CTF? Competitive Programming? (1 Viewer)

Amme

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Long story short how can I start getting myself into CP or CTF? I’ve been interested in them for a while but im practically clueless on how to start. Can anyone with experience tell me how to start learning 😅 (Like what coding languages I should learn first and things like that) Thank you in advance!!!
 

brent012

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Not sure about CTF, but for competitive programming C++ and/or Java would be recommended but you don't necessarily have to start with those. The biggest programming competition is the ICPC for university students and it is restricted to C, C++, Java and Python. The other big competition is Google Code Jam which supports basically any popular language that has an open source version, you can get involved in Code Jam before uni I believe but just check there's not an 18+ requirement. For a high school student, there's also Olympiad which is big but I wasn't involved in that so can't elaborate anymore.

For ICPC, C is not really a practical choice and solutions that don't time out for Python are not guaranteed so it's also not a practical choice if you want to get good and competitive. Between C++ and Java, C++ has faster run times which can be the difference between a time out and getting a question right. As a result, basically all the top teams use C++.

But if you haven't started programming much yet, Python is a great choice. I'd recommend checking out Grok Learning and their NCSS challenge - the challenge and also the NCSS in general is also great even if you're not a beginner - i'd highly recommend applying for their summer school, but i'm not sure how COVID affects it. UNSW also run ProgComp for high school students.

There's a lot of sites to practice competitive programming like Codeforces, HackerRank, CodeChef and Project Euler. LeetCode is also very glossy and popular, but it's intention is more for preparing people for technical interviews rather than competitive programming.

This book, Competitive Programming is highly recommended and is aimed at both Olympiad and ICPC competitors. I haven't checked it out, but there's also a Coursera course from one of the St Petersburg universities (two unis there are very strong at ICPC).
 
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Amme

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Not sure about CTF, but for competitive programming C++ and/or Java would be recommended but you don't necessarily have to start with those. The biggest programming competition is the ICPC for university students and it is restricted to C, C++, Java and Python. The other big competition is Google Code Jam which supports basically any popular language that has an open source version, you can get involved in Code Jam before uni I believe but just check there's not an 18+ requirement. For a high school student, there's also Olympiad which is big but I wasn't involved in that so can't elaborate anymore.

For ICPC, C is not really a practical choice and solutions that don't time out for Python are not guaranteed so it's also not a practical choice if you want to get good and competitive. Between C++ and Java, C++ has faster run times which can be the difference between a time out and getting a question right. As a result, basically all the top teams use C++.

But if you haven't started programming much yet, Python is a great choice. I'd recommend checking out Grok Learning and their NCSS challenge - the challenge and also the NCSS in general is also great even if you're not a beginner - i'd highly recommend applying for their summer school, but i'm not sure how COVID affects it. UNSW also run ProgComp for high school students.

There's a lot of sites to practice competitive programming like Codeforces, HackerRank, CodeChef and Project Euler. LeetCode is also very glossy and popular, but it's intention is more for preparing people for technical interviews rather than competitive programming.

This book, Competitive Programming is highly recommended and is aimed at both Olympiad and ICPC competitors. I haven't checked it out, but there's also a Coursera course from one of the St Petersburg universities (two unis there are very strong at ICPC).
Thank you so much!
 

idkkdi

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Thank you so much!

Prepare to devote all of your highschool life to vim if you want to make IOI. Making olympiad summer school is slightly easier.
 
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Amme

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Prepare to devote all of your highschool life to vim if you want to make IOI. Making olympiad summer school is slightly easier.
hahaha thank you for the advice!😊
 

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