This is a list of 10 most prestigious and old programming contests and challenges which you can participate and win prizes. Most of them are annual competitions but few are continuous and you can enter at any time. You can use C, C++, Java or C# .NET or any other programming language in these contests.

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These contests offer young, talented programmers the opportunity to measure their capabilities and to compare themselves to other programmers around the world. Below is a list of some popular coding challenge websites with a short description of what each one offers.

The ACM-IPC International Collegiate Programming Contest

1) The ACM-ICPC International Collegiate Programming Contest

The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) traces its roots to a competition held at Texas A&M in 1970 hosted by the Alpha Chapter of the UPE Computer Science Honor Society. The contest fosters creativity, teamwork, and innovation in building new software programs, and enables students to test their ability to perform under pressure. Quite simply, it is the oldest, largest, and most prestigious programming contest in the world.

TopCoder Challenge

2) TopCoder

TopCoder is fast becoming the major league for programming competitions. TopCoder brings members together once a week to compete online (Single Round Match) and twice a year both online and on location (Tournaments).
The top ranked users on TopCoder are very good competitive programmers and regularly compete in programming competitions. The topcoder community takes on challenges from world’s leading brands such as IMB, Google and eBay.

Google Code Jam

3) Google’s Coding Competitions

Google Code Jam is an annual programming competition in which professional and student programmers are asked to solve complex algorithmic challenges in a limited amount of time, using the programming language of their choice. This contest starts online and programmers can practice by trying out problems from past years.

Google Hash Code is coding challenge for teams of students and professionals around the world. Top teams will then be invited to a Google office for the Final Round.

Google Kick Start is a global online coding competition, consisting of three-hour rounds of a variety of algorithmic challenges designed by Google engineers. These competitions are held throughout the year and participants may get a chance to get invited to interview at Google

The ICFP Programming Contest

4) The ICFP Programming Contest

The International Conference on Functional Programming ICFP Programming Contest is held every year, a few months before the conference. ICFP is a fun and challenging three day open programming competition.

There is no entry fee or need to pre-register. Participants may work from any location. Participants may form teams and the teams may have any number of members.

International 24-hour Programming Contest

5) BME International 24-hours Programming Contest

The Challenge 24 is a 24-hour international programming contest. The most important thing in this contest is that the participants are allowed to use their own computers so that they are given the possibility to work in their usual environment that fits them the best.

Also, there are no restrictions on operating systems, development tools or programming platforms. Only the 30 best teams gets an invitation to Budapest, Hungary, where the ‘real’ BME Challenge 24 takes place.

The International Obfuscated C Code Contest

6) The International Obfuscated C Code Contest

The International Obfuscated C Code Contest has been running for over 25 years now in 2020. The contest is done through email or online submission. All you have to do is write the most obscure or obfuscated ANSI C program in fewer than 4096 characters length according to the rules.

All entries must compile with GCC compiler and run under at least one flavor of UNIX. (e.g. Linux or Solaris).

7) Internet Problem Solving Contest

Internet Problem Solving Contest The Internet Problem Solving Contest (IPSC) is an online contest for teams consisting of up to three people. Several problems are published at the beginning of the competition. Some of them are unusual kinds of problems which will test your out of the box thinking.

For example, find three numbers such that x=y and y=z, but x≠z.

To solve a problem you will have to compute correct output data for the given input data sets. Usually this means that you will write a program that solves the problem, but you may produce the output by hand or in any other way.

Microsoft Imagine Cup

8) Microsoft Imagine Cup

Microsoft Imagine Cup has been around for two decades now. This program invites you to take on real-world problems submitted by IGOs, NGOs and non-profits that you can then take on as part of your Imagine Cup project. Then put your ideas into action as you create solutions that have potential to change the world.

The winner of the imagine cup will receive cash prizes, Azure Grant, and a mentoring session with Microsoft CEO

robot working with digital display

9) Hewlett Packard (HP) Codewars

Hewlett Packard (HP) Codewars is for high school students and takes place every year since 1999. The event successfully combines several quality ingredients: the high-tech HP environment, a wide range of programming challenges, large amounts of good “programmer” food (pizza and caffeine), music, plus loads of giveaways computers, monitors, software, and accessories – all in an exciting, stimulating, and competitive environment.

10) OpenChallenge

Openchallenge is a catalyst for materializing creativity and for channeling open source potential into tackling real world problems. Openchallenge is and tries to be as free as possible from any bonds to any specific interest group.

All the entries submitted to OpenChallenge are published under open source principles and licenses.

11) CodeChef – An educational initiative

CodeChef was started in 2009 influenced by ACM-ICPC contest. Over a million programmers worldwide have joined CodeChef and compete in different programming contests. They include Monthly contests, long challenges, CodeChef Cook-Offs and CodeChef Lunchtimes.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the websites mentioned above.

Excited to join one of these programming challenges?

We have compiled a list of best selling books to further polish your programming skills and go for a win in these contests.

Programming Challenges: The Programming Contest Training Manual

This book contains over 100 problems that have appeared in previous programming contests, along with discussions of the theory and ideas necessary to attack them. Instant online grading for all of these problems is available from two WWW robot judging sites. 

Algorithms Illuminated

Studying algorithms can make you a better programmer, a clearer thinker, and a master of technical interviews. Algorithms Illuminated is an accessible introduction to the subject—a transcript of what an expert algorithms tutor would say over a series of one-on-one lessons.

Cracking the Coding Interview: 189 Programming Questions and Solutions

These interview questions are real; they are not pulled out of computer science textbooks. They reflect what’s truly being asked at the top companies,

Algorithmic Puzzles 1st Edition

The book’s unique collection of puzzles is supplemented with carefully developed tutorials on algorithm design strategies and analysis techniques intended to walk the reader step-by-step through the various approaches to algorithmic problem solving