I have always enjoyed competing on a common platform that allows one to display their technical abilities since my college days. Coding competitions were heart of many such inter-college technical fests that I was part of. More than often I had the pleasure of winning in such events. After I finished my degree and joined this organization (my first) I had presumed that I won’t get such opportunities again. I did not have even a faintest idea that I would be wrong.
It was year 2012 when I, for the first time witnessed the Osmosis event. I was swept away by the sheer magnitude in which it was organized. Osmosis is the celebration of geek inside you. I was still young to this organization then and couldn’t do much in it but was definitely attracted by it. When the closing ceremony of the Osmosis 2012 ended I had said to myself that next year I am going to be a part of it rather than just being an audience.
Came the year 2013 and it brought with it a bigger and grander version of Osmosis. The newer version looked more vibrant and it brought with it a variety of events to showcase one’s technical prowess. Out of all the events the event which struck a chord with me was “Techathlon”. The name itself made me curious and I imagined it to be a technical race. It lived up to its name when I read about it. It consisted of three coding challenges, a quiz and a blogging contest.
The first coding activity “CodCon” consisted of a problem statement for which a logic had to be built and coded to solve it. The problem out there was really tricky and since it was a time bound event it made me tense with each passing minute. Every time I thought a certain logic would suffice I would stumble upon a different set of test data that failed my code. It was not helping and I decided to have a broader look at the problem. A 360 degree view had become mandatory, so I stopped coding and took up pen and paper to work out the problem. That’s when the right logic hit me. I chose JAVA as my coding language even though my knowledge in it was quiet limited. I chose it because of the flexibility and ease it offered. I re-ran different test cases that had failed my previous logic and found them working fine to my satisfaction. This boosted my confidence and with less reluctance I was able to hit the “Submit” button.
The second coding activity was “Less is More”. Here there was a problem along with the solution. The mission was to reduce the number of lines in the existing code. Once I understood the problem, reducing the lines of code in the solution looked pretty straightforward. The third coding activity “FixMe” involved bug fixing in an existing code. It was tricky because identifying the bug involved understanding the problem. Also, being a time bound event every clock tick counted. It was not just sufficient to fix the bug one had to be careful not to introduce a new bug. I analyzed the entire code many times to identify the bug spot. During this analyzing phase I felt I was finally serving the job of my designation – “Programmer Analyst”. Jokes apart, after few iterations I found out the bug in the code. My next action was to fix it immediately. Once I found it working well I hit the submit button without any hesitation. Overall the first three events were thrilling and helped me experience the “Joy of Coding”.
After successfully tackling the coding related challenges it was time for some memory mapping task. “SysQ” was the quizzing contest that followed. The time limit was just 30 minutes and questions were 25. Questions ranged across many platforms and facets of IT industry. It really required some instant brainstorming as every new question belonged to a different domain in the industry. Last but not the least was the blogging event. There were different choices to select the topic on which one could write a blog. I chose the topic “Tales from the trenches” which required me to narrate the coding blunders that I had done or experienced. I re-accounted anecdotes of coding blunders during my college days as well as that of professional life. It was the most fun part in the whole event. After successfully attempting all the 5 challenges my part of race was completed in Techathlon. It was engrossing, fun filled and had learning embedded in all its stages.
Post event, the only thing left was to wait for the results. I had dreamt about being the “Techie of the year” but had never anticipated it in reality. I was sure that I had a given my best shot and was hoping for the best. On the last day of Osmosis when the closing ceremony was in progress I was really nervous. “Techie of the year” was the last award that was given out and when I heard my name being called I was on cloud nine and the feeling was overwhelming. I had achieved what I had desired. That moment still remains fresh in my memory.
I learnt many things from this event. I would like to list down a few.
1. Have a holistic view on the problem
2. Never jump to conclusions before understanding and analyzing the problem.
3. There is always a scope to make your code more efficient.
4. Have a passion, it will take you a long way
5. If you desire; you can achieve.
The whole Techathlon journey was challenging, filled with obstacles and it was a great feeling to emerge out victorious.