Top 10 Tips and Tricks to Crack Competitive Programming

competitive programming

If you’re someone who’s entering into the coding world and wondering if you can crack competitive programming or not, here’s the solution to your doubt. Competitive Programming (CP) has a lot to do with getting a high-paying job. The chance of getting hired at top companies increases if you’re good at CP or have a good score/rank. In this article, we’ll be going through some of the best tips and tricks to crack competitive programming.

Before we understand some of the best tips and tricks to crack CP, let’s understand what it actually means.

What is Competitive Programming?

Competitive Programming or CP is a contest organized by different online websites where you have to solve 4-6 questions in a limited period of time(1.5/2.5 hours). In this contest, you can get questions based on DSA, OOPS, etc.

CP is totally based on logic, the more you’re good at building logic, the more questions you can solve easily and with an optimized solution. If you’re someone new to CP and wondering where and how to start, here’s How to Start Competitive Programming in 5 steps?

Why Competitive Programming?

Learning CP helps you in participating in contests and getting good ranks on the platform which when added to your resume makes it extraordinary and thereby, increases the chance of getting hired. Every big MNCs or product-based companies hire candidates based on their ranks in CP also. There are various other reasons as well that state that every coder must have knowledge of CP. Below mentioned are some of them:

  • Makes your problem-solving and coding skills better.
  • Increases your chance of getting a high-paying job.
  • Helps you in building a stand-out resume.
  • The hiring process in interviews gets easier.
  • You become placement-ready.
  • Finding referrals during a job search becomes easier.
  • Makes your logic-building skills stronger.

Want to solve questions on CP and improve your coding skills? Are you wondering where you can find such platforms where you can attempt contests?

Here are the 5 Easy Websites to Practice Coding for Competitive Programming

Top 10 Tips and Tricks to Crack Competitive Programming

1. Choosing a Programming Language

There are various programming languages that are used to solve complex problems. Starting from the easiest to the toughest, you may feel which programming language is apt for CP. Languages like C++/Java/Python/JavaScript are the best ones. Choosing a programming language should be the first and foremost target before entering into the journey of competitive programming.

According to major reports, C++/Java is considered the best programming language for CP. Since C++ has faster execution than Python and Java, it is the most recommended one for CP. Also, C++ has large community support that helps you to learn and ask for guidance.

Do Read 5 Best Languages for Competitive Programming

c++ for competitive programming

2. DSA

DSA definitely is an important part of CP. While solving questions based on CP, you’ll encounter DSA techniques. The concepts of DSA give you an idea not just for solving problems, but also for optimizing them. You must know the basics of DSA before starting to solve questions based on CP.

Analyzing the problem and coming up with the most efficient solution is what competitive programming wants. Thus after having a basic knowledge of DSA, you’ll be able to solve problems in a more efficient way.

3. Working on Time and Space Complexity

When you have a good grip on the concepts of DSA and coding, you must definitely look after how well-optimized a solution is. Time and space complexity means the time taken to execute a problem and the memory occupied while executing a problem respectively.

Time and Space Complexities play a major role in CP as your solution will be checked on the optimization level. You must learn and know the best or the optimal solution for a problem in order to rank well in contests.

4. Practice Daily

You must develop a habit of practicing problems on a daily basis. If you forget to practice even a single day, the next day you’ll be confused. Also, when you take a problem, put your complete focus on building the logic using pen and paper and then implementing those in solutions. The more you practice, the more easily and quickly you’re able to solve problems.

Try learning new concepts every day. You should at least solve 2-3 questions daily if you’re a beginner. Give you maximum time in working with efficient solutions. Invest your time now if you really want to grow in your career.

5. Solve More Questions

As a beginner, you should solve as many problems as you can. Take a break but put your complete focus on working with solutions. During your initial days, if you put your complete focus on implementing solutions, then in the future you’ll be relaxed. You should have that curiosity in yourself to solve more and more questions in competitive programming.

Scale up or level up yourself daily by solving one more question the next day. Suppose, if you’re solving 2 questions today, then solving 3 tomorrow, increase the count daily.

6. Focus on the Solution, not the Optimization

As a beginner, you should focus more on solving the questions rather than working on optimizing them. Since you’re new to this, you should first build your command in solving questions within a stipulated time. Wasting your time on optimizing the solution in the initial days of your learning de-motivates you.

Hence, it is recommended that you should work on solving as many problems as you can, later when you have a good grip on the concepts, you can work on optimizing the solutions since optimization plays a very important role in CP.

7. Use Pen and Paper

As a beginner, you might be interested in using keyboards and it is pretty good as your typing speed increases which helps you during exam time. But you should also remember that to solve a question, you must have a pen and paper while learning competitive programming. Having a habit of using pen and paper helps you in building logic which is the most important parameter in solving problems

To solve problems, you need to have a logic using which you’ll solve the problem. You can write the step-by-step procedure for solving the problem which thus gives you a clear idea of how to solve a problem in competitive programming.

8. Move From Easy to Hard

Start by solving the easy questions because if you start from the hard ones, you may lose self-confidence. Solving the easy ones first gives the confidence and motivates you to move ahead. Being a beginner, your first few days should be totally devoted to the easy questions.

When you solve easy questions, it gets solved quickly, thereby no wastage of time, and also brings self-confidence in you. You tempt to solve more and more questions. Do not forget to level up yourself, when you solve enough questions based on easy level, it’s time to move on to the hard ones and solve them slowly and efficiently.

9. Build a Strong Community

Building a strong community while learning competitive programming is very essential for you to grow and learn. Having a community where you can ask your doubts, learn from your seniors and friends, code with them, and share your ideas is a great tip you should follow to crack competitive programming.

Also, you can ask them about their experiences and the mistakes they made so that you can avoid those during your exam. One such open-source platform where developers contribute and share their idea is GitHub. Do register in GitHub and explore it.

10. Participate in Contests

After solving the required amount of questions, you must participate in coding challenges on platforms that offer those. Since you’re a beginner, it’s better to participate in contests that are considered easy ones. Contests that are long are worthy to participate in for you as a newbie.

In the long contests, you get enough time to solve questions thus helping you in building the logic well. Have a habit of participating in as many contests as you want. Whether you’re able to solve it or not, do participate as you’ll get an idea of what type of questions you’re asked so that you’ll be prepared for those next time onwards.

You can hover over Google’s Coding Competitions to solve questions and win exciting prizes.


With this being said, you must definitely follow these tips and tricks to crack competitive programming in just one go. There are many benefits of CP, the major one is increasing your chance of getting hired. So, it’s a yes if you ask does CP helps in placements. With the above-stated tips and tricks, you’ll be able to get into top tech companies if you follow them regularly.

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Author Bio

Isha Sharma
Isha Sharma
I have two years of experience in the tech industry, one year of experience in Mindtree as a web developer, and 1 year of experience working in GeeksforGeeks as a Technical Content Engineer where I was responsible for writing articles, reviewing other author’s articles, reviewing videos and giving supers for the same.

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