A beginner’s tip to crack the CCDSAP

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My brief introduction –
Hello everyone! My name is Sai Ashish (codechef username: ippo) and I am a student at Manipal University Jaipur pursuing CSE degree.

Why I chose to give CCDSAP?

I was always more inclined towards Machine learning and AI. It was recently that I realised that this field requires strong understanding of Algorithms and data structures, this is when I decided to start my coding experience with CodeChef.

How did I prepare for the exam?
I followed the practice links given in the preparation section of the CCDSAP site and tried to give some of the mock tests.

What were the major challenges which I faced?

Since I was a TOTAL beginner in the competitive coding field, I was confused regarding the submission format. I was getting WA (Wrong Answer) just because my input reading part of the code was accepting input differently. (The “space separated input values of an array” part was confusing to me. I thought that I had to parse the file for space-removal or something while I just had to take input normally in a loop). Luckily, I sorted it out during the practice time itself.

My experience on the day of the exam-
I was nervous as I had only practiced the questions given in the practice links, but once the contest started, it was not that hard. The thrill which I felt when I got that green tick was like: ” YEAH ! I am a top-notch coder! Wohoo…” I knew I had to use quick sort algorithm, but used a selection sort algorithm instead because I didn’t know how to quickly implement it by using the qsort() function of the stdlib header file and I yet had to study the dynamic programming concept, so I couldn’t attempt the 5th question. But eventually, I passed the exam and was sad that I couldn’t score full marks, but excited and happy at my new-found love for competitive coding!

Why would I recommend CCDSAP to other fellow programmers?

I took this exam because I had NO experience in competitive coding and I wanted to truly test myself. Some may say that I could have tested myself in online monthly contests, but for someone like me who is more interested in competitive Machine Learning(Kaggle) and app dev and couldn’t devote his time to regularly solve on codechef, this certification exam was a way for me to be get a taste of and be in touch with the necessary competitive spirit of coding:)

Tips for others
Code if you WANT to, not because you have to 🙂

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