I want to give a shout-out to Leetcode, whose coding challenges I’ve been doing, and then recently, posting about. I’ve been an active member on the site for maybe 2.5 months-ish. And while I admittedly have MUCH to learn, it’s done more to escalate the pace at which I’m learning, than any other site I’ve joined or course I’ve purchased.

I just finished the July Challenge. To successfully complete the challenge, I had to code and submit a solution that passed all of the test cases, for a different problem every day. You can’t imagine how much I’ve learned in that single month by doing this.

I have been coding for a LONG time, but I wasn’t a computer science major. I have a CIS degree, which has more focus on analysis and databases. Earlier in my career I was an Oracle DBA and database architect, then I spent several years as a Java and Perl developer. After that, just by accident, I started a web development agency. Initially it was a Perl shop, but as PHP became a bigger force in that area, we became a LAMP stack shop. (LAMP is Linux, Apache, mySQL and PHP.)

The scale at which I‘ve been working for the most part, is smaller than the scale at which I now want to work. I also to focus on data science, machine learning and cyber security. None of that is really viable in PHP, the primary language I’ve been using, so I’ve spent the last several months learning Python, along with the data structures and algorithms necessary to work with large data sets.

These kinds of data structures and the many algorithms I’m now learning never part of what we needed to do for our web development clients.

So, now, here I am, back to being almost a junior developer, at least in this realm. I often feel like the child in this post’s photo — like a toddler trying to figure out if I’m even up for the first step, and if so, how do I go about doing that. And just how many ARE there? Do I have the stamina? I’ve decided to just take it a day at a time, a challenge at a time, a step at a time.

I don’t even remember how I stumbled onto Leetcode in the first place, but it’s been the perfect environment to challenge me and guide me up those metaphoric stairs.

The challenge problem is different every day, covering a broad number of algorithms and data structures.

Leetcode does have a free version. In fact, all of these daily challenges are part of that free portion. There are discussions, contests, and plenty of learning resources. There are a large number of interview questions, mock interviewing questions sets, a great user community to learn from, get inspired by, and share with.

No, I’m not a salesperson for Leetcode, although it kinda sounds like that, doesn’t it. I’m just a super happy coder who’s been happily ponying up the subscription fee every month. The value I get for the money is over the top worth it.

UPDATE: This morning, right before I published this, I found this nicely detailed, super useful article on Leetcode, written by Steven Heidel. It’s well worth a read, even if you’re not currently looking for a new position.

If you’re not on Leetcode, and you’re interested in keeping yourself regularly challenged and learning, check them out.

If you have a site that’s escalated the pace of your tech learning journey, I hope you’ll share that with me. I am HERE to learn!

Senior Software Engineer, Inventor, Writer, Zumba Instructor, Storm and Sky Photographer, Drone Pilot, Shar Pei Lover & Owner