Advent of Code Day 9: How I started enjoying solving programming puzzles

10 Dec, 2019
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About 2 years ago I ran into Advent of Code for the first time. I got introduced by a friend who was a full-time web developer. As an information security advisor and pentester I didn’t write a lot of code. Here and there I had to modify a script to work properly, but that was about it. I managed to forget about it for a couple of days and started a few days late. But I did get excited when he showed me some challenges from the previous year.

As I mostly used Python for scripting I didn’t feel very proficient in it and thought it would be a good idea to learn more about it in a playful manner. After solving the first challenge, I still recall the feeling, it really was a fun way to learn about it. The storyline gave it something extra to.

I was very happy to learn after joining Xebia that Adent of Code was a thing! Quite a lot of people participated in it and they even had a competition going on internally last year. This got me looking forward to this years event. The days to the first of December were counting down and people where starting to get hyped in the office and sharing their goals with eachother.

Day 1 appeared and it was a Sunday. This year I just wanted to have fun in any way possible with like-minded people! Going back, I’m not a software developer and ran into some challenges tackling challenges. Also, after 2 days I was scraping time to try solving the puzzle, but I did read through all challenges first thing in the morning. This way I had some time to think about how I was going to approach the challenge. What is very enjoyable and motivating was arriving at work and a handful of people already having solved the puzzle of the day!

This speaks very much for the level of enthusiasm the puzzles are being solved at. The moment arrived I can work on my version of a solution. Decided to using Python for this year, got me writing code again. Solving the first day got my happy-bugs going even more.

As the days go by I’m reading more and more stories on how people solve the challenges in various ways of which some are even mind-boggling. This made me realize that participating in this annual event is more than just about writing code. It’s about having fun and writing code together, but in your own way. It’s about learning new things and sharing knowledge and enjoyment with the community.

We’re not even halfway the event and I’m already looking forward how Santa will get saved this year. Hope we will make it in time to save Christmas as we had to fly across the universe! Solving the puzzles result in an awesome animation which you can be proud of. Because Advent of Code is running a marathon with others, and not a sprint by yourself!


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