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Decoy82

Programming Practice & Refreshers

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Hello all,

I posted a similar question in the Career Development forum but didn't get any response, so thought I'd try here. 

Basically, I got a Computer Science degree in 2004, then joined the military and didn't code for over a decade. When I got out a couple years ago I started to dabble a bit, remembered how much I love programming, and decided to pursue that old dream of making games. I've now got about a month until I graduate with a Game Dev & Programming degree. 

There's not much game dev opportunities where I'm at (Kansas City), so I'll be trying to start out with a general Software Engineering job. Any suggestions for resources to continue to refresh and build my programming skills? Particularly in some of those core CS concepts that have faded away.

I've used hackerrank.com, which has been helpful. Any other sites that are similar?

 

Dan

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I found some software engineering companies had some test projects on their websites that people could do and then send to them as part of a pre-interview process.  That was some years ago and I've forgotten the names of those companies now, but you could look for those.

When looking for new skills to learn, I would look up job listings and research the things they were looking for and try to do small test projects with those skills.  That's how I learnt about MongoDb and Amazon Web Services.

My company once hired one guy out of 3 potentials because he was the only one who had published a small game on Android, it was a very buggy side scroller that kept crashing, but it was better than the other 2 guys who had just a degree.

If I was looking for a job with little available I'd make a free wordpress blog or similar and make small projects and see if you can host them on the website to download, that would impress.

 

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Thanks for the replay @Brobot9k

I hadn't heard of companies posting test projects before, that sounds interesting. I'll have to keep a closer eye out for those as I'm job searching. 

I've got a couple projects that I think could be made publishable with a bit more work, so that is definitely what I plan to work on while I'm job searching after graduation. Hopefully that will be a good resume booster. 

As I think about it more, I think my major concern really boils down to interview prep. I see some of the common programming interview questions and know that I USED to know that stuff, and that the people coming off being immersed in a 4 year computer science program will know it. So, I'll just need to keeping searching for interview prep resources and plug away at refreshing my knowledge on a lot of it. 

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On 11/19/2018 at 11:24 PM, Decoy82 said:

I've used hackerrank.com, which has been helpful. Any other sites that are similar? 

It's not exactly similar, but I quite like https://www.codingame.com. Just as the name implies it contains a bunch of game-related programming exercises. For example you get Mars Lander-like game and you have to write code that would land safety in various conditions, and if you get tired of these simple exercises there are multiplayer games where you have to write AI and compete against other players. I feel it is fun, interactive, and promotes learning.

Edited by Zaoshi Kaba

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Typically before a job interview or other situation where I feel I want a refresher in a language, I will pull out my old Algorithms book (the Sedgewick one) and implement the core algorithms in the language.

Doesn't really matter the language, I can still implement various containers, queues, stacks, trees, sorts, searches, and other topics. The book is more of a guide than anything else to topics I may have forgotten or become rusty.

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On 11/22/2018 at 8:44 AM, Zaoshi Kaba said:

It's not exactly similar, but I quite like https://www.codingame.com. Just as the name implies it contains a bunch of game-related programming exercises. For example you get Mars Lander-like game and you have to write code that would land safety in various conditions, and if you get tired of these simple exercises there are multiplayer games where you have to write AI and compete against other players. I feel it is fun, interactive, and promotes learning.

 

I used that site a bit when I "started to dabble" a couple years ago. It sounds like I may need to check it out again. Thanks for the suggestion!

5 hours ago, frob said:

Typically before a job interview or other situation where I feel I want a refresher in a language, I will pull out my old Algorithms book (the Sedgewick one) and implement the core algorithms in the language.

Doesn't really matter the language, I can still implement various containers, queues, stacks, trees, sorts, searches, and other topics. The book is more of a guide than anything else to topics I may have forgotten or become rusty.

All of the things you mention are exactly what I feel like I need to re-learn. I think I know the terms, but would need to be guided through them in order to implement them in code. I may need to pick up a copy of that book... unless I have an old copy stashed away at my parents' place from 15 years ago. Thanks for the feedback!

 

Dan

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