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Programming Contests: Why Bother?


Would you like to learn how to be a better, more efficient programmer? Do you want to build optimized code that runs faster than anything you thought you could create? Then you might find that entering programming contests helps you sharpen your skills. Keep reading as we take a close look at what you can gain from pitting your programming skills against your peers from around the world.

Author Info:
By: Gabor Bernat
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 5
June 23, 2009
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Programming Contests: Why Bother?
  2. · The Contest
  3. · Which Contests?
  4. · Mental Approach

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Programming Contests: Why Bother? - Mental Approach
(Page 4 of 4 )

Regardless of which contest you are trying your luck in, at its base the contest will try to evaluate what you've grasped and how well you can adapt it to your specific situation. Because of this, you do need to prepare for it, losing maybe countless hours/nights before the monitor. Moreover, this is a contest, and because of this, you'll eventually see a certain spirit of competition. 

It is insane to think about how much can depend on a simple inspiration. Anyone can have a good or a bad day, and because of this, lose or win a contest. However, I think the most important thing is to realize that this is just a contest, not the end of the world, and you should compete in the spirit of fair play, leaving your malicious thoughts at home. In the end, everything that affects you prior to and on the day of the contest will put its mark on your performance (your temperament, experience, how much you slept on the days before, and so on).

The most important factor remains the individual value (given by your preparation for the contest) and your mentality. Remember that each "failure" in a contest will count as an experience, and will increase your chances for future success. Really, there is no such thing as failure, because every little step will bring you closer next time. The most successful people in the world are those who tried the most. Simply put, more tries equals more chances to win, and eventually you will manage to break through.

So remember to bring to the contest an optimistic and relaxed attitude, and to have fun. Also, remember that nothing is free; if you want to give a great performance, you need to prepare. Most of the people who have done well say that it is 10 percent talent, 90 percent preparation, and I completely agree with them.

Now we can divide a contest into three sections: before, during, and after. Each one of them has, or should have, a couple of stages that you should complete. For instance, prior to a contest the following preparatory stages make sense: theory, mentality, global approach, simulation, experience-sharing and arriving at the place. Each one of them deserves a little more elaborate treat, so I will do so during our next meeting in the article "Preparing for Programming Contests." For now, sit back and decide whether what you may get in return motivates you enough to jump in.

Thank you for reading my article and I invite you to express your emerging thoughts here on the blog of the article or if you want, join our forum at DevArticles where our experts will try to answer whatever questions you may have. Until next time, remember to Live With Passion!


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