Learning Resources: Puzzles

One of the most important resources that you can have to facilitate learning is ‘a project‘. Something to inspire you, motivate you and drive you to keep coding.

Although I LOVE books and have many of them on programming and on Python, my best learning has come when I set the book aside and have to think for myself and solve a challenging problem. When following a book (or tutorial or online-course) it is all to easy to blindly type in what is presented and have no idea what you did OR why.

While there is no reason you shouldn’t pick a passion project and apply your new skills to building something you love… I often recommend that students start with puzzles. Why?

  • puzzles are often concrete problems with well defined boundaries so you can tell if you got the right answer
  • many puzzle websites enable you to see alternate solutions to problems you have already solved so you get learn how more skilled programmers tackle the exact same challenge
  • there is a sense of accomplishment about being able to earn points/badges that is very motivating for some students

Below is a list of some sites that offer up puzzles and coding challenges:

Codingame This is my favorite gaming website at the moment. I love the “Code of Clash” competitions >> these are short and fast competitions in real time with others.

Checkio I love Checkio >>> lots of great puzzles.

Code Combat A fun, game-like adventure. This is absolutely great for kids and fun for adults as well. If you like dungeon crawling, this site is a lot of fun.

Project Euler 600+ puzzles with a focus on all things math.

Reddit Daily Programmer New puzzles every other day in Easy, Medium and Hard.

StackOverflow This is a question and answer website, true… but realistically speaking, every question is essentially someone’s real-world puzzle >> and answering those questions is both a challenge and a way to contribute to the great good. Loaded with badges, achievements, etc.

Code Eval The premise for this site is to partner problem solvers with companies that might want to hire them… Companies can see how well coders perform and potentially reach out to them.

Code Fights The premise for this site is both to train participants and to partner problem solvers with companies that might want to hire them…

Dark Art’s Puzzle page These are some puzzles I dreamed up.

Dark Art’s Puzzles on Github These are some more puzzles that my son and I crafted.

If you have other puzzles sites that interest you, let us know.

– chalmer

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