Learning is easier when it’s fun. That’s the reason behind a lot of the gamification of STEM topics–especially programming. CodeFights knows that, which is the entire basis of its compete-to-get-hired system.

CodeFights features a bunch of programming challenges that pit experts in head-to-head battles to see who’s the better programmer. As users win fights they advance up leaderboards, where they eventually are considered qualified for different jobs. Companies–like Uber, Dropbox, Two Sigma, and Thumbtack–are informed of that qualification and are invited to reach out.

Not a fan of PvP?

CodeFights just announced a brand new feature: Code Arcade (a CodeFights login is required to access the arcade). Instead of challenging other programmers Code Arcade moves users through progressively more challenging stages.

The ultimate goal is the same as CodeFights: to do well enough to get noticed by top-tier tech companies.

SEE: Stack Overflow surveyed 56,000 developers and you won’t believe the results (TechRepublic)

As users progress through the Code Arcade stages they’ll be told if they reach a point that qualifies them for a job. They can then choose to make contact, opening up the potential for a brand new career.

Which one is right for you?

Code Arcade is just one section of CodeFights, so you don’t need to choose one over the other. There are reasons why one might be a better option, though.

CodeFights is timed, putting competitors under pressure to fix lines of bad code or write programs at the same time. You’re also only given a few tries to get it right before you lose points and move onto the next round.

Those head-to-head fights are not for the new programmer: they’re designed to separate the programming wheat from the coding chaff. Rookies beware: CodeFights can make you feel like you don’t know a thing–especially after being beaten by a bot.

SEE: 10 programming career tips for students and new professionals (TechRepublic)

Code Arcade, on the other hand, is a bit less threatening. In fact, it’s designed for beginners who want to start with simple tasks and work their way up to more challenging tasks.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that means Code Arcade is going to teach you: that’s not its goal. You’re not going to get explanations of syntax, commands, or functions–it’s still there to test your skills, just in a slightly more forgiving manner.

Finding a job doesn’t have to be dull

CodeFights says that only two percent of applicants look good on paper. Programmers of all kinds know it can be hard to get your skills across on a resume: There’s no practical test of your skills, and there’s no way to know if you’d be an ideal fit for the challenges unique to a particular position.

Whether you want to hone your skills or conquer the leaderboards on the way to a new job CodeFights and its new Code Arcade are worth a look. Gamification might seem like it’s just the latest tech buzzword, but there’s some meat to be found here–and some big names looking for new blood.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. CodeFights, a gamified programming platform, has released a new arcade feature that allows users to hone their skills against increasing challenges.
  2. Code Arcade users will eventually be able to reach out to companies their skills are a match for, possibly resulting in a job.
  3. CodeFights itself is a head-to-head battle against other coders or company-generated bots to show who can solve a task the fastest. It can also generate jobs depending on user performance.

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