Code Katas Can Be Helpful

After reading a few posts in the development community lately about code katas, I felt I should put out my own opinion about the subject. 

At work, a few of us developers decided to take a couple of lunches each week and get together to work on a code kata that we all decide on prior to the meetings. This was mainly so we can increase our skills in development, but mainly it was a way for us to use a new or not so familiar language for a fairly small coding project.

For our first shot at a kata we decided to try Poker Hands (you're always welcome to view my progress), which we had to rank two player's poker hand and determine who won and display how they won (high card or higher set of cards). Not exactly the easiest kata to do, especially when doing it in a language you're definitely not familiar with, but we thought it was one that could give us a good challenge.

Another aspect to doing katas is to do solve very small problems. One of my favorite ways to do this lately is by playing around at Code Wars. I've been messing with the JavaScript and Ruby katas there and have been learning quite a lot about the languages as each new kata I do gets progressively harder. They have a pretty slick interface, as well.

I feel this site does a lot of things right. Most importantly, once you've successfully finished a kata it will also display how others have successfully implemented it. Looking though those can help see how other people use the language to their advantage.

Sure, you can also be doing other things in order to learn, such as messing around GitHub for a project to contribute to or volunteering. However, a big benefit to doing these small katas is because they are small compared to these other types of projects. You won't feel as overwhelmed by the size of the project or try to figure out where to start. Here you just create the appropriate class or function and make sure all the tests pass. 

Of course, you want to do code katas because you believe they help and because you find them enjoyable. I feel like I'm learning new languages little by little the more I do these. I seem to have rekindled my love of programming just by doing these katas. I hope I'm not the only one.

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