8 Tips to Succeed at Google Hash Code

Thousands of devs join Google Hash Code every year. Read our best tips for this renown programming competition.
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Thousands of developers all over the world will take part in Google Hash Code. During the four-hour-long contest, they will solve an optimization assignment by Google in teams of two to four. They can code in almost any programming language they prefer. 

It’s very prestigious to make it to the final round. And Central Europe’s talent pool is one of the best in the world – many teams from the region compete in the Final Round every year. The Slovak team from MatFyz, the Math and Physics faculty at Comenius University, even finished in the top ten. 

Teams can participate remotely or join one of the official Google Hubs to enjoy the competitiveness of other teams present, meet new people, and even celebrate afterwards. 

The first steps to the main event 

The event starts with a live stream, where people from Google define the challenge of the Google Hash Code Qualification Round. In the past, those tasks included, for example, deliveries by drones, the optimization of video cache for YouTube or an autonomous taxi service.” 

Andy Skok, CTO of Trama and organizer of Bratislava’s hubs in the past few years

Andy Skok. (Photo: Boris Németh)

At the start of the qualification round, developers will receive the optimization problems and around five outputs for testing their solutions in the online environment. The total possible points scored will be, as every year, included in the problem description. 

Hash Code tips for a competitive edge

How can you increase your chances of success in such a competitive environment? We interviewed Andy Skok – a former Vacuumlabs tech lead and current CTO of our legaltech spin-off Trama. Andy has organized past virtual hubs for the online qualification round and participated in the challenge since 2016. 

1. The more problems you solve, the more points you get. You can expect standard inputs, but also some extreme cases. Your algorithm should work for a variety of data.

2. Choose your language wisely. While you do upload your code, it’s not actually run. In reality, only output files are checked.

3. Work your ass off until the last second. Every solution is graded, but you only get points for the best one.

4. Networking and competitiveness in the hub create an invaluable atmosphere. On top of that, you can work with different approaches with other teams and discover various points of view. 

5. Use the help of “non-programmers”. Andy Skok remembers: “Last year, our colleague Martina from the Finance Department came to support us, and after a few minutes she helped us with her Excel and output skills. It’s essential to keep smart people around you. They don’t necessarily have to be devs.”

6. Check the preliminary results and motivate yourself. The leaderboard is public for the first two hours, which improves performance. Afterwards, the standings freeze to create some tension. 

7. Create a good overview of optimization algorithms. You will hardly make it to the top 100 without knowing simulated annealing, genetic or evolutionary algorithms. 

8. There’s beauty in simplicity and often even the best solution. “It often happens that overthinking leads to the solution nobody understands. Such an answer receives fewer points than a simple idea with small upgrades,” advises Andy Skok.

Take it on with Vacuumlabs 

Google Hash Code 2022 starts the online Qualifications Round February 24th. You can join Vacuumlabs in our virtual hub and meet our dev teams. There’s no better time than now, but definitely make your move before the February 23rd registration deadline. 

VACUUMLABS VIRTUAL HUB | LINK
FACEBOOK EVENT | LINK
REGISTRATION | until February 23rd, 2022, 11:00 (UTC)
ONLINE QUALIFICATIONS | February 24th, 2022, 17:30 – 21:30 (4 hours)
TEAMS | 2 – 4 registered members
HOW TO REGISTERhttps://bit.ly/google-hashcode-2022

About Vacuumlabs

Vacuumlabs provides teams of flexible software engineers and designers with years of experience building fintech, online marketplaces, and digital products. Every step of the way, Vacuumlabs experts collaborate with clients, so that they can move fast, learn and iterate as they build world-class products together.