizes are slightly different depending on how they are planned, the structure of a hackathon is similar. It has the purpose of completing one or many of the following objectives:

  • To create an app,
  • To learn and practice a new programming language or framework, 
  • To address a specific demographic,
  • To improve the innovation of the company or organisation in question, 
  • To connect local tech teams, 
  • To participate in code sprints against others. 

It's worth stating that hackathons are highly competitive since many offer prizes to the winning team. Hackathons have existed since the 1990s yet mainly grew to become popular in the mid-2000s.

How Do I Find a Hackathon?

Thankfully since they are more popular than they used to be, hackathons can easily be located by using websites highlighting where hackfests are currently being held. The following are a few of the best online resources to discover hackathons:

  • Major League Hacking: an organisation dedicated to helping hackers from all parts of the world, the Major League Hacking site is a fantastic place to find information about where the next hackathons are held, how they can be won, and how a computer programmer can host their hackathon.
  • Hackalist: by using effective filters, interested computer coders may use the Hackalist website to locate specific coding competitions worldwide that offer travel reimbursements, have prizes, and allow high schoolers to attend.

You might find hackathons taking place either in-person or online near your place of residence by taking a look at the previously mentioned options. If you're having trouble locating UK-based hackathons, try visiting the Hackathons UK site.

What Are Some Tips and Tricks to Ensure Victory During a Hackathon?

Whether you're a beginner or an advanced computer programmer, you might feel nervous participating in your first-ever hackathon and need some pieces of advice to make sure that you effectively clinch victory over the rest. Therefore, the following are some tips to do your best during a hackathon:

  • Prepare in Advance: don't leave things to the last minute and make sure that you know which technologies will be used and which type of programming language is utilised. Being up-to-date and prepare will set you apart from the rest and cause you to win.
  • Communicate With Others: since hackathons are a team effort to win, it is essential to have good communication amongst fellow programmers to ensure that everyone knows about their tasks and how to handle problems that may arise.

If you're a computer programmer in the UK, you should take part in a hackathon at least once to strengthen your skills and fall back into love with programming.

Programming Events and Prizes

attending an event
There are plenty of computer programming events that may be attended throughout the year in the UK. (Source: Unsplash)

Since every career related to computer science has exploded in the past two decades, there are many reasons to consider becoming a computer programmer. First, however, it's worth stating that, similar to every job in life, there are many opportunities to improve your professional abilities as a computer coder. For instance, one of the most significant ways for computer programmers to do so is by taking part in computer programming events.

Let's consider the following three questions:

  • What is the purpose of computer programming events?
  • Which are the best programming competitions/events in the UK and abroad?
  • What kinds of prizes are given to the winners of computer programming events?

What is the purpose of computer programming events?

Suppose you're a computer programmer and you're on the fence about engaging in or watching programming events. In that case, we are optimistic that the following reasons will effectively show you the objectives of coding competitions:

  • To brush up on your programming and coding skills by learning the most up to date methods in the sector of computer science, 
  • Meeting new people who are working in the computer programming sector and have the same interests as you, 
  • Listening to lectures that highlight ways to improve and that talk about new trends that will arise in the future, 
  • Take part in coding competitions and other activities that make computer programming enjoyable.

It's worth stating that there are some things you need to test out to determine if it's good or not, and computer programming events are one of them but, trust us, you won't be disappointed!

Which are the best programming competitions in the UK and other countries?

With millions of computer programmers worldwide punching in their cards day after day, it shouldn't be a surprise to discover that there are plenty of international and national programming competitions to participate in.

The following are some UK-based computer coding events that are worth your time and effort:

  • NDC London: the NDC conference lasts five days in London and touches on many different aspects of computer programming necessary for all persons working in computer science.
  • Devoxx UK: the three-day computer coding event from Devoxx UK shows a lot of focus on Java, Android and HTML5, and other related technologies that are helping to expand the computer science and tech world.

What about outside the United Kingdom? Are there any programming events that are worth your time? Check out more information about the following competitions:

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Codewars, 
  • Internet Problem Solving Contest, 
  • BME International 24 Hours Programming Contest, 
  • TopCoder Matches and Tournaments, 
  • Google's Coding Events. 

What kinds of prizes are awarded to the winners of programming events?

While coding events, lectures, and competitions are designed to improve the speed and general knowledge of the programmer, it's worth mentioning that there are worthy prizes to be won. Such as? Depending on the programming event, the following types of awards may be attained by winners:

  • Computer equipment, 
  • Cash prizes, 
  • Bursaries and scholarships, 
  • Employment positions. 

In conclusion, no matter what type of computer coding competitions and events you decide to take part in, rest assured that you are involved in one of the most worthwhile careers that exists out there!

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.