A Spectacular Start

3 min read

‘There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.’

– Michelle Obama

We believe this is true of any field, including competitive programming. To this very end, CodeChef’s Women in Competitive Programming (WICP) community was born, as a means to encourage, celebrate, and support women coders and programmers.

In March 2020, to kick off our International Women’s Day Special series, we had organized our first-ever month-long challenge dedicated especially to this community. This contest was open to both solo participants as well as teams of two. The top winners would get exclusive entry to a one-on-one Mentorship Program by CodeChef, organized specially for the WICP community; and an opportunity to be mentored by experienced coders rated 5-star and above [1].

We posted one problem a day and participants were given only 24 hours to solve it. The problems were based on selective topics and featured a mix of difficulty levels to keep things interesting. The topics included Binary Search, Dynamic Programming, DP, Knapsack, Fenwick Tree, Line Sweep, DSU, Priority Queue, and more.

We reached out to the community via our Facebook group and emails and we were thrilled with the response we received for this coding challenge, from both Indian and international participants. The challenge saw 1681 teams take part and a total of 2016 participants. We loved the enthusiasm and determination these women coders showed and it made us even more committed to helping them achieve their goals.

Below are some highlights from the #30DaysofCP Challenge for women in coding.

  • Out of the total 876 teams that made a submission, there were 722 teams that got the correct accepted answers, leaving a total of 14255 correct submissions!
  • There were a total of 1129 users who participated, with 1053 from India and 76 from across the globe.
  • With each passing day, as the problems grew complex, only 14 teams could keep up with the challenge and finally, 11 teams successfully managed to complete it!
  • The Mentorship Program opportunity was provided to 21 participants from the 14 winning teams. However, impressed by our contestants’ determination, we also extended the mentorship to 51 participants (31 teams) who showed enough persistence throughout the challenge.
WICP2002 Statistics

Do read on to know some of our participants’ thoughts on this initiative as well.

Swarnima Shishodia, pursuing a Bachelor’s course in CSE from ABES Engineering College states,

“As there are fewer women in the competitive programming world, I needed a community that could help me enhance my coding skills. I got to know about the Women in Competitive Programming community (WICP), a great initiative by CodeChef. It was a wonderful experience as I teamed up with my friend Isha Goel to take on this challenge.”

Another participant, Anu Bansal, an IT student from UIET, Punjab University teamed up with Sonia Singla for this challenge. She pushes us forward by saying,

“Keep hosting such challenges as it really boosts our confidence for CP. Couldn’t thank you enough CodeChef for bringing back the coder in me.”

Swarnima recounts,

We weren’t the winners or in the top few, yet we received the opportunity to be mentored. I suppose that’s why they say, learning is more important than winning. Because if you keep learning, you will win one day. Thanks to WICP for providing such a great platform for women coders.”

Honor roll of the top 11 winners of CodeChef’s first-ever #30DaysofCP Challenge

Team NameMember 1Member 2Problems AttemptedSubmissionsSolved
blue_jaysPooja Kumari303630
codechamp15Priya Doshi306530
kajal_team_03Kajal Gupta307530
naina77Naina GuptaAnisha Jain309030
team_unicorns2Riya Runjhun305330
thehungrywolfSakshi RaiShaifali Singh304330
triarchArchita EkkiralaTriyasha Ghosh Dastidar3017530
veenanitk1Veena NagarRounak Modi308530
weareok0419PH Chau AnhFukumaru3010730
womensdayBhavana TalluriPasumarthy Sai Jahavi Shanvitha304030

All our participants are certainly role models for other women contemplating a career in coding. This response will certainly inspire many more to take the plunge into the world of competitive programming and carve a niche for themselves as they learn and grow in the field; a fact proved by several women coders who are already a part of Codechef’s community.

A huge thanks to all our participants and all women coders out there who challenge themselves to such goals every day! We are more than happy to conduct these contests and willing to do it more often in the coming times. We would also love to hear from more participants about their experiences with CodeChef’s #30DaysofCP Challenge. So please do share them with us and join us in motivating others through your experiences. You can also spread the word about CodeChef’s Women-In-Competitive-Programming community with your friends and colleagues. May we inspire more women, right from school and college to the industry, to come out and rule the world of competitive programming. And if you have any other ideas that could help the WICP community learn more, drop them in our inbox at feedback@codechef.com!

[1] ^ CodeChef’s rating based on the coders’ performances in programming contests.

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