Every year, David Barnes (@kentdjb) encourages the School of Computing students to take part in a competitive coding challenge called Advent of Code.
As the name suggests, it runs from December 1st to Christmas day, with two increasingly difficult puzzles to solve each day. They can be solved using any programming language and are an excellent way for the students to improve their coding skills. Over 250 thousand people worldwide take part each year. David challenges the students and other staff in the department to beat him on his private leader board each year, and approximately 50 staff and students take part in the challenge, with only the most dedicated making it to the end.
This year, the overall winner was Thivejan Neranjan, who also won last year too. The student in second place was Joe Cordell and the student in third place was Nikola Kolev. This year, to encourage collaboration and discussion, Lisa Davies set up a Discord server for all the Advent of Code competitors, where staff and students could chat freely about the competition and coding in general, creating a community of competitive coders who continue to take part in other challenges such as Codewars and Leetcode alongside their studies.