Google Code Jam

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Google's search page flashed unto a smart phone screen

Google Code Jam

If you enjoy coding and solving complex algorithms, then the Google Code Jam coding competition is for you! It is an international programming competition hosted and controlled by Google. Continue reading to learn more about the competition.

What is Google Code Jam?

What exactly is Google Code Jam? Code Jam, Google’s longest-running global coding competition, challenges programmers worldwide to solve complex algorithmic puzzles against the clock. The competition started in 2003. And Code Jam was utilized in the Topcoder area from 2003 to 2007.

Google has improved its competitive infrastructure since 2008, and Code Jam has evolved into a festival for competitive programmers. After advancing through four online-hosted rounds, contestants compete in the annual Code Jam World Finals at a new international Google office each year.

A man sitting by the window is lost in thoughts

Each round introduces new obstacles, and at the World Finals, 25 players will have the ultimate opportunity to put their talents to the test, competing for cash prizes and the coveted championship title.

Who can participate in Google Code Jam?

Who may take part in the Google Code Jam? To participate in a contest, the most important thing to understand is the eligibility criteria that must be met:

  • You must have a valid Google account
  • At the time of registration, contestants must be at least 16 years old. Contestants can only compete in the final round of Code Jam if they are at least 18 years old.

Contestants will be eliminated instantly if they:

  • A North Korean, Crimean, or Iranian national
  • A resident of Quebec, Canada.
  • A citizen of a country where the competition is illegal
  • A current intern, employee, officer, contractor, or director at Google, Alphabet, or any of its subsidiaries

How to register for Google Code Jam?

Do you want to know how to sign up for Google Code Jam? Below is a step-by-step instructions for creating a profile and entering the contest:

  • Create a contest profile at Google’s coding competitions website before registering for the competition.
  • You must register for each contest separately, whether you are participating in Code Jam or Hash Code.
  • To register for the contests, only one valid contest profile is required.
  • Make sure that all the information you supply during the profile creation and registration process is correct, complete, and in English.

How does Google Code Jam work?

How does Google Code Jam work? Register for Code Jam’s online qualification round and then compete in it. Although it lasts 27 hours, you will only need that much time to acquire the required number of qualifying points for the round. When you do, you’ll move on to the first round of the online competition. You can compete in as many of the competition’s sub-rounds for Round 1 as it takes to finish in the top 1,500 in any of these rounds. Round 1 of the competition features three sub-rounds.

The top 1,500 competitors from each preliminary round will continue to compete in the Code Jam Online Round 2 for a spot among the top 1,000 competitors. These top one thousand competitors will move on to the third and final round of the online competition and receive a t-shirt from a limited edition of the Code Jam.

A woman smiling while looking at her laptop

The top 25 competitors from the third round of Code Jam Online will move on to compete in the Virtual World Finals for the chance to win the championship title and a cash prize of USD 15,000.

Google Code Jam contest structure

The CJ Contest consists of a qualification round (“Qualification Round”), Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, and a final round (“Final Round”). Each round is referred to as a “Round,” and all individual rounds are referred to as “Rounds.” Online participation will be required for all rounds other than the final one.

Given the constantly shifting external conditions, Google will decide later whether the Final Round will be held in-person or online. Either way, the winner will be announced. The dates and times of the Rounds specified in the CJ Rules are subject to change at Google’s discretion in compliance with the Terms. Any changes that are made will be reflected on the website for the CJ Contest.

Code Jam rounds

Qualification round

The online Qualification Round for Code Jam will begin on March 10, 2023, at 23:00 UTC, and the competition will continue for a total of twenty-seven (27) hours, concluding on March 12, 2023, at 02:00 UTC.

To participate in the Qualification Round of the Google Code Jam, you will need to join the CJ Contest website and make an effort to solve several issues within the time limit of 27 hours. You will move on to Round 1 of the Code Jam competition if you get at least thirty (30) points during the Qualification Round, regardless of the penalty time you receive.

Round 1

You can participate in any or all of the sub-rounds of Code Jam Round 1 by logging into the CJ Contest website and solving several problems in an effort to qualify for Code Jam Round 2 if you advance to Code Jam Round 1. Round 1 is held online and is offered in three (3) sub-rounds: Round 1A, Round 1B, and Round 1C.

If you advance to Code Jam Round 1, you can participate in Round 1 online. Once you have qualified for Code Jam Round 2, however, you will not be allowed to compete in any future sub-rounds of Code Jam Round 1. If you finish one of the sub-rounds of Code Jam Round 1 in a position between first and 1,500th place, you will move on to the next round of the competition (Code Jam Round 2). The second round of the Code Jam will see an advancement of up to 4,500 competitors in total.

Round 2

The second round of Code Jam will be held online. To participate in Code Jam Round 2, you must sign in to the CJ Contest website and work through a series of challenges. If you finish Code Jam Round 2 in a position between first and one-thousandth place, you will move on to the third round of the competition.

Round 3

The third round of Google Code Jam will be held online. The third round of the Code Jam requires users to log in to the CJ Contest website and complete a series of challenges to compete. If you finish Code Jam Round 3 in a position ranging from first to twenty-fifth, you will move on to the Final Round of the competition.

Final round

Participants will compete in the Final Round of Code Jam. Google has the right to change the date and venue of the final round at any time and for any reason, including moving it to a different location or making it a virtual competition.

A male student looking at his laptop and pondering

During the final round, you will be tasked with finding solutions to several difficulties. You may be expected to utilize Google’s computer equipment and materials if the final round is held in person; however, you are welcome to bring your keyboard.

Notification of the advancement of the process will be available on the CJ Contest website, and the page that provides an overview of each Round will include a section with the qualification criteria and your ranking for that Round. Following each Round’s conclusion and confirmation of the scoreboard, you will be informed whether you have been qualified to compete in the subsequent Round.


Editor and Programming Language


You are free to use any editor or development environment, even those made available online, so long as your code is kept hidden from other participants during the Round.

Programming Language

You are free to utilize any programming languages listed on the website for the CJ Contest for any solution you want to submit. You must check the Frequently Asked Questions section for information on the versions and configurations that are currently available for each language. The accepted language repertoire and variants of those languages are subject to modification at any time.

Submitting solutions for Google Code Jam problems

Submission Requirements

You are required to submit the source code for your solution to each of the problems on the website for the CJ Contest. You must select the programming language using the presented dropdown menu. Your source code needs to be contained in a single file that can be executed in its current form on the servers. Your program’s source code must not be larger than 100 kilobytes.

Time, Memory, and other resource limits

Limitations on the amount of time, memory, or other resources could be included in a problem or test set. It is entirely up to you to ensure you are aware of any resource constraints mentioned in the challenges or test sets.

Submission limits

The system may reject some of your entries if you make many contributions in a relatively short period of time. If you are getting close to reaching this limit, a warning will show up on the dashboard.

Pre-existing code

You are permitted to utilize code that was in existence before the beginning of a round in your submissions for that round, so long as you are the owner of the code or have some other kind of legal authorization to use it.

Google Code Jam judging and scoring

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the solutions that you submit:

Visible and hidden verdict test sets

Each issue has a number of Visible Verdict Test Sets, which are listed in sequence, followed by a number of Hidden Verdict Test Sets, which can range from zero to many (in order). The test sets known as “Visible Verdict Test Sets” are those for which the judging results will be reported during the Round.

a male student looking intently at his laptop screen

A “Hidden Verdict Test Set” is a test set for which the judging results will not be disclosed until after the Round has been completed. Each test set’s status as Visible Verdict or Hidden Verdict will be indicated in the problem statement.

Judgment of test sets

Your submission will be evaluated in relation to each test set using the following sequence: sample, if relevant; Test Set 1; Test Set 2; etc. If your submission is successful on a test set, it will be evaluated on the following test set (if there is one), and so on; but, if it is unsuccessful on a test set, it will not be evaluated on any test sets that come after it.

Points on hidden verdict test sets

Only the most recent solution to each problem in each round validated by all of the Visible Verdict Test Sets is eligible to get points for the Hidden Verdict Test Sets. Any other submissions will be dismissed as invalid on every Hidden Verdict Test Set.

Primary submission

In Google Code Jam, the primary submission for each problem is the submission with the highest overall score, calculated by adding up the values of all the test sets successfully completed for that problem. If more than one person submitted the same idea simultaneously, the one whose idea was proposed the earliest wins.

In the event that no submission was awarded points for a problem, there is no primary submission for that problem, and you will be given a score of zero (0) for that problem.


Your total score for each round is determined by adding up the points you received for your principal submissions on the issues presented in that round.

Penalty Attempts

If you do not have a primary submission for a problem, then you will not be penalized for any additional efforts made on that problem. If an issue has samples, you will be penalized one try for each submission that passes the samples and is made before your primary submission.

This applies even if the submission comes after your primary submission. In the event that a given issue does not have samples, you will be subject to a penalty of one try for each submission that was made before your primary submission.

Penalty Time

If you score at least one (1) point in the Round, your penalty time for the Round will be equal to the amount of time it takes you to submit the last of all primary submissions (across all problems), measured from the beginning of the Round, plus four (4) minutes for each penalty attempt across all problems during the Round.

If you do not score at least one (1) point in the Round, your penalty time for the Round will equal the amount of time it takes you to submit the first of all primary submissions (across all problems).


You will have a rank for that round if you score at least one (1) point throughout the round. Your rank for that round will be determined by your score and the penalty time you incur. The contestants will be ranked in order, with the highest score going first and the lowest score going last.

Ties will be broken by looking at the contestants’ penalty times, with the lowest time going first and the highest time going last. When necessary, we use a time precision that is more precise than what is displayed on the scoreboard to break ties. Contestants who finish a Round with a total score of zero (0) points are not regarded to have a rank at the end of that Round.

For instance, in a Round in which the top 1,500 contestants advance to the next round if only 1,400 contestants achieve a positive score, then only those 1,400 contestants will advance to the next Round. If only 1,400 contestants achieve a positive score, then only those 1,400 contestants will advance to the next Round.

Preparation tips for Google Code Jam

The competition is open only to the brightest brains in computer programming. Without a shadow of a doubt, the most effective method to ace it is to have a preparation strategy that is both effective and sustainable. Check out the following preparation suggestions if you have no idea how or where to get started:

Computer Science topics

It should go without saying that a coding competition is meaningless if it does not involve advanced computer science concepts. As a result, competitors are expected to have an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals, which includes

  • I/O fundamentals of the programming language being used
  • Syntax and built-in data structures such as sets and arrays
  • Defining and invoking functions
  • Manipulating lists and strings
  • Using control structures
  • Time complexity analysis
  • Algorithms and strategies such as binary search, greedy algorithms, Djikstra’s algorithm, and dynamic programming
  • Data structures that are used frequently, such as hash tables, priority queues, and binary search trees

Mathematics topics

In addition to possessing a solid grip over issues from computer science, it is equally essential to have an affinity for mathematical principles to compete in the event. It is strongly suggested that you brush up on the principles of basic number theory, probability, permutations and combinations, and any other mathematical ideas that are often covered in the curriculum of secondary schools.

Math problem on graph paper with pencil and eraser on top of it.

Competitors are expected to meet specific requirements about programming languages and problem-solving abilities, which are necessary. The following is a list of all the supported programming languages; all contenders must have a working knowledge of at least one of these languages.

  • Bash
  • C#
  • C++
  • C
  • Dart
  • D
  • Clojure
  • Groovy
  • Go
  • F#
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • Haskell
  • Lua
  • Kotlin
  • Lisp
  • Julia
  • Octave
  • OCaml
  • Objective-C
  • Python 2
  • Python 3
  • PHP
  • Perl
  • Pascal
  • PyPy 2
  • Visual Basic
  • TypeScript
  • R
  • Rust
  • Ruby
  • Swift
  • Scala


Google Code Jam is a fantastic opportunity to put your coding abilities to the test and improve them while competing with the brightest brains from all over the world. If you have what it takes to win the coveted Google Code Jam championship and the associated cash prize, you should start your preparations as soon as possible.

Having all the necessary information is essential before choosing any course of action. AdmissionSight is always here to assist you if you have any questions or concerns. We have more than ten years of expertise assisting students in successfully navigating the challenging admissions process.

Consult with AdmissionSight and find out what we can do to help you get into the school of your choice by ensuring that you are sufficiently aware and well-prepared for the application process.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.