Q. CodeChef: When did you start coding and how did you learn?
Rajat De: I started coding last year around July-august (2014) when IIIT – D was conducting its junior programming event and I got to know about it through my seniors at school. Initially it were my friends at school who were coding much before I started who taught me basic stuff until I was good enough to understand algorithms myself from the internet .
Additya Popli: I started coding last year only, around July-August. My Computer Science teacher got me started, and my seniors helped me.
Q. CodeChef: Could you name and share your first programming contest experience?
Rajat De: My first online programming contest was procon junior prelims on CodeChef. I solved 2 out of 7 questions in that and just made it to the finals, then I went for the onsite finals, saw many other good coders and also the CodeChef team was there and I saw how interesting coding was, also in finals I couldn’t solve anything for full points I just ended up doing 1 partial question. But since then I started coding properly daily.
Additya Popli: It was IIITD’s Procon Junior. I’d just started programming and was very excited when I qualified for the onsite round. But sadly I wasn’t able to take part in the onsite round.
Q. CodeChef: How often do you code on any given day & weekend?
Rajat De: I mostly sit in front of my computer for full day, although my internet is a bit weak, but whenever it is working I spend my time on CodeChef and codeforces or spoj doing questions, on a weekend or any day off, I spent like 10 – 12 hours in front of my laptop out of which I spend like 6 – 7 hours coding, on working days it’s the half of it.
Additya Popli: Earlier I used to code almost every day. Nowadays, it has become very less, barely twice a week.
Q. CodeChef: What was the biggest hurdle on your road to where you are today?
Rajat De: One of the hurdles was weak internet connection, sometimes while doing a contest, my net goes and I can’t make a submission even if I have coded the solution. Other than that some hurdles include lack of good study material for advanced topics, most of the reading material for advanced topics is in Russian and the translators don’t work that well on those. So I had a hard time understanding some data structures and still have that problem.
Additya Popli: I could not qualify the Indian Nation Olympiad of Informatics last time. I’m yet to cross that hurdle. Hopefully, this time I will.
Q. CodeChef: What do you think biggest mistake competitive programmers make?
Rajat De: I have seen during live contests like CodeChef long challenges , people ask questions related to some question in that contest on codeforces blogs or stack overflow , I even receive some messages on codeforces from anonymous people asking for solutions , I think contests like long challenge are fun to solve and there is no point in asking the solutions .
Additya Popli: Carelessness. Solving one hard problem is always better than solving ten easy problems.
Q. CodeChef: What programming language do you use and why?
Rajat De: I use C++ right now, it’s because it was taught in schools in 11th and so while I started competitive programming it was the only language which I knew and was available in the list of languages. I still use it because it’s very fast, same thing in c++ works like 2 – 3 times faster than java and almost 5 times faster than python, C++ has all STL objects which we might need. Though I am sometimes jealous of python users as they have much more inbuilt functions than c++ but still considering speed, C++ is much better.
Additya Popli: I like C++. But, I like python better. It’s much easier and simpler, especially when you’re lazy!
Q. CodeChef: What advice do you have for other competitive programmers?
Rajat De: Just keep practicing on CodeChef / codeforces / spoj and any other online judge known to us, and if have any doubts ask them (not during contest). That’s it.
Additya Popli: While (alive) code;
Q. CodeChef: What do you like the most about CodeChef? And what would you don’t like in it?
Rajat De: I like the quality of some questions, there are some very good questions which are totally unique, and also the long challenge is pretty fun. What I don’t like is that recently in all CodeChef contests, there is too much math, and especially in lunchtimes, there are many math questions or questions which are totally off topic from IOI syllabus. Also one more thing I like about CodeChef is the editorials , some editorials are really interesting and have a lot of information , compared to codeforces editorials , CodeChef editorials are much more detailed .
Additya Popli: CodeChef is great for practice. But sometimes, in the Lunchtime contests, the questions are more Math than programming. Also, virtual contests would really help since people miss out on contests sometimes.
Q. CodeChef: What factors do you believe help you win?
Rajat De: The feeling we get after solving many questions in a contest is nice.
Additya Popli: The cool prizes, and the satisfactions that comes with it.
Q. CodeChef: What motivates you to compete?
Rajat De: Nothing much, if a contest is interesting I do it. Also if it’s a CodeChef contest I know there are t-shirts as prizes that kind of motivate me.
Additya Popli: The excitement during the contest!
Q. CodeChef: Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
Rajat De: 5 year is a long time. I am simply into Competitive Programming because I simply like it. So let’s see what is in the surprise box for me after 5 years.
Additya Popli: Five years down the line, I see myself doing the same I’m doing right now. Solving problems on CodeChef and watching Game of Thrones.
That, ladies & gentlemen is Team dps_dwarka to you. We thoroughly enjoyed their responses and hope you did too.
We will be back soon, so keep watching this space.