Anyone wondering where I went? Sorry about that. Took on a lot at work, not quite more than I could chew, but enough that my extra curricular activities got cut down pretty slim. So Most of what I’ve been working on I’m pretty certain I’m still not allowed to talk about, but there’s one thing that’s come out of the last few weeks that I’m both permitted and excited to share, and that’s CodeToasters!
CodeToasters is a group that meets weekly to present and solve algorithm problems after work (Wednesdays at five!) that I started a while back and that has been formalized into a company wide (it used to just be me and a few team mates) meetup! Although the format is still in flux what we have at the moment seems to be working pretty well. We start with a bref discussion of what people came up with for the bonus take-home problem that was on last week’s agenda. After that someone (a different person each week) does a walkthrough of an algorithm or a simple interview question. This prompts each presenter to learn a problem or concept extremely thoroughly so that they can communicate it effectively and answer any questions that the other attendees might have.
The last segment (usually the last ~30 minutes of the hour block) is spent with the group collectively solving a presented problem. After an explanation of the problem and a few sample cases, there is usually a few minute quiet period as people first attempt to approach the problem. Then either a group discussion is started or people split off into subgroups to mull over possible solutions, as the presenter wanders between groups providing gentle guidance. People who have grokked the problem exceptionally quickly sometimes take a whiteboard and start sketching out approaches to the problem, which sparks further group discussion.
I’ve been writing a lot of the problems we’ve been solving, which has been a blast, but unfortunately I can’t put many of them up here as we’ve started using some of them as interview questions at LinkedIN. Today’s batch though, not only did I write all of them (actually, I didn’t write quicksort, and the bonus problem is an adaptation of a riddle my friend asked me once) but none of them have been claimed yet, so I’m pretty certain I’m totally free to put them up here. With that in mind I’ve embeded today’s agenda below for people to take a look at. Feedback welcome!
Anyway I’d love to hear what people think of this one, and if you have any interest in getting your own CodeToasters going, in solutions to the posted problems, or in just chatting about the idea and format, just ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org!