Team Name: ancalagon
Institution/Organization: IIT Bombay
SnackDown 2015 Rank: Indian 18
Q. CodeChef: When did you start coding and how did you learn?
Balajiganapathi S: There was a programming course in my school during 7th standard. We were taught programming using GW BASIC. Later I learnt C/C++ and all the algorithms using materials available online on my own.
Deepa Panwar: I first got introduced to coding in B.Tech 1st year coding lab. I learnt coding mostly from assignments, class and books.
Q. CodeChef: Could you name and share your first programming contest experience?
Balajiganapathi S: Topcoder SRM 443 in June 2009 was my first contest. I only knew C and did not knew C++ much. I had to keep googling how to do basic things like looping through a vector. Yet I managed to solve the easiest problem.
Deepa Panwar: My first coding contest was Topcoder SRM 608. I solved level one and level two problem successfully, it was thrilling.
Q. CodeChef: How often do you code on any given day & weekend?
Balajiganapathi S: I stopped practising after last year’s ICPC World Finals due to time constraints. However, I try to keep participating in as many contests as possible. I try not to miss any contest on CodeChef, topcoder and codeforces.
Deepa Panwar: I always try to participate in all contest. And do coding when I get bored of academics, which is often 😉
Q. CodeChef: What was the biggest hurdle on your road to where you are today?
Balajiganapathi S: Managing academics. Since my branch in Bachelors was Electronics and Telecommunication, I had to balance between coding and obtain passing marks in the exams. There have been conflicts with exams and contests. I participated in ICPC 2011 Amrita regionals even though there was a 7th semester endsem exam the next day. I failed in the exam. Due to some university rules, I had to give all the exams of 7th semester again. So, I had to study for 8 subjects during my final semester endsems.
Deepa Panwar: Lack of proper guidance or proper resources.
Q. CodeChef: What do you think biggest mistake competitive programmers make?
Balajiganapathi S: I have noticed 2 mistakes that many competitive coders make: 1. Coding for the wrong reasons: Some coders code just to add it to their resume. I feel this is a wrong reason to code. If competitive coding is not interesting, one should not participate just for adding it to their resume. 2. Giving up early: Learning basic algorithms is fun and it is easy to be motivated as we can get AC on easy problems after learning those algos. However after a point, many come across difficult problems which require a lot of thinking and do not easily reduce to basic algorithms. Many coders give up at this point..
Deepa Panwar: Caring too much about rating.
Q. CodeChef: What programming language do you use and why?
Balajiganapathi S: C++: STL is awesome and Java code looks very verbose compared to C++. .
Deepa Panwar: C++, because it provides STL, which helps in fast coding.
Q. CodeChef: What advice do you have for other competitive programmers?
Balajiganapathi S: Don’t give up!
Deepa Panwar: Keep calm and code on.
Q. CodeChef: What do you like the most about CodeChef? and what would you don’t like in it?
Balajiganapathi S: Like: Snackdown. I really like the idea of an India centric onsite contest. Please make this an annual event 🙂 Dislike: Server errors and slow page load at the start of cook offs annoy me a lot. However, it has been getting better over the last few contests. Hope it goes away entirely.
Deepa Panwar: I like CodeChef editorials.
Q. CodeChef: What factors do you believe help you win?
Balajiganapathi S: It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose as long as you do your very best
Deepa Panwar: Self motivation.
Q. CodeChef: What motivates you to compete?
Balajiganapathi S: I like competitive coding.
Deepa Panwar: I just like the feeling when I see AC or System Tests Passed.
Q. CodeChef: Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
Balajiganapathi S: 5 years is too long!
Deepa Panwar: I don’t think that far 🙂
That, ladies & gentlemen is Team ancalagon to you. We thoroughly enjoyed their responses and hope you did too.
We will be back soon, so keep watching this space.