Esther Schindler writes: "Baseball players can compare their excellence by looking at statistics. Developers... not so much. It's hard to know how good you are unless you go head-to-head with other programmers, which is one reason that programming competitions are fun. So, too, is the money you might win, or the career bragging rights, or, as Steven Vaughan-Nichols points out in 8 Contests and Challenges You Can't Resist, you might get to contribute to a NASA project. Wouldn't that look cool on your resume?"