Today, many companies take advantage of the drawing power of contests to draw out the power of the crowd. We have taken a look at photo contests and design contests before. Then there is Google with its lineup of contests you should keep an eye on. One of the contests Google hosts is CodeJam; its annual programming competition. Google is of course not alone when it comes to calling up the brightest minds. Other biggies like Microsoft with its Imagine Cup and IBM are second to none. IBM for instance also sponsors the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest.
So, if you fancy yourself with a programming language, brush off the cobwebs, be mindful of your intellectual property rights and dive into some contests that are held in the online world.
TopCoder is the world’s largest competitive software development community spread over 200 countries and 272,348 members. The site hosts online programming contests in the Java, C++, and C# languages. Fortnightly online algorithm competitions and weekly competitions on design and development are platforms for coding skills. The algorithm based contests are usually the shortest (2 hrs) while marathon matches can go on for couple of weeks. The codes from design and development contests are usually picked up by companies for a profit. TopCoder.com sometimes serves as a hiring platform for developers.
Codechef is a noncommercial programming community that’s Indian in origin but global in scope with nearly 25,000 members. The programming community hosts contests, trainings and events for its worldwide membership. Codechef is well organized with local chapters in colleges, meetups, an active forum, blog, Facebook Group and a Twitter stream. You can practice your problem solving skills on the site and then take part in the monthly face-offs.
Nokia’s worldwide contest covers eco-friendly applications, entertainment, productivity, and life improvement. You have to design apps for Nokia that address these categories. The solution can be hardware, software, or services that relates to mobility using a mobile device. The contest is open to all mobile and web application developers worldwide. This year’s contest is over, so you might have to wait till next year to walk away with the five figure cash prize.
The World Bank attempts to foster social innovation by asking the developer community to develop software applications related to one or more of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). You can submit any kind of software application, web apps, a mobile device, console, SMS, or any common software platform. The only condition is that the proposed application use one or more datasets from the World Bank Data Catalog available at data.worldbank.org. You can still participate before January 10, 2011.
Another city specific example is the NYC BigApps 2.0 Competition which is for New York City.
The engineering puzzles are placed on the Careers page on Facebook, so it could be an entry ticket to a job at Facebook. But you have to solve them and get them right first, because as this old blog entry explains competition to get into Facebook is pretty intense. The Facebook Puzzle Master Page also holds frequent contests that can help you get noticed.
HTML5 is the new kid on the block. The site has been put together by a gaming website that seeks to promote itself and HTML5 mobile games with the help of monthly contests. Bring your game development skills to the table and walk away with up to $7,700 a month in prize money.
This is an annual online programming contest that’s held by The Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kharagpur (India); one of the top most engineering colleges in the world. The competition tests your C and C++ skills. The last edition had 4,900 teams from a total of 1,473 universities and institutes of 66 countries. Registration is free and open to all. The top prize is 40,000 INR (about $1,000). The registrations for the 2011 edition are expected to start soon.
If you are a “˜demented computer programmer’ then the annual (or biyearly) online programming contest should be for you. You can enter the latest round too where you need to arrange a deck of cards in a specific way. What’s noteworthy is that you have to just submit the result and not the program. So, you can work at the solution with any tool available to you. Prizes are monetarily insignificant but attractively offbeat like sculpted math models or bronzed mini-sculptures.
Programming contests are a great way to know exactly where you stand in the developer community. Do you take part in any programming challenge that’s held online (or offline)? These aren’t the only ones after all. Drop us a comment.