How to Prepare for Google Code Jam?
Google Code Jam is an international programming competition hosted and controlled by Google. The competition began in 2003. From 2003 to 2007, Google Code Jam was used in the Topcoder area. Since 2008 Google has upgraded its competitive infrastructure and Google Code Jam became a fest for competitive programmers. Every competitive programmer dreams to be a part of the final rank list of Google Code Jam. But the problem is how to prepare for Google Code Jam? Well, worry no more. We have curated this article just for that.
In this article, we will give you a complete guide to help you understand every aspect of Google Code Jam competition like its eligibility, registration process, how to prepare for Google Code Jam, and much more. So, lets get started.
Before moving to the preparation tips, first, let us focus on what is Google Code Jam? Code Jam is Google’s acclaimed coding competition, a global battleground that encourages all programmers to showcase their coding skills. Some basic features of the contest are:
- The competition contains a set of algorithmic problems that should be solved over a set amount of time.
- Contestants can use any programming language and development space to find their solutions.
This contest is an exciting opportunity for all code lovers. Google Code Jam is a one-of-a-kind platform where programmers compete against each other and compete against time by testing their coding skills. The winner receives the popular Google Code Jam trophy and a hefty cash prize!
To participate in a contest, the most basic thing you should know is the eligibility criteria, that one must fulfill:
- A valid Google account is mandatory to enter the Google Coding Jam.
- Contestants must be at least 16 years of age at the time of registering for Google Coding Jam.
- However, contestants can only participate in the final round of Google Code Jam only if they are at least 18 years old (or the majority of the country in which they live) at the time of the initial Code Jam registration.
- Each contest is void in:
- North Korea,
- the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, and
- Luhansk People’s Republic, and where prohibited by law.
Here is the detailed guide on creating a profile and registering for the contest:
- Before you register for Google Coding Jam, you must create a competitive profile at https://codingcompetitions.withgoogle.com/.
- To participate in Google Code Jam, you need to sign up for each contest separately.
- Only one contest profile is required to register for the competition.
- Make sure all the information you provide during registration is accurate, complete, and in English.
Let us have a sneak peek at the structure of the esteemed contest. Google Code Jam covers a few rounds followed by the Code Jam World finals. Each cycle presents challenging algorithmic problems. Contestants must win each of these first rounds, and in the end, a total of 25 coding wizards reach the final match to fight for the title of popular champion.
This is the first and easiest round in Code Jam. Problems in this round are used to test whether a participant has basic knowledge of problem-solving or not. Contestants have to score a minimum qualifying point (within 27 hours) to clear this round and progress to the next stage. The difficulty of the questions in this round is similar to problems with basic or easy level difficulty in the GeeksforGeeks practice portal.
Got the minimum qualification points? Congrats! Now the next step is the Round 1 of Google Code Jam, and this is where the real competition begins. The main features of these rounds are:
- There will be 3 sub-rounds in Round 1- 1a, 1b, and 1c.
- You will only get 2:30 hours and there will be 3 problems that will be more difficult than those in the qualification round.
- In each round, the top 1500 competitors will enter the next round.
- You can participate in as many rounds as possible until you rank in the top 1500 in any of the sub-rounds.
- You cannot participate in other sub-rounds if you achieve above 1500 rank in any one of rounds 1a, 1b, or 1c.
You need to have some speed and a good grip on the DSA(Data structures and algorithms) to be able to solve all the problems. But to qualify, even solving 2 or 1.5 problems quickly is enough most of the time.
To achieve this goal without breaking a sweat, you can resort to the following links to help you out:
- Practice medium and some hard-level problems from the Practice Portal of GeeksforGeeks.
- You can also look into and try previous year’s Code Jam questions to gain practice and perspective to clear this round.
Once you are in the top 1500 of any sub-round of Round 1, you will make it successfully to the next round – Round 2, where there are only 4500 participants left. In this round, Google will filter out the top 1000 participants that will advance to the next round. Hence, this time, the problems will be really difficult.
You should have quick problem-solving skills and almost expert-level competitive programming skills. We highly recommended you practice hard-level problems as much as possible, along with your active competitive programming streak. Practice as much as you can, that must be the motto to clear Round 2.
As soon as you prove yourself to be one of the top 1000 participants in Round 2, you advance to the next round – Round 3, and you earn an exclusive limited-edition Google Code Jam T-shirt.
Round 3 is held online and the top 1000 participants compete for the top 25 positions to qualify for the World Finals and move to the last step to winning the tournament.
The World final round is the most complex and toughest round of all. In the finals, not only the top 25 participants are eligible for the last fight for the tournament title, but also the last year’s Google Code Jam Winner.
So in the World Finals round, a total of 26 participants battle it out at the venue, and the best among the best wins the Google Code Jam winner title, along with a whopping $15,000 winning prize.
From the above information on the Code Jam, it is very clear that you will have to be the best among the best to clear and win the Google Code Jam title. So how do you prepare for Google Code Jam?
Undoubtedly, the best way to make an ace is to have an effective and sustainable preparation strategy, with the best knowledge of Data Structures and Algorithms (DSA). But, just for you, we will break down the Code Jam preparation strategy in the upcoming points, to help you gain the most.
Though the Code Jam competition is all about competitive programming, but to begin with, you need to have the basics clear of at least one of the Programming languages, such as:
- The basic syntax,
- The data types, variables, and, operators,
- Conditional statements,
- Input/Output, etc.
The main purpose of using Data Structures is to reduce time and space complexities. An efficient data structure makes use of minimum memory space and takes the minimal possible time to execute, thereby allowing your code to pass all the provided constraints.
Make sure to cover the below mostly used Data Structures in computer science, to make a solid base for your Google Code Jam preparation:
It is essential to have an algorithm that is both time and space-efficient and the best way to illuminate various kinds of issues is with the help of various kinds of algorithms. Once you have a grasp of Data Structures, it is highly recommended to practice various algorithmic techniques, from any of the below links:
- Complete Roadmap To Learn DSA From Scratch
- List of popular problems on various algorithmic techniques
- Google Code Jam archives
As this is a top league competitive programming contest, you must have enough practice to perform well. Here are some of the best platforms for practice:
A large variety of problems of every difficulty level are present on GeeksForGeeks and apart from that GeeksforGeeks organizes many contests every month through the practice portal which includes:
- A number of job-a-thons for freshers to get hiring opportunities in a significant number of companies.
- Problem of the Day, which provides a problem of varying difficulty each day.
- Other hiring and challenge events.
Google Kick Start is a global online coding competition, consisting of three-hour rounds of a variety of algorithmic challenges designed by Google engineers. Participants can compete in one or all online rounds held throughout the year, and will have the opportunity to develop and grow their programming abilities while getting a glimpse into the technical skills needed for a career at Google.
Refer to our complete guide on How to prepare for Google Kick Start to begin your Google Kick Start journey.
Hash Code is a team programming competition, organized by Google, for students and professionals around the world. You pick your team and programming language and they pick an engineering problem for you to solve. The contest kicks off with a Qualification Round. In that round your team can compete virtually from wherever you’d like, alongside your virtual Hub. Top teams will then be invited to compete in the virtual World Finals.
Google Code Jam is a great way to test and improve your coding skills while competing with the best minds from around the world. If you think you have what it takes to bring home the coveted Google Code Jam championship and cash prize, start your preparations right away!
Now you may have a question in your mind “Is that all I should do?” Well if you are following them devotedly and giving your all, this will be the preparation mantra for you. But the most important factor is your devotion and regular practice to increase the size of your arsenal. If you can follow them right, you can win any battle.
- Google Code Jam FAQs
- Code Jam Rules
- Top 15 Websites for Coding Challenges and Competition
- Complete Roadmap To Learn DSA From Scratch