Code Challenges: How To Use Them To Improve Your Programming Skills

If you’re stuck on a programming problem or project, a code challenge may be the answer.
Code challenges are a type of programming exercise that asks you to write code to solve a problem or complete a task. In a few code challenges, you don’t have to code to finish the challenge. The code that you write can be as simple or complex as you want.

Code challenges can help you learn new programming techniques, sharpen your existing skills, and even help you make friends in the process.
In this post, we’ll talk about how you can use code challenges to improve your programming skills and build your own collection of programming problems.

Why Use Code Challenges?

There are two scenarios when code challenges come in handy. The first one is when you, as an interviewer, want to assess the proficiency of coders or software developers that you’d like to hire. The best way to test their programming skills is by assigning them coding tasks then assessing the thought process and approach they use to get the solution.
You can as well use code challenges to improve your coding skills. Code challenges are a form of brain exercise. They are not only fun but also are a great way to test what you know in theory. You become faster, smarter, and better as you practise solving the code challenges.
Code challenges can help you practice to be a fast coder. They will prepare you for high-pressure technical interviews and coding tasks that have a short deadline. The more challenges you solve, the more your confidence in programming grows.

How to Use Code Challenges to Learn Programming

So how do you use code challenges to learn programming? First, you need to find the site that works for you.
Many sites offer code challenges. Some specialise in popular languages like JavaScript, Python, Java and PHP, while others have added incentives like competitive programming contests and support forums. Go for the site that specializes in the languages, technologies or algorithms you’d like to learn.
When starting, work on the easy challenges, then scale up to more difficult ones as you grow. The easy ones might be hard at first, but keep practising. You’ll get the hang of how to solve them.

Tips to Improve your Coding Skills with Code Challenges

To become an expert programmer, you need to practice. Programming videos and tutorials are good, but they only get you so far. Practice is what will help you maximise your training. Here are few helpful tips for improving your programming skills with code challenges.

  • Embrace the Discomfort

Practising something new is never an easy process. It means making mistakes, re-learning from them, and trying again. It’s not a comfortable feeling, but it does get easier with time. You will get better the more you practice.

  • Be Open to Constructive Criticism

When you submit your code for review, be open to a reviewer or developer challenging your solution. Try not to take it personally. Seek to learn more from what he or she tells you.

  • Seek Help

If your goal is to become a better software developer, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most code challenges sites have a support community of developers. It’s okay to consult them. Ask them how they did the challenges. You can as well compare your solution with theirs to see where they vary.

Examples of Code Challenges

A good tip would be to think of code challenges as tasks asking you to convert an input into an output. The input is the task. The output is the solution, and the conversion process is the function. Here are some examples of code challenges:

  • Conversion Tasks

The code challenge can be to write a function that converts years into days, names to initials or rows to rectangles. Such tasks are easy, requiring only beginner level expertise.

  • Fixing Bugs

The challenge can be to fix a bug or syntax error in a piece of written code. This challenge can be easy or difficult, depending on how intricate the written code is.

  • Calculation Tasks

The code challenge can ask you to create a function that calculates the area of a triangle, works out the sum of polygons or finds the sum of numbers. Such a challenge requires novice to medium level expertise.

Code Challenges Closing Remarks

Ready to try out code challenges? Practising coding challenges can help improve your programming and problem-solving skills. The challenges might be difficult when starting. But with time, you’ll get better. Just keep practising. Keep trying. Appreciate the process, regardless of whether you succeed or make mistakes.