Countdown Coding

I went along to the Southampton Code Dojo on Thursday evening. I think it’s safe to say I was amongst the older attendees (most appeared to be undergrads or postgrads at the Uni although there was one guy who was sufficiently young to need his Mum to accompany him!). A pre-event poll had settled on Java as the language (Python had been outlawed as too popular and I guess Java was the lowest common denominator after that). Following pizza and beer there was another poll to select the challenge: the Countdown numbers game, before being numbered off in to groups. There were only three people in mine with one claiming no coding experience (despite being in the Computer Science department!). We spent far too long looking for an intelligent solution before doing the sums and deciding that brute force would suffice. My brain wasn’t entirely in gear (perhaps due to a day spent with the children?) and we didn’t manage to complete our solution before being timed out. We were in good company though with only one out of the six groups completing the exercise. It has reminded me that coding can actually be challenging in its own right (the challenge at work typically coming from legacy code, integration with other products, or simply politics).

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