As software developers, we are always on the lookout for the best possible tools to help us improve our coding skills and ace our coding interviews. The tech sector is one of the fiercest and most competitive industries in 2023 and to get the best jobs, you need to engage in the talent war. Tools for coding interviews such as CodeChef help to prepare yourself for these interviews. However, is CodeChef really worth spending your time on? How does it compare to LeetCode, Codewars, CheckIO, and HackerRank? Well, in this review, we’re going to find out!
What Is CodeChef?
CodeChef is an online community and platform where software engineers can solve practice problems to get ready for technical interviews. It hosts thousands of challenges and user solutions so you never run out of practice problems.
The challenges, which range in difficulty from basic to advanced, put users’ knowledge of algorithms, binary search, array size, and many other DSA topics to the test. The ranking system that categorizes from simple to challenging is very common in coding challenge sites to progressively increase the difficulty. Each challenge is also labeled with its topic to help categorize and search for types of challenges. CodeChef makes it easy for users can quickly locate challenges that deal with particular knowledge and ideas.
How Does CodeChef Work?
CodeChef can be broken into two main sections: CodeChef Practice and CodeChef Compete.
CodeChef’s practice arena allows users to write and run code directly in the in-browser coding window. Something that is very common in coding challenge platform sites. The platform also offers a debugger, hints to problems, custom test input, and chat-based doubt support.
CodeChef offers over 35 supported languages for user submissions. As users complete challenges, they receive different badges that help them advance in the CodeChef ranks as they move on to more difficult challenges. There are over 3000 practice problems with varying ranges of difficulty in many algorithmic topics.
CodeChef Compete is where you can really go to show off your talents. Each month there are a handful of challenges for you to compete in at varying start dates and for varying amounts of time. Usually ranging from a few hours to infinite timeframes. CodeChef Compete also offers games like 1v1s, puzzles, and challenge-a-friend sections.
As you compete in contests, you get placed in one of four divisions. The division you’re placed in determines the skill level of programmers you are faced against.
You can check out the current challenges here.
CodeChef Target Audience
CodeChef’s primary audience is developers and programmers looking for a venue to test their knowledge of algorithms, and computer programming. The exercises provided by CodeChef can help intermediate and experienced software engineers who want to improve their abilities and pick up new skills to prepare for technical interviews.
In addition, CodeChef is great for programmers who want to compete and learn from others in a competitive coding environment.
CodeChef Pros and Cons
There are a few major pros of CodeChef. For one, it has an active and flourishing community of competitive programmers for you to compete against. It also has a very high language support of 35 languages. More than most coding challenge platforms. They also provide more than enough practice problems for you to hone and improve your coding skills. Finally, CodeChef provides a discussion board to assist with any issues you may have and find solutions to your problems.
The main disadvantage of CodeChef is that it doesn’t seem to be widely popular in North American or western countries. For that reason, it may be hard to find a high-paying job from recruiters on the platform. The ranking system also seems a bit lacking and the practice problems are worded a bit tricky to understand.
Is CodeChef Pro Worth It?
CodeChef Pro offers a bunch of benefits. Such as pro hints and videos to help with problems, curated practice paths to learning faster, unlimited 1v1 and puzzles in competitions, and improved test case visibility. All of these comes at a price of $8.25 a month billed annually.
Personally, I don’t think these benefits are truly worth paying for CodeChef. Although these benefits could certainly help you learn faster, none of the benefits really stand out as being truly helpful in improving your coding skills. At least not compared to the pro version of other challenge sites I have tried.
CodeChef vs Codewars vs HackerRank vs LeetCode
Comparatively, there isn’t much you will find in CodeChef that you can’t find in one of the top code challenge sites out there right now. Codewars has a thriving community of people you can learn from, HackerRank has way more resources to help you find a high-paying job, and LeetCode has many of the exact same practice problems used by top companies. All of which have equal or better challenge filters, discussion boards, practice problems, and flourishing communities.
CodeChef has an active community of competitive coders and could be a good place to improve your competitive programming skills. It also includes everything in the platform you need to become a better programmer. However, I believe there are better alternatives out there.
While you certainly won’t regret spending time on the CodeChef platform, I think your time is better spent learning on HackerRank or LeetCode. Both of these have a stronger community of programmers, more high-paying employers vetting users right on the platform, and more resources to help nail your next tech interview.
If you want to check out more of my reviews, you can find them here!