2^5 Coding Competition 2017: 32 Lines or Less

The Competition

Part of Cerner’s engineering culture is to celebrate technology. This past fall, we had our annual celebration for Programmers’ Day. We celebrated the day with great food (taco bar and ice cream) and an evening of trivia.

With our celebrations, we also like to blend in challenges or activities that can mold desired behaviors. Therefore, as part of Programmers’ Day, we also kicked off a programming competition (our third year of organizing the competition). For 32 days (September 13 – October 16), associates submitted small snippets of code (32 lines or less) in any language that represented the concept of engineering impact. After 32 days, our panel of judges sorted through the code and assigned a winner to each of the following categories:

  • Best Representation: What captures the concept of “engineering impact” the best?
  • Most Obfuscated: Which code snippet was the most difficult to understand?
  • Greatest Variety in Languages: Which repository contains the most variety in programming languages across submissions?
  • Most First Hand Submissions: Which participant submitted the most code that relates to First Hand Foundation and its mission to “impact” others?

As with anywhere, engineers at Cerner are busy. Asking them to do something additional, like a coding competition, imposes challenges on participation based on their availability of time. However, we found that by organizing the competition for engineers to explore and share what they are working on, in small and consumable bites of code, helped in keeping it a simple time investment and gained participation. Furthermore, it helped reinforce a routine behavior to continually look and evaluate different technologies and languages.

Just like tweets, by having small code examples being shared, it was easy for others to also learn what they were doing. We facilitated sharing these tweets by making a dashboard which served up crawled results from GitHub. This was achieved by having participants including a specific phase in their code (like a hashtag), which could then be pulled from GitHub’s search and built into a dashboard. This dashboard was based on how we originally achieved this in our earlier 30 Days of Code competition.

The Winners

Our winners from this year are as follows:

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who submitted code. Until next year!