Learn to solve Python coding challenge

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Many jobs will require both Python as well as SQL skills. But when it comes to programming, Python is in high demand and is a skill required above all else. One of the major challenges people face while learning Python Training is figuring out the correct course to take up while learning. Most of the content available these days is quite generic and does not provide the required skill to tackle varied problems. This hurdle might make one intimidated, and it may look foreign and confusing.

What to expect from this article

In this article, we shall be applying various strategies to help us figure out Python challenges in a smooth manner. We will look at the best way to tackle python coding problems. At first, we will look through the simpler coding questions and then work through the proper steps to solve them. This includes, firstly, coming up with a basic plan or outline using pseudo-code. Then we will solve them in distinct ways starting with the easiest solution.

The best way to assess your python skills is by taking up coding challenges. You must get your hands dirty and stimulate your brain by writing actual code. This article will guide you to effectively tackle Python coding questions. There are some controversies when it comes to the benefits of Python coding websites like codewars or leetcode and whether or not they will make one a better programmer. Despite the doubts, many people utilize them while preparing for Python interview questions, honing their programming skills, or merely for fun. Anyhow, there is a place for the resources for any data scientist or Python programmer.

One thing to keep in mind before we begin is that while learning a new code language, be consistent. Commit to code every single day. Muscle memory plays a significant part while programming. If one commits to coding every day, it will help them develop that muscle memory. It may seem like a daunting task, but if you start small and work your way up, it will not be that difficult.

Basic tips for your next python coding challenge:

There are some common things that you should keep in mind that will help you in every stage of your coding journey with Python.

  1. Whenever you see an angle with a “radian” value, convert it to “degrees.” You can import Pi from the library to make your job easier.
  2. Always Sort a list for easy operation.
  3. If you have a value into decimal numbers, convert them to binary.
  4. Hide pins and card numbers: If you need such operations in your further programming, this will help you enhance your security.

Now let’s start with solving this question!

Python Coding Question

We are required to write a function that takes a single integer value as its input and returns the sum of the integers from zero up to and includes that input. In case a non-integer value is passed in, then the function should return 0.

Here, if we pass 5 to the function, then it would return the sum of the integers 0 all through 5, or it will be like 0+1+2+3+4+5. This will be equal to 15. If we pass in some other data type, apart from an integer, such as float or string, etc., the function will return to 0.

  1. Plan Formulation

The primary thing while doing this problem is to solve it using pseudocode. Pseudocode is a method to plan out the steps by avoiding the coding syntax. We can go for something like:

1 python coding challenge

Here, we have defined a function, “add”, that can take in an input, “num”. We write a steps outline using comments within the “add” function. If an integer is passed to the function, then we will be adding the integer 0 through that value, and then we return the sum. In case the value passed is not an integer, then only 0 is returned. Post that, we enlist a few examples of what we want our output to be given a particular input.

We will be expanding this step in the pseudocode above

# add integers 0 through num and return sum

We can do this step in multiple ways. What would the pseudocode look like in case we do this step with the use of a for loop?

2 python coding challenge

We will be solving this based on the above-created blueprint

  1. Usage of For Loop

We can solve this prompt using for loop:

3 python coding challenge

Let us dissect the code below

We will be checking the value passed in, num, is an integer with the help of the type function.

if type(num) == int:

If the type is an integer, we create a sum variable, and value 0 is assigned

sum = 0

We then loop over the integers beginning from 0 through the integer passed into our function with the use of a for loop and the range function. We must remember that the range function will create a range object, which is an iterable object that starts from 0 (in case we do not specify a start value). It goes to the integer less than the stop value as it is exclusive. Hence, we need to add 1 to the stop value (num+1) as we want to add all the integers starting 0 up to and including that number, num.

range(start, stop[.step])

The range function creates a range object, which happens to be an iterable object, and hence we can use a for loop to loop through it. While we are looping through this iterable object, we are adding every number, or x, to the variable sum.

 For x in range (num + 1)

     sum += x

Then following the loop iterations, the functions return the sum.

     return sum

Ultimately, If the number you have passed is not an integer, we return 0.

   else:

      return 0

Following is the code without the comments:

4 python coding challenge questions

If we test our add function, we get the correct outputs:

5

This is a good way to solve this coding problem, and it does the work. It is quite easy to read and works with utmost precision. But, by trying to solve this question in other ways, we can perhaps extract more value from it by using our other python knowledge along with our problem-solving acumen. These other ways may or may not be more “pythonic,” but it can be quite interesting and useful to think of different ways to solve the problem.

If we try to solve the question differently: 

  1. By Using Reduce Function

We have learned recently what is the purpose of reducing function in the preceding tutorial. It takes an iterable object and reduces it down to a single value. The reduce function can intake 3 arguments, out of which two are required. 2 required arguments are: a function (that itself takes in two arguments) and an iterable object.

Use of reduce function to find the sum of an iterable object.

Thus, we can use reduce instead of for loop to solve our problem:

python coding exercise

And that is it! We can use the lambda function as the argument and the range object as our iterable object. The reduce function then reduces the range object down to one value, the sum. Then we can return the sum.

  1. Usage of Ternary Operators

We can help shorten the code even more by using ternary operators. By using this, we can shorten our if/else statement above into a single line using this format:

 x if C else y

C is our condition, which will have its first evaluation. If the evaluation gives rise to True, then x is evaluated, and its value is returned. If not, then y is evaluated, and its value will be returned.

The code implementation will be something like this:

python code implementation

And with these changes, we were able to reduce the code within the function down to one line. It may not be the most readable or “pythonic” way of solving the problem, but it will help us improve our coding and problem-solving skills.

There is also another way to solve this problem

  1. Sum() function

We can solve this question by using Python’s in-built sum function. This function can take an iterable object and returns the sum of its elements. A start value is also passed if one wants it to be added to the elements.

 sum (iterable, start)

If we try to solve this question using the sum function:

coding python

And that would be it! It is one of the best ways to solve this question, as it is both concise and easy to read. Added to that, it will provide the best performance as well.

Conclusion

This article aims to guide you through different methods to solve a particular problem by enhancing your coding skills and broadening your knowledge base. The sample question is the best method to understand and relate your problem in the same syntax. However, with the rise of tremendous demand for python developers in the tech industry, it is very essential to get yourself trained as soon as possible.

Author Bio

Meravath Raju is a Digital Marketer, and a passionate writer, who is working with MindMajix, a top global online training provider. He also holds in-depth knowledge of IT and demanding technologies such as Business Intelligence, Salesforce, Cybersecurity, Software Testing, QA, Data analytics, Project Management and ERP tools, etc.

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