November 20 to November 22nd had been a buzzing weekend for the CodeChef community, with the Indian Programming Camp (IPC 2020) delivering more than it promised. Eighteen thousand programmers logged in to catch the 27 live classes and Ask Me Anything sessions held by our esteemed trainers – learning, discussing, raising questions, resolving doubt, and practicing problems. While the IPC 2020 by CodeChef is well-known to India’s programming community and abroad, the third edition was different and more prominent in scale. The Indian Programming Camp 2020 opened up a learning avenue that catered to programmers beyond the realm of the International Collegiate Programming Contest and the International Olympiad in Informatics preparations. The 2017 edition of the IPC catered specifically to those preparing for the then called ACM – ICPC, and the IOI, which limited the learner’s base to college and school students. This time, programmers of all levels, be it working professionals, CP aces, college, and school students, and beginners, joined us on our three-day programming extravaganza held over the last weekend – each walking out with invaluable programming insight.
How the action unfolded online
With the pandemic crisis, there was no question of a physical camp. CodeChef, in association with the largest online learning platform in the country, Unacademy, brought the whole programming workshop under one roof, the Unacademy platform. With multiple classes running in parallel for each level, it might sound overwhelming, but dividing the entire program into three different tracks smoothened the process. The tracks were as follows:
Division 1: Advanced topics such as Flows, Suffix Structures, Persistent Centroid Decomposition, FFT & Variants, Segment Tree Beats etc.
Division 2: Intermediate topics such as Graphs & Trees, Game Theory, DP, String Hashing etc.
Division 3: Introduction to topics such as Programming, Complexity Theory, STL, Graph Theory, DP etc.
All learners could choose their track at the time of registration, depending on their level of expertise. The topics of discussion were categorized under Division 1, 2, and 3, which represented advanced, intermediate, and beginner levels.
Cherrypicking from a host of amazing classes
The camp began on Friday, 20th November with an opening note by two-time ICPC world finalist, Tanuj Khattar, who has been associated with IPC since its inception. Following a warm welcome, the software engineer from Google Germany continued the camp with the first class of the IPC 2020 – Persistent Data Structures by Tanuj Khattar, officially kicking off the camp. LinkedIn SDE, and one of our top educators on Unacademy, Sanket Singh’s class on Basic Programming Constructs is another notable class with a watch time of more than eighty-five thousand minutes on day 1.
6-star CodeChef user, and trainer, Pulkit Chhabra’s class on Introduction to Trees seemed to be the most popular class with a watch time of more than ninety thousand minutes on day 2. On say 3, Recursion and Backtracking by Sanket Singh turned out to be the most-watched class.
While the live classes proved to be a wholesome learning experience, what appealed to the learners most was the live doubt resolution through the online chat feature. Learners were also given a Discord link to post their doubts, and have them answered not only by the trainers but also by a team of dedicated Teaching Assistants. College student Shahzan Ahmed seemed particularly impressed by the online doubt resolution through the chat feature and how trainer Sanket Singh had offered his assistance through the feature.
“The teaching quality and the interaction by teachers, especially I loved the C++ STL class by Sanket sir, he’s a really enthusiastic teacher and he was really trying to answer all questions from the chatbox [sic],” said the Division 3 coder in his testimonial for the Indian Programming Camp 2020.
Beyond the classroom
One of the biggest take-aways from the camp were the five AMA sessions held over the three days. Besides conducting live classes during the camp, some of India’s finest programmers discussed various aspects of competitive programming during these sessions. Very pertinent topics such as why competitive programming is essential to crack the FAANG companies or the
tips and tricks for Placement Strategies for Intern and FTE Roles were addressed in these sessions. Two-time ICPC finalist Arjun Arul and IOI medalist Sidhant Bansal came together for a session on IOI and competitive programming for school students, dedicated to school students preparing for the prestigious IOI, discussing the matter in detail and taking relevant questions from the audience. Another notable session, dedicated mainly to college students, and covering the journey towards reaching ICPC finals from being CP experts was taken by Nishchay Manwani and Tanuj Khattar – both ICPC world finalists. To put in the simplest words of Gunjan Sharmal, a Division 3 programmer, “the AMA sessions were very helpful and interactive.” When asked about how she liked the AMAs, another Div 3 programmer, Dhruhi Kanani, testified, “how they (trainers) tried to clear the concepts from the very basic level and with very good examples. The AMA sessions were really helpful in many ways.” [sic]
Something to take home
While testimonials speak for the take-ways of the IPC 2020, there were some things more tangible than critical programming insight imparted over the three days. For all learners who participated in all three days of the camp, CodeChef rewarded them with an Indian Programming Camp 2020 Certification. That’s not all; 50 lucky learners have been selected to be given a one-month free subscription to the highly sought after Learn Competitive Programming with CodeChef program – access to unlimited live & recorded courses, delivered by the best programmers from the industry and across the world.
That was the Indian Programming Camp 2020 in a nut-shell, and we hope you have made the best of it. For those who missed out on the action, head over to the Unacademy platform and experience the knowledge-rich camp through the recorded sessions. This is Debanjan, urging you to write about your experience at the IPC 2020 in the comments. Until then, keep coding.