I did some amount of competitive programming during my second-year internship. I never did it earnestly. The goal wasn’t to become a top competitive programmer. The goal was to nail the coding interviews of top tech companies. Competitive programming was just the means by which I could reach that goal.
According to me, competitive programming in itself has no use. You cannot ship it as software. However, the concepts learned in competitive programming are central to understanding computer science, improving one’s thinking skills, developing problem-solving ability, and building up the ‘not-giving up’ mindset which are all key factors in the success of any software engineer and so, I feel that everyone must get some experience of competitive programming.
I never really ‘started’ CodeChef/TopCoder. I solved some problems from these platforms while picking up concepts. For instance, I solved a lot of DP problems from TopCoder to pick up DP. However, I never competed on these platforms.
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