The Value You Can Get Out of Coding in a Professional Environment: A blog on the benefits to getting involved with coding and professional environments.
Last year, I had the pleasure of attending my first Google Code Jam. It was an exciting experience, and one that I would love to do again. The contest was more than just an opportunity to flex my programming muscles, though – it was also a chance to take a step back and see how far I’ve come as a software developer.
What is Code Jam?
Code Jam is Google’s annual coding competition. It’s open to anyone who wants to participate, and for many people, it’s their first foray into competitive programming. For me, it was a chance to revisit what had been one of my passions since college.
Coding an application is no easy task. Coding one that is not only functional but efficient and user-friendly can be even harder. Getting involved in a professional environment will help you to understand what it takes to create something that works well and has a number of different efficiencies built in that make your life, as the end user, easier or better.
While coding as a hobby is a great way to learn, getting involved with a professional project gives you opportunities that you otherwise would not have. Imagine the value you can get out of working on a platform like Google Maps or Google Docs! You can see how users interact with your application and how others feel about it. You can see the patterns in how people interact with the software and learn to optimize for those patterns, making your own experience, as well as the experience of others, much more enjoyable.
Getting involved in a professional environment also helps you to become acclimated to working with others who are all trying to achieve the same goal. It teaches you how to work through disagreements and compromises, which is something many first time coders would not otherwise be exposed to. It also opens up your coding experience to all sorts of new possibilities. If you are only ever coding on your own projects, chances are
Professional environments are great for learning how to code. If you’re a student who is just getting started with coding, or a senior developer looking to improve your skills, entering the professional environment is going to be the best way to learn. Here are some ways that coding in a professional environment will benefit you and your career.
You’ll be able to dedicate more time to learning how to code. If you’re currently working or in school, you may not feel like you have enough time to focus on coding. But if coding is a priority to you, then making time for it is important. Working in a professional environment can give you the chance to focus on your learning while also getting paid or receiving course credit. You won’t have as many distractions or competing priorities, and this will give you the ability to grow your skills quickly.
Having access to resources is key when it comes to learning how to code. When working in an outside professional environment, there are more likely going to be mentors available for you that can help teach you things about programming that might not be covered in class or on tutorials online. Also, these mentors can help guide your learning by recommending resources that they think may be beneficial for you and where they think you should be focusing
Working with a team while coding can be an incredibly beneficial experience that not only gives you a better understanding of how to work with others, but also allows you to learn from other professionals on the team. Even if you’re not working at a company, this is still possible by forming an open source team with one or more people.
Working in a professional environment will also allow you to find potential bugs much faster than if you were coding alone. You’ll have other people to bounce ideas off of and have discussions about what certain things mean. This can prevent hours of wasted time in trying to figure out why something isn’t working properly.
You’ll also be able to see how different companies structure their projects, which will help make it easier for you to follow along when being hired by a new company or joining an open source project. It’s important to understand the usage of best practices within the industry so that you can be shown as someone who is ready for professional development.
If you have been following the news lately, you may have seen that Google recently opened up applications for their annual coding competition. A few of you may be wondering, “Why would I want to apply for a coding competition?” or even, “What’s in it for me to apply for Google’s coding competition?”
Well, if you’re an undergraduate student looking for a place to gain some professional experience and get your foot in the door with a top-notch company like Google, this is a great opportunity! There are several reasons why you can benefit from participating in the Coding Competition.
First, this is a great way to get noticed by recruiters! If you do well enough in the competition (and even if you don’t), Google recruiters will notice your accomplishments as they review your application. Your name will stick out and they’ll remember that you applied.
Second, even if you don’t do well enough to be considered by the recruiter that reviews your application, there are still plenty of other benefits that result from participating in the competition. One is simply that it gives you an opportunity to practice your coding skills. If you’re an undergraduate student taking Computer Science courses, there are still limitless opportunities to improve your skills and learn new ones. The
One of the things I noticed in my travels to various campuses is that the students who participate in the Google Code Jam are not always the same group of students who go to a lot of hackathons. It’s interesting to see how students can, over time, develop their engineering skills by participating in all kinds of events and competitions.
For example, it’s been great to see how students who took part in Code Jam last year as beginners have developed their skills. Some were able to compete as more experienced engineers and even get jobs at Google as a result of having participated.
We also see some students getting involved with hackathons and other coding projects on campus, which gives them real world experience they need to succeed in the workplace.
Of course, some people may be intimidated by programming or coding. But it’s important to know that many of these competitions are open to all levels of experience, so don’t be afraid to try one out!
The first is the obvious one: you can get hired. And not just at Google, which holds these contests, but any company that is looking for great coders.
A second benefit comes from the fact that coding contests are a good way to learn a new language or get better at one you already know.
The third benefit is that coding contests are fun. They give you a chance to solve problems in ways you might not otherwise have time to do.