How To Make Competitive Programming Interesting?
Competitive Programming is a field for programmers to make programs based on requirements and provided specifications. Usually, during the first or second year of college, a huge percentage of students in the engineering field start with competitive coding on various platforms available on the internet. Many gain a lot of interest in CP learning about various algorithms and programming in various languages like Python, C++, Java, etc. But some fail to find it interesting due to the same scores every time or getting no progress in due course.
If you face the same, let us remind you that beginning of Competitive Programming with only basic knowledge of coding languages and algorithms may initially seem to have no use in the vast competitive environment. But, this is common to all programmers of the world. There was a time when current day’s top programmers started programming with only basic knowledge of Programming. Rather than giving up, you should focus more on any other new ways to solve a simple problem, which may later prove to be more efficient than the previous one.
Check out the below-mentioned tips and strategies to make Competitive Programming more interesting and worthwhile for yourself:
1. Clear Your Basic Concepts
The first step should be to understand the fundamental concepts of Data Structures clearly like Arrays, String, Matrices, Linked List, Stack, Queues, Trees, Binary Trees Binary Search Trees, Sorting Techniques, Heaps and Graphs, which is the base of competitive programming. You may not know all types of Data Structures at the current moment, but what have you learned should be crystal clear in your mind, as that will be used in some other ways to build a new program or software in the future. Along with that, try to improve your code to make it more efficient and less time taking to compute.
2. Where Should You Learn To Code?
A vast number of tutorials and courses are available all over the internet to give you knowledge about coding and Competitive Programming. You may refer to those tutorials. Also, there are many courses and live classes available in our GeeksforGeeks platform, where you can start learning and mastering Competitive Programming at your speed and convenience. Along with taking lectures and tutorials, try to solve problems for yourself and make your logic while writing codes for a program.
3. Which Language To Choose?
If you are a beginner, you’re recommended to start learning your programming basics using C language, since this is the most basic language and easy to understand. This will make your basic concepts clear for various search algorithms, sorting techniques, and creating various structures like trees, graphs, etc. After you make these concepts clear and you are confident enough to enter into the world of competition, start competitive programming. Since now your concepts are clear, you will gradually develop an interest with time.
4. Start With Beginner-Level Questions
Moreover, start with some simple beginner problems. If at the initial stage, you start looking for hardcore CP quiz and questions, it will rather destroy your interest in CP, thinking that programming is not for you and gradually it leads to failure. Rather start beginning with simple problems and try to code the same program in multiple ways, to get an idea of how a program can be written in multiple ways.
It is also recommended to go through editorials and solutions by other programmers if you are a beginner. Try to understand the logic behind the problem and how they approached it. This will familiarise you with the new algorithms and concepts which you may be unaware of. Along with it, you can also observe as your performance and efficiency increase, your competitive ranking on a global/national basis increases, as well as your ratings. You can see many top-rated coders on different platforms. You can follow them and also observe their problem-solving approach.
But always try to solve the question on your own first, after which you can refer to other solutions. Also, try to find other methods in which the same problem can be approached. Remember, a logic-based problem can be approached in multiple ways. You need to find the one that is most efficient and easy to use.
Follow the principle of “Do not repeat yourself”. Rather than writing a single code multiple times, it is better to create a function or a class that can be called when it is required or make a separate class for a common type of object.
For example, if you are taking input data of several employees in an office, then writing a single code several times, it is better to create a class object Employee, that will have basic attributes like Employee id, name, department, etc, thus it becomes a more efficient code.
5. Give Enough Time For Practice
Learning is incomplete until and unless there is enough practice. Even if you have learned all concepts and theories related to different coding languages and Data Structures, it is incomplete until you spend a sufficient amount of time on practice. Regular practice of programming and problem solving makes you an efficient programmer gradually.
6. Focus on Real-Life Problems and Events
Focus on solving some real-life problems. For example, when you go to a grocery store, the shopkeeper keeps track of what item is sold to whom and in what quantity. You may start writing an efficient program for the same. If some letter like ‘biscuit’ as ‘b’ is typed, then quantity increases by +1. Similarly, for other items available in the grocery stores, we can do the same. This helps to gain interest in Competitive Programming and understand its importance in the real world.
7. Participate in Various Quizzes and Competitions
Gradually, as you increase your skills, try to participate in various competitions like SnackDown, Hackathon, and others. Don’t fear that you may get eliminated at the beginning rounds of it. Even participation is an important factor of progress for development in Competitive Programming.
Start with the programming language with which you are most familiar. For Competitive Programming, it is better if you practice writing programs in Java, C++, Python, etc. Coding in C language can be a bit lengthy since sort functions and some others are not predefined in C. Also, the syntax for the C language is a little lengthy and takes time to write.
Gradual practice and efforts can take you to top performers in the world of Competitive Programming. You just need to develop and learn all new Algorithms and continuous practice will help you to achieve your goal.
Some tips while writing in C++
The native C++ language has been upgraded with time to make coding in C++ more efficient. If you are preparing for competitive programming, then these tips can help you a lot, since this reduces the run time of the program as well as takes less time to write.
This increases the efficiency and reduces the execution time in C++ program rather than using the same like :
Also, <bits/stdc++.h> has many predefined functions that can be readily used while writing codes in C++ for Competitive Programming like sort(), map find(), thus reducing your time significantly, which is an essential factor for Competitive Programming.