Can you believe it’s almost here?
The greatest challenge ever bestowed.
We’ve waited almost an entire year,
for the start of Advent of Code! 

If coding makes you yearn,
then this challenge is for you.
There’s so much you can learn
and fun to be had, too

There’s only one way to lose
and that’s by not playing at all.
The language you pick is yours to choose
Python, JavaScript or even COBOL

Every day the challenge is new
Most puzzles can be fairly easy
but on some, you will surely stew
(Sorry, I know this sounds so cheesy)

Join the group for some coding fun
Since playing with others is the best part
It’s bragging rights for those that have won
And we are less than one day from the start!

K. McCrea of the Clan McCrea

EXP has a broad and growing set of annual events we happily turn into competitions; from pie and chili cooking competitions to room decorating and game night. For the last few years those competitions have included the December programming event Advent of Code. If you haven’t heard of Eric Wastl’s creation, he describes AoC as:

… an Advent calendar of small programming puzzles for a variety of skill sets and skill levels that can be solved in any programming language you like. People use them as interview prep, company training, university coursework, practice problems, a speed contest, or to challenge each other.

You don’t need a computer science background to participate – just a little programming knowledge and some problem solving skills will get you pretty far. Nor do you need a fancy computer; every problem has a solution that completes in at most 15 seconds on ten-year-old hardware.

A number of us at EXP have been participating together since 2017 (two years after it started) and, while relevant prizes have been provided, for us participation is mostly about the labor of love smack talk around our colleagues.

For the last couple years, we’ve invited friends and former colleagues to join our leaderboard and IM chat for some fun to finish the year. This time we’d like to invite you to join us! We have a discord server and private leaderboard  (122982-f2746d31) we will be using this year, so feel free to add yourself to both. While a little jousting occurs, we mostly enjoy spending this seasonal activity commiserating on the difficulty of Day 18.