A Decade of Kick Start

Posted by Julia DeLorenzo, Program Manager, Coding Competitions

Kick Start is celebrating 10 years! Kick Start is a great tool for newcomers looking to grow their competitive programming skills. Whether you’re brand new to coding competitions or a programmer who is looking to level up, there is something for everyone.

If you haven’t heard, Kick Start is a global coding competition made up of online rounds consisting of fun algorithmic and mathematical programming challenges. Participants can partake in any or all of the rounds throughout the season, because there are no eliminations!

When Kick Start launched in 2013, it was a regional competition in Asia that consisted of only 3 rounds and 13 problems. Today, Kick Start has grown into a global competition with more than 110,000 participants, 8 rounds, and 32 Googler-created problems (that’s 32 chances to grow your skills!).

In 2020, Kick Start piloted a new program called Coding Practice with Kick Start, which is a great option for those newer to competitive programming who want to gain familiarity with coding competitions, and in 2022 introduced this program to Coding Competition’s global audience. 

Coding Practice with Kick Start is a series of multi-day practice sessions held throughout the season that allow participants to get familiar with the Kick Start platform and problems in their own time. There is no timer or scoreboard and starter code is provided. At the end of the practice session we share detailed solution walkthrough videos to help you learn how to solve the problems.

Kick Start is powered by a passionate Program Manager, a dedicated core team made up of 20% engineers, and nearly 1,200 amazing Google volunteers who write and test the problems our participants see each season! Hear from the team below:

Lizzie Sapiro Santor, Kick Start Program Manager 


Lizzie Sapiro Santor, headshot, smiling
“I was initially introduced to competitions through Code Jam when I became the coordinator back in 2014. I really enjoyed being part of the team and learning about the competitive programming space. It was different from any type of program I’ve ever planned, as it was fast paced, challenging, constantly evolving and super exciting. After a few years planning local tech events, in 2017, I didn’t stay away for long because I became the Program Manager for Kick Start, formerly known as Code Jam Kickstart. Kick Start was founded in APAC and in partnership with the local University programs team, I was able to scale the competition globally, so anyone around the world could partake.

My favorite thing about Kick Start is the people. After 5+ years of being involved with this competition, I’ve enjoyed working and meeting so many passionate, intelligent and creative people. I love to hear stories from participants about how Kick Start has helped them in their career, University, or coding journey. It’s fun to meet people face to face at local practice events or world finals. I also appreciate working with the Kick Start engineering team, who helps me host Kick Start. Without them, the competition would not be possible and I so admire all their hard work and inventiveness, ensuring a high quality competition for our users.

My best piece of advice to folks looking to improve their competitive programming skills is to keep practicing! It’s so important to keep trying out past problems when you have down time and participating in upcoming rounds. That’s why we host rounds throughout the year, so you have a lot of chances to practice and improve. I hear so many people say “I didn’t do well, so I am not going to participate again.” And I really encourage you to not to be discouraged and keep going. Coding Practice with Kick Start is a great way to keep practicing. This multi-day practice session provides you with resources, 24/7 Google support, starter code, and detailed problem walkthrough videos. We will host three sessions throughout the 2023 season, so I definitely encourage you to join the practice sessions to grow those skills and prepare for the next Kick Start round.”

Bartosz Kostka, Software Developer and Kick Start volunteer 

Bartosz Kostka, headshot, smiling
“I was always interested in competitive programming. As a student I tried my luck in Code Jam from 2013 (but sadly I never advanced to the World Finals). I participated in Kick Start when it became a global competition (in 2017). I was also a Hash Code finalist. During my internship at Google in 2019 I proposed my first problem Parcels, which was later used in Kick Start 2019 Round A. I always knew that I wanted to continue being involved in Coding Competitions, so when I joined Google again as a full-time employee in 2020 I became a member of the team running Kick Start.

I like the educational aspect of this contest. A lot of people that I talked with who participated in Kick Start, felt that it helped them learn new things and advance in their careers – and that is all without huge pressure. Kick Start has a very friendly atmosphere as we have multiple rounds in which we don’t eliminate people so everyone can participate in as many rounds as they want. We also try to make sure that everyone will find something for themselves. For example, we launched Coding Practice with Kick Start to cater to people that want to start their journey with competitive programming. We want to make these first steps as easy and enjoyable as possible.

My biggest piece of advice is to never give up! Even if you fail, you learn something new that will surely help you in the future. And whenever you are ready, join us in one of the Kick Start rounds!”

Stay Tuned

Over the next few weeks, keep an eye on the blog – we’ll be spotlighting each of Google’s Coding Competitions in a series of blog posts to help you understand the ins and outs of each competition. Code Jam is up next! In the meantime, learn more about Kick Start at g.co/kickstart. Registration for the 2023 season will open on February 1, 2023.

Meet the 2022 Code Jam World Finalists!

Posted by Julia DeLorenzo, Program Manager, Coding Competitions

The Code Jam World Finals returns!

Over the past several months, participants have worked their way through multiple rounds of algorithmic coding challenges, and solved some of the most challenging competitive programming problems. The field has been narrowed down from tens of thousands of participants, to the top competitors who will face off at the World Finals on August 5th, 2022

Join us 16:30 UTC for a livestream to see which one of these finalists will be crowned the Code Jam 2022 World Champion, winning the grand prize of $15,000 USD!

Here are this year’s finalists sharing their favorite music genres, tips, fun facts, and more.

This year’s Code Jam World Finalists are:

Antonio Molina Lovett

Handle: y0105w49

What’s your favorite music to listen to while coding?
“Always looping the Vicious Delicious album by Infected Mushroom.”

Yuhao Du

Handle: xll114514

Code Jam claim to fame:
This is Yuhao’s second time at the Code Jam World Finals, previously competing in the 2021 World Finals.

Benjamin Qi

Handle: Benq

What’s your favorite 2022 Code Jam Problem?
“Qualification Round – Twisty Little Passages. First time I used importance sampling in a contest!”

Sangsoo Park

Handle: molamola

What does your handle mean?
“1. I personally like sunfish 🙂
2. I like the way it sounds.
3. Mola is pronounced “몰라” in Korean, which means “I don’t know”.”

Daniel Rutschmann

Handle: dacin21

What’s the best coding competition advice you’ve ever received?
“Have fun and always try to challenge yourself by solving problems that seem too difficult at first.”

Mingyang Deng

Handle: CauchySheep

What’s an interesting and fun fact about yourself?
“I love random walking.”

Gennady Korotkevich

Handle: Gennady.Korotkevich

What’s your favorite 2022 Code Jam Problem?
Saving the Jelly from Round 2 took the most creativity to solve!”

Alexander Golovanov

Handle: Golovanov399

What’s an interesting and fun fact about yourself?
“I have 11 musical instruments, most of which I can only play on a level “may accompany in a song I know.”

Andrew He

Handle: ecnerwala

Code Jam claim to fame:
This will be Andrew’s fourth time competing in the Code Jam World Finals, having competed in 2019, 2020, and 2021 previously.

Aleksei Esin

Handle: ImBarD

What’s an interesting and fun fact about yourself?
“I love bungee jumping.”

Lingyu Jiang

Handle: jiangly

What’s an interesting and fun fact about yourself?
This is Lingyu’s first time competing in the Code Jam World Finals.

Kevin Sun

Handle: ksun48

Code Jam claim to fame:
This will be Kevin’s third time competing in the Code Jam World Finals, having competed in 2019 and 2020 previously.

Lukas Michel

Handle: lumibons

What does your handle mean?
“It’s a combination of letters from my name and the name of the village where I grew up.”

Matvii Aslandukov

Handle: BigBag

What’s an interesting and fun fact about yourself?
“I enjoy playing sports such as tennis, table tennis, volleyball, football, as well as playing piano and guitar.”

Borys Minaiev

Handle: qwerty787788

What’s an interesting and fun fact about yourself?
“A year ago I started doing buildering and we created a chat with just 3 people in it. Now there are almost 100 participants. Who could imagine it would grow so fast?”

Yahor Dubovik

Handle: mhg

What’s your favorite music to listen to while coding?
“Red Hot Chilli Peppers.”

Mateusz Radecki

Handle: Radewoosh

What’s the best coding competition advice you’ve ever received?
“Becoming good isn’t about creating a chance to solve a problem. It’s about removing a chance to not solve a problem.”

Nikolay Kalinin

Handle: KalininN

What’s an interesting and fun fact about yourself?
“I’m an experimentalist in laser physics, also I love traveling and photography.”

Simon Lindholm

Handle: simonlindholm

What’s an interesting and fun fact about yourself?
“I’ve been really into the Super Mario 64 A Button Challenge recently, and N64 game decompilation. Also, mushroom hunting.”

Kento Nikaido

Handle: Snuke

What’s an interesting and fun fact about yourself?
“I’m a cat. My recent hobby is Sed Puzzle

Tiancheng Lou

Handle: ACRushTC

Code Jam claim to fame:
This will be Tiancheng’s eighth Code Jam World Finals, having previously competed in the World Finals in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2019, 2021.

Aleksei Daniliuk

Handle: Um_nik

What’s your favorite 2022 Code Jam Problem?
I, O Bot from Round 2, because it was actually a competitive programming problem”

Yuta Takaya

Handle: yutaka1999

What’s your favorite 2022 Code Jam Problem?
Saving the Jelly. It is mainly because I solved it in the last five minutes of the contest.”

Konstantin Semenov

Handle: zemen

Code Jam claim to fame:
This will be Konstantin’s third Code Jam World Finals, having previously competed in the World Finals in 2017 and 2018.

Watch the Code Jam World Finals Livestream 

Join us on August 5 at 16:30 UTC for a livestream of the Code Jam 2022 World Finals. 

Watch all the action unfold as the Code Jam team broadcasts live from Google New York. You’ll have an opportunity to hear from our team, see Code Jam engineers explain the problems from the round, and watch live as we reveal the scoreboard and announce this year’s winners!

At the end, one of these finalists will be crowned the Code Jam 2022 World Champion, winning the grand prize of $15,000 USD. Good luck to all the finalists and as always, happy coding!