Competitions

In a programming competition, you are given a few hours (the exact number depends on the competition) to solve several problems (again, the exact number depends on the competition). You have to write a program which solves the problem. You get points for solving the problems. The winner has the most points. Winners of coding competitions can win thousands of dollars in a single contest.

There are many sites which host online coding competitions. I picked two of the biggest contests.

USA Computing Olympiad

USA Computing Olympiad is for middle and high school students in the United States. There are 4 contests every year. The top 24 students get a chance to compete to be on the US Coding Team for International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI).

Codeforces

Codeforces holds contests every week. It is for all ages in all countries. Your rank on Codeforces is pretty close to your rank in the world.