Recently released for beta, Binary Search [binarysearch.com] renovates the traditional online coding examination and practice environment. At its core, Binary Search is one of many websites that offers an online code editor where developers of all skill levels can compete to solve algorithmic questions. The primary differentiator between Binary Search and its competitors is its particularly welcoming interface as well as a beginner-friendly question set.
A common complaint about websites of this nature such as LeetCode [leetcode.com] is that they are not approachable to an individual with little to no computer programming background. The prompts are oddly mathematical and often obtuse. When reading questions of this style for the first time it can be as much of a challenge understanding what the prompt is implying as it is actually solving the problem. Binary Search addresses this issue masterfully.
Similar to LeetCode, Binary Search has multiple question difficulty categories. The categories are Easy, Medium, Hard, and Harder. The easy questions offer challenges that a junior engineer would be expected to come into a job being able to solve. Easy questions include “Taco Cat,” a challenge to determine if a string is a palindrome or not. Medium questions are more in line with what top Silicon Valley companies may ask entry-level engineers. A medium question may ask the programmer to develop an algorithm to return the deepest value in a binary search tree. Hard and Harder questions are more on par with LeetCode, where the programmer is asked to implement a heavily-optimized algorithm that utilizes many fundamental computer science concepts simultaneously.
For those interested in a new skill in computer science or taking a break from the brainpower required to interpret some traditional algorithmic questions, Binary Search is a great place to start. As it is still under development, suggestions from users now are a big player in the end design of this resource.
Over the past few days, I have found myself hooked to this sleek website and fresh question set. Being able to compete against other players in real time is very entertaining and definitely has improved my experience while practicing competitive programming.
This piece was originally published on Feb. 27, 2020 in Horizons Newspaper, the student-run publication from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott campus.