Cracking Google Summer of Code 101

Google, one of the world’s leaders when it comes to technology, hosts a global program every year to instill the values of better programming, collaboration, and development in university students and organizations. Dubbed the Google Sum

Cracking Google Summer of Code 101

Summer of Code, it is aimed at getting the concepts of open source deep into the minds of the creative thinkers of tomorrow. With immense exposure and attractive incentives for GSoC scholars, it represents an opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute.

Getting accepted into GSoC, however, is one of the toughest nuts to crack. Let us take a deeper dive into how GSoC actually works.

Turning the gears at GSoC

Every year, organizations and firms all over the world partner up with Google to be a part of the Google Summer of Code, which usually takes place in the summer vacation times of major universities all over the world. Organizations post their projects, bio, and requirements for all students to see and decide which one to go for. These projects range from developing mini-games for a website and building web apps to delving into the deep world of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

To get selected by an organization, there is only one mantra- to contribute. Contribute here means to play a part in the organization codebase as much as possible. This can be by fixing the simplest of bugs, or helping the organization upscale projects critical to their operations. The procedure is a bit different than what students would typically consider as ‘coding’, but don’t worry, we’ll dwell on that more in the coming sections.

Once you get selected by the organization of your choice, you have the entirety of your summer vacations (3 months) to work for them, 6-8 hours a day, learn, code, develop, and strive to contribute to the organizations. The incentives and stipends are ridiculous, to say the least, and the tag of being a GSoC scholar adds some much-needed sheen to your resume!

Let’s get down to business, now. How to actually get into the GSoC program?

Getting in

Now comes the important part- getting accepted to the Google Summer of Code. It is difficult, but not impossible. Let’s get started with GitHub.

GitHub is basically a repository of open source code and projects posted by developers and organizations to work and collaborate with each other. All organizations listed in the GSoC program will have their industrial code available in GitHub. 

Getting into GSoC involves a few basic steps. Here’s what you need to do in order to crack the GSoC-

  • After you pick an organization, follow them on GitHub, and pick a project or application. View the issues posted related to that project, make a copy of the project on your own account, and start working on it.
  • After you make whatever changes you want to your own copy, open up a pull request. This is a fancy term for asking the organization to accept your changes and integrate them with their own source code. This is basically what a contribution is called. You get more accreditation if you report some issues, too. 

The final step- drafting the proposal

This right here is your Hail Mary, this is what will make or break your fate. Once you have everything it takes for you to believe that you’re the best person to continue contributing to the organization, you have to convince the firm about the same. Conveying that sentiment in a well drafted proposal is key to getting accepted. 

Here’s some crucial tips to nailing your proposal

  1. Use technical jargon in the right places. Don’t sound too pretentious while describing your contributions, and include a proper timeline highlighting all efforts.
  2. Make sure that your proposal highlights the project that you intend to work on, and how you wish to proceed. This is your only chance to impress the higher-ups at the organization, so don’t let it go to waste!
  3. Also develop a “motivations” section, which highlights your interest and curiosity in the organization’s projects, what it does, and how you intend to carry forward that passion.

That’s about it! With a pile of effective and valuable contributions, an eloquently-drafted proposal, and a will to succeed is all it takes to make your way into the GSoC. Cracking the GSoC 101 now concludes- don’t wait, fire up GitHub, start contributing, and set off on the journey towards GSoC stardom!

How to ace Dynamic Programming in competitions

Dynamic programming – the one thing that makes every participant in competitive programming scratch their heads. In general, most programming competitions will have one dynamic programming question. It can be referred to as the problem which is there for the win. Solve it correctly and you are likely to win the grand prize. 

Plus, it’s difficult and so, it is likely that many of your competitors will not be able to solve it. Dynamic programming (DP) is tricky – there’s no doubt about that. It has overlapping subproblems, each of which has to be solved just once. All of it sounds very challenging. However, there are a few tips you can follow to ace Dynamic Programming in competitions: 

Tutorials

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There are many online tutorials designed to teach you dynamic programming properly. When you are going through these tutorials, you will come across many new terms like iterative code, memoization, recursive code, etc. Research about them and see how they are implemented in the program. 

You can also go through a few suggestions and examples given in these tutorials. Even though you might find DP interesting, many overlapping subproblems may not be straightforward. For example, there are DP with Bitmasks, Digit DP, etc. Learn more about these complex programming parts too in different tutorials.

Breaking it up

When you are solving DP, you have to make up a mindset – to think in terms of globally optimal choices. Do not think locally. That’s the secret. When you come across DP, start breaking it down into simpler subproblems and then solve each of them once. Now, build up to the final solution by combining these solved subproblems.  

Noting it down

Start exploring the whole search space and make small inputs on paper. When you are solving the problem, these inputs can help you a lot in avoiding iterative. Iterating all the permutations will be extremely ineffective and time-consuming. Rather keep your notebook in hand and start noting down important points as you work through the DP. It will be more logical, less time-consuming and much more effective.

Mastering Recursion

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Recursion is a function that calls itself. Now, that’s the bare-bones definition of recursion. However, that’s not all of it. Recursion can also be a thought process. Try to use recursive thinking as a solution to different problems. One of the ways is to figure out the base cases first, even if they are not the simple ones. Try to study a functional language like Haskell, which will help you develop the thought process. When you start thinking recursively, you can easily master recursion.

Practice and Hard work

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There is no alternative to practising and hard work, especially when you are dealing with DP. So, visit different competitive programming sites and start practising DP. Start off with the easy ones, get your basics right and then move on to the difficult ones. Work hard on your recursive thinking. The more you practice, the better you will become at identifying a problem as DP and then breaking it down into simpler segments.

Believe in yourself

DP is difficult and tricky, but if you give up from the first, then you won’t be able to tackle it. First, you have to believe in yourself and know that you can engage with Dynamic Programming. Once you believe in yourself, you will be able to work hard and find solutions to difficult problems. It will also help you keep your mind cool and be confident when you finally tackle DP in competitive programming.
Make a schedule and keep a slot for practising DP everyday. You might require a guide to help you with DP and make you a true master in it. You can also opt for the Coding Ninjas Competitive Programming course to get expert advice and help with Dynamic Programming.

Sites and tools for competitive programming

As a coder, you should not be satisfied with just reading and coding on your computer. For developing your coding skills, you need to test yourself. You need to take yourself outside your comfort zone and evaluate how you perform. That’s what different coding competitions do for you. As you compete for a prize against several experienced coders, you can really feel the heat of coding under pressure. Plus, it will push you to execute shorter and quicker codes, enhance your problem-solving skills and make you a much better coder than before.

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You might be already planning to take part in a coding competition. Well, competitive programming is not easy. However, many sites and tools on the internet can help you with your coding and mould you into a good contender for the first prize in any coding competition. Here are the sites that can help you develop or improve your coding skills:

Topcoder

This is a US site which hosts 1.5-hour Single Round Matches.Topcoder has a specialty along with hosting these matches: they even host Topcoder Open tournament every year. On top of that, you also get tutorials written by respected and experienced Topcoder members. 

HackerRank

HackerRank is a famous site for people aspiring to participate in coding competitions. The site is focused on competitive programming challenges, hosting CodeSprints, 101 Hacks, HourRanks and Week Of Code contests every month. It even provides the learning tracks of different programming languages and topics.

CodeChef

CodeChef is an Indian site which hosts 3 contests every month. It has a Long Challenge, which is a 10-day challenge, a shorter Cook-Off challenge and Lunchtime Challenges. For beginners, the Long Challenge is a great place to start. CodeChef also organizes the CodeChef SnackDown coding competition every year.

HackerEarth

This Indian company focuses on hiring challenges and competitive programming. It conducts Circuits every month and shorter challenges called HourStorms. Circuits are generally 9-day long. HackerEarth hosts competitions in several colleges all over the country too.

Tools

During programming contests, you can use a number of tools to debug a problem or highlight a problem. These are a few tools that can be really helpful for you:

Online IDE’s

  • Ideone – This is a commonly used sharing and testing code. You can easily make an account and save your programs here. However, it does not show the execution time of a program.
  • Codechef/Rextester/Codeforces: Unlike Ideone, these sites will also show the execution time of your programs. With Rextester, you can even develop an execution command for your program too.

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  • CSAcademy IDE: This IDE has all the features of the previous IDE’s along with a workspace which helps you to work on several files simultaneously. This IDE has a ‘stderr’ stream too, so you can debug statements using ‘cerr<<’ debug statements.
  • HackerRank IDE: This IDE can be used on its problem pages. An advantage it has over other IDE’s is that it can display the gdb stack trace when there are runtime errors. Hence, you can understand which line the specific segmentation error occurred. 

Difference Checker

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Stress testing is a great way to find out a bug in an algorithm. Stress tests mean to generate a large set of random test cases and then, to check if the efficient algorithm and the brute force algorithm agree with one another. The tools that can be used for this are: CSAcademy Difftool and Diffchecker.

Online Debugger

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You can use OnlineGDB for debugging the code. It is a compiler and is also a debugger for a number of languages.

Online Formatters

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If you want to share your code so that others may look at it, it is best to format it in a way that makes it easy for others to read it. Online code formatters are a great way to go. Some online code formatters are: format.krzaq.cc, CodeBeautify formatter and the TutorialsPoint formatter.

Visual Tools

If you are not able to visualize a problem properly, you can use Geometry Widget and Graph Editor.

You can use VisuAlgo for featuring animations for algorithms and data structures.

You can also visualize data structures, operations and algorithms using Algorithm Visualizer.

Problem Archives

Browsing through Archives can be a great way to enhance your coding skills. Here are a few archives that you can go through:

SPOJ

This archive consists of several solved classical problems as well as discussion forums. It is a great archive for beginners.

UVa OJ

UVa OJ is a famous archive with more than 3500 programming problems. This archive is generally used with Competitive Programming 3 textbook written by Steven and Felix Halim. 

A2 OJ

This archive has thousands of problems but the best part is that they are divided as per their category. You can even learn a new skill and go through problems related to that. This archive also features Codeforces ladders. In Codeforces ladders, you can join the ladder based on your Codeforces rating. You can then solve the necessary problems required for your skill level.

Project Euler Archives

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This is a great archive to challenge your coding and mathematical skills. You will face a series of challenging problems, whose difficulty will increase as you proceed further. It’s a great way to take you out of the comfort zone.

Google CodeJam Archives

In this archive, you will face the problem of Google CodeJams from previous years.

If you wish to get proper training on competitive programming as well as code in a competitive programming environment, then you should enroll yourself in a course. Coding Ninjas has a great course designed only for coders who want to participate in coding competitions. It has an ongoing leaderboard to evaluate your submission and is powered by Codezen, a great online coding platform. Plus, it’s Online!

Use these tools and sites and get an edge in the coding competitions. Best of luck.

Coding Ninjas Career Camp: Helping students land their dream jobs at zero upfront fees!

Landing a tech job in this highly competitive industry is one tough task for students. The sheer amount of competition just for the chance of getting an interview at top tech giants is enough to make a grown man shudder. It is true that companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft offer some of the highest packages for tech jobs, but it is also well-known that getting a job at the level of these tech giants is no easy feat. Students work night and day, 24 hours, 7 days a week, just to fight for a chance of being interviewed by their dream companies. 

What if this hard, grueling process was made easier?

Coding Ninjas Career Camp– helping students land their dream jobs

Coding Ninjas, helping students learn the ins and outs of development and programming since time immemorial, has launched Coding Ninjas Career Camp- a 6-month course dedicated to helping students find their dream tech jobs at some of the best companies in the world.

As part of this 6-month program, students are taught the intricacies of the business world of tech and software. With rigorous training, mentorship, guidance, and seminars, students are made job-ready, so that they can land interviews at their dream tech companies. Industry-level interview preparation is what Career Camp aims to provide students, with a major focus on subjects like Database Management Systems, Operating Systems, System Design, and other fundamentals. Not only this, mock interviews by industry experts are also conducted, so that students can get a look and feel of what it feels like to be interviewed by a tech giant like Microsoft.

What does the Career Camp offer students?

Coding Ninjas’ Career Camp offers world-class benefits to participating students. A complete experience to help them learn programming and secure jobs like never before, Career Camp offers the following benefits-

  • Content tailored to the industry

In order to teach students the skills that the industry requires, Career Camp consists of a plethora of pre-recorded lectures by some of the industry’s leading figures, to be watched at the students’ own convenience. Throughout the camp, students would be exposed to many projects and write thousands of lines of code, thereby increasing their programming proficiency.

  • Doubt resolution and competent faculty

For every 10 students, a Teaching Assistant (TA) will be provided, who will be available on video call, chats, as well as voice calls for students to solve any and all of their doubts. These TA’s are top performing alumni of Coding Ninjas, specially selected for this purpose.

  • Industry level exposure

The Career Camp helps students build their profile and resume to match exactly what top tech companies desire. Mock interviews are held time and again to aid students in getting familiar with the industrial interview process, so that students can ace their interviews when the time comes. With over 170 companies hiring from Coding Ninjas, this industry level exposure can take students places!

Zero fees upfront

The best part about Coding Ninjas Career Camp is that students can choose to pay no fees upfront, only paying back when they land their desired job. The Career Camp offers a minimum 5 LPA job guarantee, with salary ranging from 5-20 LPA depending upon the job profile. 

The payment options for students include the standard option, with INR 50000 upfront fees and 7.5% of salary for up to 2 years, capped at INR 150000. 

With the “Hack” payment option, students can choose to pay nothing upfront, and only begin paying back when they land a job, with the amount being 15% of the salary for 2 years capped at INR 300000.

If students are not able to get a job higher than the minimum offer guarantee, then they are not liable to pay anything back to Coding Ninjas. 

Coding Ninjas Career Camp is currently available for full stack web development role, with other profiles soon to be offered to students in the near future. Dreaming of a tech job at one of the giants? Career Camp will surely take you there!

6 key factors that determine your success in competitive coding

Do you want to test out your coding skills? Then, competitive coding is the best way to go. Imagine you are in the competition – your body’s pumping in the blood to your brains and your fingers all jittery, tapping in the codes to win! Makes you almost feel like Neo, doesn’t it? Competitive coding is fantastic for coders – it puts you on the edge, pushes you out of your comfort zone and boosts your coding skills. But there are certain ways of approaching coding which can bring you success in coding competitions. Here are a few factors which you need to keep in mind when you are engaging with competitive coding: 

  1. Preparing the algorithms and data structures

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For efficient programming, you have to get your basics right. When you are in a competition, you have to code fast – but that should not be an excuse for shabbiness. One of the basics of coding is mastering the data structures and algorithms. So, get your college and high school books out, and start brushing up the basics of coding. You can always take the help of GeeksForGeeks for detailed tutorials too. For intensive coding course, you can also go for CodingNinjas competitive programming courses.

  1. Choose a language you are comfortable with 

The way towards any kind of success is to do what you love. Similarly, during coding competitions, you got to choose a language which you are comfortable with. Learn every bit of the language from the basics to the advanced skills necessary. Ensure that you put in much of your time and effort in this language and develop a mastery over it. Even if it’s C++, make sure that you know it inside out before you participate in a coding competition.    

  1. Practice makes perfect

The old adage – practice makes you perfect is even more relevant for coding. Coding is a skill that you build up on every time you code. Every second you put in to work on the skill brings you closer to achieving a level of mastery in it. Make a schedule if you want, and put in your undivided attention to practice coding during the coding hours. It will definitely give you an edge during the competition.

  1. Participate in more competitions

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While practicing may give you the edge over other coders, your mind might mess up when you actually enter the competition. Facing your challenges, competing with different coders with the same goal – all these factor in to increase a lot of pressure on you. To get rid of it, you have to participate in more competitions. The more you participate, the better you become prepared to tackle the environment that you are in. This will eventually bring a positive difference in your fast-coding skills that is essential for such competitions.

  1. Patience

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Even when you practice and participate in a number of coding competitions, it may not bring you instant victory. It takes time and yes, there is a bit of luck present. You have to be patient. Don’t give up – keep taking the shot – keep participating and keep improving your coding skills. One day, you will be holding the prize and look back in your struggles with pride.

  1. Keep it fun

Coding can often turn out to be really frustrating. It can take a toll on your mind. But don’t be too harsh on yourself. Look at the bright side. These competitions push you out of your comfort zone and that helps to give a new dimension to your coding. Plus, you get to know new coders who can help you out in the future too. So, always be positive and keep it simple. Keep the competition fun and healthy, and enjoy it completely. De-stress yourself and keep a cool mind while coding. That will bring you closer to the success you desire.

Keep the right mindset and you can really achieve what you desire. Remember the three Ns of Coding: Never give up, Never get stressed, and Never stop believing in yourself. Go, get your prize. Best of luck. 
Coding competitions become so much easier when you are actually practicing it in an environment designed for coding competitions. At CodingNinjas, we give you exactly that environment and try to push you out of your comfort zone to get to the top. Let our competitive programming course help you out with your dream to win coding competitions.

True independence comes with enhanced capabilities. Power yourself with the best programming courses from CodingNinjas

We have become independent for more than 70 years now. As an independent nation, we have tried to strengthen our economy, empower the youth with opportunities and build our own industries and infrastructure in an attempt to make a mark on a global scale. If you look at our changing policies, you will find out that we, as an independent nation, strived hard to become self-dependent – empowering ourselves to stand tall with developed countries. This independence day, let us look inwards and empower ourselves. 

Most of us are worried about how our future would turn out to be like. Can we settle down to provide for our self and support our families? Settling down and being happy is the ultimate route towards empowering yourself. So, what’s the best path?

Well, if you are into coding, then you are off to a great start. There is no longer any doubt that the future will be related to programming, technology and computers. Plus, the way computers have entered and integrated with our lives, it is quite possible for coding or programming language to be a mandatory language to learn in the future. Anyway, just being interested in coding and knowing how to do it will not give you that extra edge. You have to remember that most people are aware of how important computers have become and they are pushing their limits to be coding masters. Enhancing your abilities as a coder is the best way to edge past in your competition and come out on top.

That’s why we at Codingninjas are trying to bring the best out of our students. Enhance your coding abilities with us, and become a true master of coding with these courses:

The Future: Machine Learning 

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Machine learning has changed the world of computers and brought in a new dimension to programming and technology. Machine learning is where a machine is programmed to use certain inputs and then learn from it automatically and thereby, provide output on that basis. We can see it with voice assistants like Alexa, and machine learning is also being used in IoTs. The field of Deep Learning continues to expand and shape the future. It is an advanced programming course, but in Coding Ninjas, we ensure that you have a thorough and clear concept of deep learning and how you can implement it in the best and easy way possible. Enhancing your skills in machine learning can get you a position in top firms like Google, Amazon and Facebook.

Python: The Easy Language For The New Generation

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In schools, you might have come across QBASIC or C++, but we all know that programming language is not limited to them. There are COBOL, C, JAVA and many others. But many of the programming languages lack the simplicity which comes with Python. Writing programs in Python is much easier than Java or C++. It is quite versatile and has a great stable library which can support you. Plus, it’s high-level data structures and dynamic typing and binding is something programmers love. It is a language suitable to forward us to the future. But you have to master it well. At Codingninjas, we will make you understand every bit of Python from foundation to advanced to develop the master in you. Of course, you can also go through our foundation courses on C++ or Java to get a hold of programming languages and have a multidisciplinary approach towards programming. That’s always a benefit in this competitive market.

Hone Your Competitive Programming Skills

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Since you have coding blood in you, why not prove your coding skills in a coding showdown? Hackathons are a great way to show your programming, understand how well you fare with your competitors and challenge your own self with difficult coding and live questions. Hackathons are great at pushing your limits and putting you outside your comfort zone. Plus, you get to meet new coders and enlarge your networking – something very important in the coding world. Codingninjas have their own Competitive Programming Course that will help you practice coding in a competitive environment, so that you can at least make your mark in a coding competition and put the limelight on yourself.

Building Your Own Business – Web Design

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Startups are in vogue and you might be one of those risk-taking innovators who want to build their own startups. With social media, while an innovative startup is easy to set-up and promote- you must have user engagement and draw more people to your website. How can you do that without a proper web design? Building a proper webpage is the maker and breaker of your business in the current internet world. You might have a creative vision of how you want your website to look and work, but the real challenge comes with placing your vision onto the computer or the internet. That’s where Codingninja can help you with your business. We will teach you the basics about web apps and how you can create pages of your own. 

Help with cracking the interviews

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Securing your place in an interview is no easy task. There’s no sugarcoating here – the competition is high and interviewers are hired to select the best candidate. That’s why you have to go through a barrage of tests to get a chance to sit for an interview when you are opting for a tech company. You need to be skilled, have a great assertive personality and be highly knowledgeable about the programming language you are working with to get a shot at pleasing the interviewer. Codingninja has designed multiple courses to help you get to the interviewer as well as tackle the questions that the interviewer poses. Our students have landed jobs in Google and Amazon as a proof of our success. We have interview preparation courses which monitor your technical knowledge and skills as well as Aptitude Preparation courses to enhance your logical and verbal reasoning. Combining the power of the two and your own hard work, you can get placed in any tech giants and ace their interviews.

You have the blood of a coder in you. You just need the right person to channel it properly. At Codingninjas, we bring together the best mentors to assist our students and empower them to be coding masters and future leaders. Be truly independent by doing the job you dream of and being a leader of it. That’s the real happiness – being an independent person.

Happy Independence Day!