It's almost December which means it's almost time for Advent of Code 2019. Advent of code is an annual computer programming competition created and ruyn by Eric Wastl. It's been running since 2015. I've written about it before, mostly from a teacher's point of view (Solve A to Solve B, Data structures and Hidden Complexity, Tools can shape how we think and a few others).
Basically, Eric releases one poblem a day at midnight from Dec 1 through Dec 25. Each problem has two parts with a correct solution to part 1 unlocking part 2. Problems can be solved using any language as each challenge just requires you to enter the correct result rather than you submitting code. This allows you to use any language or even no language at all.
In terms of difficulty, some problems are certainly doable by students in CS1 or even CS0. In fact, Eric takes great pains to keep from using CSSpeak so as to make the problems approachable even if you aren't a CS major or professional.
If you're a CS Teacher you can find some great lesson and problem ideas here. If you're a student, they're great interview prep and will stretch your problem solving capabilities. If you're just a techie, they're just fun challenges.
There aren't any prizes so it's all just for the fun of it. You can also get help and see great discussions on the challenges over on the Advent of Code subreddit. Lots of people also put their solutions up online. I've never finished but you can find a bunch of my old solutions up on GitHub.
Finally, you can get to the challenges from previous years by just
adding the year to the url, that is:
Finally, here's a really interesting video by Eric on the whole AoC thing:Tweet