An algorithm for solving coding katas

Harriet Ryder
Jul 12, 2017 · 4 min read

At Northcoders we put huge emphasis on problem solving skills. Being a programmer is about solving problems with a specific toolset. In fact, building software can be thought of as composing lots of small solutions into one big one. From the very start of the application process, we encourage students to get stuck into problem solving with online platforms such as Codewars, and throughout the course students continue to spend at least an hour of the day working purely on interview-style coding katas to keep their skills sharp.

Whether you’re new to coding, looking for your first job or already moving up the software career ladder, we believe that continuing to flex your problem solving skills is hugely important. For beginners, completing katas helps you gain fluidity in the language you’re using and begin to recognize and internalize common patterns for solving problems. For more advanced coders, solving katas is a mental workout: it strengthens and exercises the parts of your brain you use daily in your work.

Training the brain to problem solve is like any other kind of training: “By practicing in a repetitive manner the learner develops the ability to execute those techniques and movements in a natural, reflex-like manner.” (Wikipedia).

Being able to code in a reflex-like manner looks, to a beginner, like something superhuman but it’s really only the result of hours upon hours of repetitive practice.

In this post, I’ll give you some solid advice for using Codewars as a repetitive practice tool. An algorithm for solving a kata, if you like.

The Kata Algorithm

  1. Find a kata. Don’t aim too high, don’t aim too low. Try to find a kata that you have a vague idea how to solve, but whose entire solution doesn’t appear immediately obvious. If it takes you longer than a few minutes to understand the kata description, you might decide to pick another one.

Do you use Codewars? Do you have any tips of your own? We’d love to hear — tweet us!

Harriet, Tutor, Northcoders

Originally published at northcoders.com on July 12, 2017.

Northcoders

Northcoders is the coding bootcamp for the North.

Northcoders

Northcoders is the coding bootcamp for the North. We deliver industry-leading coding courses for people from all walks of life who want to kick-start a rewarding, fulfilling career in tech.

Harriet Ryder

Written by

Software engineer. Enthusiastic about the life-improving merits of yoga, good beer and JavaScript. Once I was a librarian.

Northcoders

Northcoders is the coding bootcamp for the North. We deliver industry-leading coding courses for people from all walks of life who want to kick-start a rewarding, fulfilling career in tech.

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