Published: 01st May 2019
Beyond CodeVita: These young coders who may rewrite the way our lives work in the future
There is a lot more to coding than what meets the eye. Especially at CodeVita, one of India’s most gruelling coding competition
Coding, by definition, is the simple act of ‘assigning a code to something for classification or identification.’ Sounds easy enough for the most part, except if the aforementioned coding occurs at TCS’ global coding contest CodeVita. An international and highly competitive platform-cum-contest for Engineering and Science students to showcase their coding, problem-solving and programming skills, CodeVita is probably one of India’s most prestigious encryption events and certainly, the most gruelling. This might appear as tall talk, but the numbers don’t lie and they inadvertently bolster this claim. For instance, for its fifth edition in 2016, more than 83,000 college teams from across the globe vied for the honour of being crowned as the coding champs. Lakhs of students register each year (including those from nations like Peru and China), compete with others to grind through the various stages and phases and finally, brawl it out in the grand finale.
This year, the competition heats up further, with over 220,000 unique registrations and a USD 20,000 prize pool for the eighth edition. Given the fame and fortune at stake, it comes as little wonder that the competition draws in a plethora of students from a broad array of disciplines, backgrounds and interests. The seventh season of CodeVita took place at TCS Olympus, with the finals being held on February 25.
The coder who was enthroned as the champion that day was Dominik Smrž, currently pursuing a Computer Science course at Charles University in the Czech Republic. He had reached the finals in 2018, before returning to India this year and emerging as the winner. “When you come from Europe, you realise how versatile the world is. You first notice the difference in simple aspects such as food and traffic conditions. And when it comes to coding, you need to remember why you have a passion for coding. As much as it is a mathematically-precise field, it is no less creative,” says Dominik, when asked about what drove him to return to India. “If you feel like you are losing the creative aspect of coding, take some time off and write a code, whatever it may be, just for the sake of it,” he recommends. He has a soft spot for Python, an interpreted, high-level, general-purpose programming language. “I personally think it is the go-to language when it comes to minimal working examples. And as such, it is my top pick when it comes to competitive programming,” says Dominik. His interest in coding stemmed from watching his elder brother writing programming codes from a young age.
Dominik was introduced to CodeVita by a close friend and says that the competition was nothing short of thrilling. “From the beginning, you have to try and determine which tasks are the easier ones and solve as many of them as possible. Throughout the competition, I knew that I was doing well and that made me try really hard to win the event. In the second half, I was only left with the really hard problems and I am happy that I was able to solve a few of them,” he says proudly.
Others who reached the finals include Chen Xin and Sheng Yu Hang, who finished as second runner-up and runner-up respectively. While Chen studies at the National Chiao Tung University and enjoys coding more than his regular curriculum, Sheng was pursuing his academics at University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and was introduced to code-programming during his school days. An interesting fact is that both of them state C++ as their favourite coding language and it was also their first trip to India. “I believe coding is thinking and doing sequences. Knowledge and creativity are vital aspects,” says Xin, who intends to become a programme developer after graduation. “Coding, for me, is like writing an article. If people truly understand what coding is, there is no limit to what they can build,” quips Sheng. He intends to continue advancing his coding abilities to higher levels and says he is grateful to CodeVita for the opportunity they provided him.