Professor Java
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There are a lot of great programmers out there who want to compete and measure their skills against each other, in competitions. However, there are not that many programming competitions out there. What are some good ones? I'm here to help.

USACO, or United States of America Computing Olympiad, is a great competition for those under 18. It features three levels of competitions, from bronze to silver to gold, which contain problems from easy to difficult, encompassing dynamic programming, flood fills, etc. It is really useful as it provides training pages, which allow you to hone your skills and teaches you very valuable programming techniques, a help forum, and competitions almost monthly. Definitely check it out if you're under 18. In addition, high scorers in their once-a-year event the Open allows you to qualify for the IOI (International Olympiad in Informatics) which brings together the best young coders from all over the world. 
USACO problems make you take input from a text file, with code such as
BufferedReader f=new BufferedReader(new FileReader(""));
and return through a text file
PrintWriter out = new PrintWriter(new FileWriter("problem.out"));
(Code above for Java)
The submissions for the problems may seem a little strange if you've never worked with input from a file before, but it doesn't take that long to get used to.

One of, if not, the largest programming competition in the world. Open for all ages (13 and up) it features many different types of competitions, including Algorithm, Marathon, Assembly, and etc. Note that you can make money through TopCoder competitions, with the exception of Algorithm and Marathon unless in very rare situations. I will be focusing on Algorithm and Marathon because they require the least amount of GUI knowledge and can be done very easily.
TopCoder Marathon and Algorithm matches take place at specific times, and fairly often (almost 2 times a week). The problem statement gives you a question, and your formatting to answer it, unlike the USACO, is much more simpler. Write a public class, and a public method with the same signature they give you: ex. public int add(int a, int b). You simply write the code inside it and return what is asked, which is then compared to the correct answer to score you. Marathon matches are identical, except the questions are much more difficult and give you a 2 week deadline. In addition, TopCoder has many practice problems (past contest problems) which are available to use to train with. They also have a really good ranking system, so you can tell exactly what you place among all the coders in the world. Many languages are accepted, and they have two Divisions: Division 1 and Division 2. You start out at Division 2, but if your ranking gets high enough, you move to Division 1, where the problems are harder. In addition, TopCoder holds their own marquee event, the TopCoder Open, which attracts many people and has a finale in Las Vegas (finalists get all expenses convered) with many prizes for the winners. You can also write problems for the competitions and make money for it; their are a lot of ways to make money on TopCoder. A must-see, available for virtually anyone!

4/30/2011 02:16:29 pm

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10/03/201015 Comments
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9/25/2012 03:05:15 am

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