In Conversation With CodeChef Problem Setter Shahjalal Shohag

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A programming legend from Bangladesh, Shahjalal Shohag is a 7★ coder on CodeChef with a sky-high rating of 2526. The number 1 rank holder in Bangladesh contributed to the July CookOff 2020 with problems such as EVENTUAL, ORTHODOX, BOJACK, TOTEM, XORCISTPATHETIC and EXTREME.  This was just one of his many contributions to CodeChef programming challenges. Shohag was kind enough to make time for an interview with CodeChef, where we got to know the master coder up close and personal.

CodeChef: Tell us a little about yourself. 

Shohag: I don’t know what to say here. I love to lose myself in competitive programming most of the time. And sometimes, I set problems as I like the idea that people are probing into something that I have created, which gives me immense pleasure.

CodeChef:  What do you think of the programming situation in India? 

Shohag: I think they are doing really great. Some of the top-rated coders are from India. As far as my experience goes, many Indian coders do CP just for jobs, and I don’t like the idea, and I think they should focus more on the ‘fun’ part of CP.

We agree with Shohag’s view as creating a holistic programming culture has been our objective since inception. 

CodeChef: Since when have you been associated with CodeChef as a problem setter? 

Shohag: Most probably since January 2020.

CodeChef: What was your last experience with CodeChef as a problem setter like?

Shohag: The last contest that I set, July CookOff 2020, was a transcendent experience for me. I never thought that people would love the problems that much.

CodeChef: What were your thoughts behind the problems you set? 

Shohag: I like to set those kinds of problems which I would love if I were a contestant. I like thinking-oriented problems, and there is that ‘Ahaa!’ phase when you come to know about the solution. I discard most of the problems that I create as they usually don’t satisfy the criteria mentioned above and keep others. So as you may guess, for that reason, it takes a quite amount of time to come up with a single problem.

CodeChef: Did you expect the kind of response your problems got?

Shohag: To be honest, no! I was overwhelmed by the responses that some of my problems received. That gave me genuine satisfaction and inspired me to create more problems.

That was Shahjaja Shohag in conversation with CodeChef, sharing his experience as a problem setter for our coding challenges. If you have any questions for Shohag, leave your questions in the comments below and stay tuned for the next problem setter we’re going to talk to. 

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