How to improve the competitive programming scenario in India

competitive
programming
survey

#7

One thing I would like to request codechef is to hold events like Indian Programming Camp multiple times in a year. Instead of having one camp in a year , we can have 2-3 of them in the summer breaks and 1-2 in winter breaks with additional constraint that one person can participate only once in a year.

In the current scenario , IPC only benefits those who are already well versed with cp. It will be a great help if relatively weaker people can be selected for the camp. I whole heartedly wanted to be in the camp but sadly I knew that I will not be able to make it. If more people become good in this sport , it will surely shoot up its popularity.

I seriously hope that I will be eligible next year .


#8

Most of my friends are in 3 tier engineering college they don’t know anything about competitive programming.
Becuase there is no environment of it so they completely neglect it, even I came to know about competitive programming in my college during my first year. I wish i would have started it earlier.
And one more thing Our engineering syllabus is very much complex we are studying economics,physics and all sorts of rubbish subjects which doesn’t hold any value in an engineer’s life.
And if we are losing with our grades then we will not be allowed to sit for our campus placement due to this thing i am forced to focus more on academics than on competitive programming .


#9

My problem is **from where to start ???and which topics to learn in what order???and sometimes if my solution is not accepted it is frustrating and loses motivation for cp!! **


#10

@admin If you want to improve the level of all coders then you need them to compete with the best coders in the world and for that treat every coder as equal, don’t give more rewards to Indians even if they are getting poor ranks, set a lower bound. Like codeforces is a russian oj but it doesn’t give extra privileges to Russian coders.


#11

Hi, My answer is going to be quite long, so please hold up.

How to improve CP in India (both in terms of lower and upper bound) ? The answer to this question lies in the question : Why should one do competitive programming ? What are the profits ?

Is it learning only ? If it is only learning then why make it “Competitive” ? Why should a person submitting a solution by knowing and implementing the same algorithm be ranked after a person who just submitted 5 minutes before him ? How does this competitive nature improve the quality of education ?

So I guess it isn’t just learning , it’s also about winning and losing . Okay , even if it is so , What are we wining or losing for ? There are thousands of candidates for ACM ICPC every year from India , Out of which , few of students get selected to represent their Universities in World Finals. It is a plus point, to get yourself recruited. But what about the other candidates . Ohh yes, they have gained some good knowledge about algorithms , problem solving and teamwork .

But are they even ever asked ? Would these companies who look for “problem solving” capabilities visit their campus . No, I m not talking about IITs, NITs or BITs , all other colleges except these ? Few service based companies visit our campus and they hardly care , because they come to recruit mere mechanics than engineers.
My point is that why should one do CP when there isnt a fair chance for employment. Take the case of Directi .
As I knew , Directi only visits IITs, but from this year onwards , all of us will be getting the fair chance to get ourselves interviewed by Directi through Codechef CCDSAP certification Program . And I thank all of you for this.

MY point : "Give people the reason to do CP . "

Moreover the success rate of CP from a Tier-3 college is so low that it doesn’t even interests student. There are 5-star and 6-star rated coders from Tier-3 colleges and they don’t even get interviewed by the companies who look for “problem solving capabilities” .

My advice : Please include more companies for CCDSAP certification program so that each year 300-500 students get recruited through this. This will give motivation to students who are in college . And I do believe that Motivation is the Key . Many good coders start during their first years but leave saying “there aren’t much opportunities for me.”. Trust me, for a Tier-3 student, doing CP by learning programming in 1st year takes a lot of his time. At the end he becomes good with problem solving and algorithms. He needs a platform .
( HackerEarth isn’t one , most of the companies on HE are looking for candidates with experience. and even if few companies give open challenges, there is this whole community looking to grab this one opportunity (the same students who got recruited bcoz of ACM ICPC gets recruited again :slight_smile: …) and at the end the strive for learning becomes the source of depression. )

Please Don’t get me wrong I just wanted to say that, If you believe that CP is the key to increase the potential of a Software Engg/Dev , then why so less are recruited through these open challenges (while more recruitments are done through other channels )?


#12

I’ll write an answer as a person who have never been to India, so it may be that my perception is completely wrong (I’m definitely going into some kind of guessing in a few places) - sorry in advance.

One thing which has been pointed in other answers already is coverage. I believe there are quite a lot of people who may find problem solving interesting and enjoyable, yet they are not aware of it. I am from Ukraine, and I discovered competitive programming in 10th grade because of folks from ICPC team Scorpions which represented Lviv National University at ICPC 2008 and got gold there. These guys were doing their best to promote this activity, and they just gave some promo speech about it at some local olympiad (I’m not even sure if it was informatics or not), showing how cool it is and giving link to local online judge.

Still my first motivation was to simply get diploma at national competition because back then prize place at national competition in any discipline guaranteed university enrollment :slight_smile:

Making people know about it while they are still in school is a good idea; generally you don’t really need to have competitive programming as a school subject on national level - it is not like that in Ukraine, Russia etc. :slight_smile: But having something related in some specialized schools is a good idea.

Generally you need some way to reach out children to show them what competitive programming is and why it may be cool - even cheap trash like “it’s a way to get job at Google” may work, but I’d prefer being more honest on it and putting different priorities there :slight_smile: So these who find it interesting will give it a try, and they’ll enter university with better background and enough time to reach higher levels.

Having some training groups / classes / volountary courses at least at schools with stronger students should also help to both increase coverage and find those who are interested and can do well.

I don’t know how many people in India are doing competitive programming at any serious level. I believe that doing it actively for 4 years should be quite enough to reach red ratings starting from scratch, so India not having many red contestants may be not about starting late (which may be the case for not having elite level contestants) but about not having many people doing it actively. I know how training of the team who won ICPC Finals this year looked like - that’s about having 3-4 team contests per week plus multiple training camps for several years, and then increasing intensity to basically having a training each day (with some exceptions) for last half a year before finals. In case there are teams in India who do 200+ team contests per year plus upsolving plus individual practice for several years in a row, and they can’t reach some decent level - I don’t know what’s wrong and how to help them, because I really believe that intense practice should give results even if it is done not so properly.

These “where to start” and “in which order to learn stuff” things don’t make much sense to me - at least on the upper part of the scale. There are always some exceptions, but I personally wouldn’t expect much from people who aren’t even able to use Google. I mean - show them what competitive programming is, show them how Google works, and that’s enough. Developing community may matter a lot though. For a lot of people having somebody to discuss stuff with / to compete against is helpful or motivating. In Russia strong teams nowadays are attending at least 4-5 training camps per year (often even more). When I moved to Russia for a year to participate in ICPC over a course of 10 months I participated in 5 training camps - as far as I remember :slight_smile: I tried to recall it now, and these 5 are only camps which I recall, but I’m not even sure that there were no other camps in between :slight_smile: I don’t know how many training camps are there in India, but probably it is not like that.

Giving more motivation by increasing number of ways to get prizes, number of different contests/camps etc. should work. Also, emphasizing some stuff during promotion may matter. People believe that in tier-3 college they have no chance? OK, pick a few guys from such colleges who reached good results and use them as an example. I bet if you’ll take some guy from company like Google, who finished tier-3 university and he’ll visit some “not-so-good” college and tell his story - some people may get interested or even motivated.

Imagine this story: “I finished university X - just like your, it’s not so well-known. It’s not like one of these top universities where you have 10 big companies coming for placements - nobody knew about mine, and I’d probably have hard time getting noticed by Google or Microsoft. During my time there I started doing competitive programming, and I got rather well in it. It turned out to be interesting, thrilling experience; after I got decent rank in GCJ competition, Google contacted me and asked if I’m interested in internship/full-time job. I send them my CV and they scheduled interview. Tasks which I was solving during my CP years were somewhat similar to some of the tasks you have to do during interviews, so it was making things easier to me. Also, during my university years I attended several international competitions, including ICPC World Finals where you have to compete against best contestants from all over the world, and I met a lot of smart, interesting people there. Now if you want to give it a try - check sites like A and B, and maybe you’ll also enjoy it; Internet contains everything you need for preparation, so don’t worry about guys from top colleges having better lecturers. Just check it - maybe you’ll find it boring or complicated, but there is also a chance that you’ll enjoy it and turn it into way to get noticed by big companies, meet a lot of interesting people and learn a lot of interesting things.” You know, I think sometimes such stories may work.


#13

Ok so lets first divide the people doing CP in India in broadly two categories :

  1. College Students
  2. School Students (Very Few at present)

Lets me talk about college students which form the majority of the class of people doing CP in India. Let me tabulate the possible incentives for a college student to do CP.They are as follows :

  1. Getting a job at google,facebook,amazon etc. and other prestigious companies: However abstract it may seem it is one of the biggest reasons for most college students to do CP. So naturally when it is your biggest reason you only aim at getting an internship/job offer which you might/might not get in your 3rd or 4th year and after that they tend to loose interest from CP. So this incentive is not enough to raise your level after a certain point.

  2. Very few onsite competitions (ICPC/Snackdown/TCO etc. and related onsite competitions) : Ok so this is also an incentive for college students in India to do CP and aim for ICPC(let us take ICPC first) but most of them only target reaching the regionals and not ahead of that plus those who target reaching world finals also only target reaching there…performing there and getting a good rank is something which nobody thinks about.Plus ICPC happens only once an year and hence its excitement is at max for about 30-40 days before the online round(for majority of participants) .Plus the other onsite competetions (There are very few) and they also tend to invite only a very few Indian teams (like in Snackdown very few indian teams are invited for onsites). Beleive it or not but it is a very significant reason- Very few onsite competitions. So the frequency of onsite competitions should be increased by a significant amount and also it will help in spreading the awareness about the essence of CP. Maybe some other onsites may be introduced.


#14

There are very less 7 starer people from india on codechef(i guess 5), we need to increase that rapidly . I mean imagine the situation we have almost 100 people who are 7 starer.There would be a cut throat competition.And in that case even our 7 starer people will try to become better and better.And ultimately coding culture will evolve.So, now the thing comes to ,how
We will make more 7 starer .I am 4 starer and i know the topics which i have to learn like dp ,game theory etc but i am not able to learn them .i have tried to ,but still i was not able to learn .So,what i want is you guys teach us something like a topic and give us a question related on it with 2 or 3 days time , and slowly we all would become better.Also ICPC contest is a team contest and it would be superb if we could have a contest monthly or 2 team contest in a month .And i can guarantee you team contest will have max participation.
Thanks for adressing the issue.


#15

In India people do competitive programming just to get a good job nothing else. To improve the scenario first we have to change the mentality of the people. If people do competitive programming for knowledge not for good job than their is a chance of improving competitive programming scenario in India.


#16

Well everyone talking about colleges. I’m a class 10 Indian school student speaking here in a student’s perspective.
Main problems I face:

  • Board exams & Academics.

  • No environment or ecosystem.

  • Parents and Society discouragement.

1.Academics: I had never heard a word related to “Computer” in our curriculum. My friends and I were busy loading paragraphs to our brains literally to dump on the answer sheet. Our outdated education system takes computer science admissions through the marks scored in physics and chemistry! But not with the skill, interest or passion whatever it maybe.
So, students basically doesn’t know anything about programming until they enter engineering college.

We have class 10 board exams, class 11 (in some states) and class 12 board exams. And there is another big brother so called IIT-JEE for which most of the Indian students sacrifice everything. Basically, no student practices coding at the risk of academics.

No time to code.For example, I’m out of my home from 7AM to 8PM everyday for various things like studyhours, coaching centers,exams etc.

No coding environment: I used to stay late nights due to bugs. My parent scold. There is no one to learn with. It is so better if we have a team of coders. Internet or Google is the only way to discuss about a specific problem or solution. No one in my surroundings know about programming. They ask me questions like why I am wasting time with laptop instead of studying. Almost everyone of my friends want to join CS but they don’t know why. usual conversations between me and my friends goes like this:

Me: Hey! what do you want to do in your life?

Friend: I will become a software engineer.(my friends actually doesn’t know what software engineer does.)

Me: But why?

Friend: It’s pretty easy than other jobs. We can sit in an air conditioned room entire the day in front of a computer and we can also earn crores.(Sundar pichai and satya nadella effect!)

Me: Are you really interested in programming?

Friend: Yeah! My father bought me a PC when I was a kid. I used to play games with it. And now I can operate computers and android devices so easily.

Me: My dear friend, There are things beyond operating computers,mobiles and playing games.

Parents & society: My parents say “You should work in a computer repair shop after completing your class 10 exams. That is what you will do if you waste time with laptop” A few months before I drove a hard bargain with my parents to buy me a laptop and they did. Then family members and friends of my parents used to ask some senseless questions to my parents like “He is in class 10. So, he should study hard. why did you buy him a laptop? you are wasting his future.” At some point in my life I used to have thoughts like, "Why am I coding if everyone is opposing?" ***“I should stop coding and start studying so that my parents will be happy”***. The opposing force you get if you do things out of the rat race is unbearable. So, Instead of thinking out of the box, I should go with the rat race and study to score good marks in Physics and chemistry in order to get in to a good college for Computer science undergraduate degree.

I can do anything I want but badly I have to follow the mad INDIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM RAT RACE


Thanking you,
The frustrated Indian school student juggling with coding and academics.


#17
  • Competitiors from Russia, China excel in Competitive Programming because of their strong mathematical background right from the school days. And in India, people are mostly preparing for JEE and learning all the maths stuff during this time which is also not enough for CP.

  • Most students start CP after getting into college after the first or second semester.

  • Even if a student starts CP in school, he/she has the parental and peer pressure of preparing for JEE. There are not many colleges which admit students on the basis of programming skills.

  • When students think they are not improving, they get demotivated and start doing some projects etc and leave it.

  • Some people which continue doing CP are only doing it for high paying job and don’t enjoy it. These people then complain that they are not improving even when they are trying hard.

So only a few people remain who continue,enjoy and have achieved success in CP.


#18

I got to know about coding stuff when i was in engineering 2nd year and didn’t like it coz i couldn’t understand many concepts and so left it within a year.I have read many codes from different users for different problems and also been active in community grups for learning.But couldn"t learn much. From past 2 years i have dedicated my time for coding and but i m still 1 star…rather than growth i had down fall from 3 star -> 1 star…I don’t know what to read or study extra to reach atlst 5 star…Can any1 guide me what actually is required to solve atlst 5 problems in codechef long challenge.As i read about @ 7_star lebron guy,he made it to this far.please guide me what to learn so that i can solve more problems.I tried asking above 5 star guyies and they seems cocky and don"t wanna help coz they think if they had put effort to reach higher rank why teach other,let them struggle and suffer…(I have contacted @murugurelinout (codechef users) and no help from him)
@lebron : if u can help now it wud be great else i will quit coding coz for me their is no growth as compared to others.


#19

Can someone from outside india share how their COACH is helping them in the ICPC preparation.


#20

Apart from all the points that have already been mentioned, I personally feel that the Seats of CS in top colleges should be separated from normal engineering and have a separate Exam, or may be selection through IOI performances. This would definitely Boost CP along with removing the burdens of Rest subjects. Being from CS in IIT i personally feel that i have wasted years of my life behind the prep of JEE where i no longer need any physics and chemistry. If all i want to do is CS, there should be separate track for that… as we have for any other stream. I started CP only in second Semester in my college, and now am in third. I just wish that somebody would have just mentioned me about this in school. I feel that as long as CS is compared with Other engineerings and is done for ‘good placements’ in India, Nothing changes.


#21

When I finished grade 10 in 2014, I had no knowledge whatsoever about programming let alone Competitive programming. I was studying the Maharashtra SSC board syllabus. There was literally nothing about programming in the syllabus. That should change. Coding should be taught in secondary school as an elective atleast and exposure to competitive programming should be offered to interested students grade 9 onwards. Maths skills relevant to programming should also be taught to interested students and finally the school must educate the parents of this competitive programming arena through seminars.

P.S. I was introduced to programming in grade 11(junior college).


#22

Start with not putting all math problems in important contests like ICPC Preliminaries!
Why?
Because its a programming contest, not a math contest. :slight_smile:


#23

Ha Ha.
Just Include Competitive coding in syllabus of IIT-JEE and you will find out thousands of red coders.


#24

I would like to through light on some issue

  1. Lack of awareness: I have seen many students don’t know about competitive programming. Every college should aware student about competitive programming. They may host college contest on regular bases like 2 times in a month, to understand student how fun is programming is.
  2. Tutorials: Tutorials on basic topic should be provided to student. So, student can learn easily. As i seen the basic problem student faces that they dont know how to code in Competitive programming. So proper tutorial is provided for that.
  3. Time consuming: As for beginners there are some problems which are very complicated and difficult to understand and sometimes difficult to implement. It consumes too much time.

At end i would like to say Competitive programming scenario can only be improved by providing awareness and to let them know that way they know how much fun to code is.


#25

Hello, Instead of thinking of how to improve, why not think of why it is not in being practiced by many people(students) in India. I am a student and I have very few people in my college who really like to code. There are several reasons:

  1. First thing is, our education system do not bother whether we actually learn coding. What matters is, completing syllabus on time. In the end students take courses outside just to land a job.
  2. There is no coding environment, our theoretical knowledge is seen instead of practical knowledge. Most of the students just by heart the programs to pass the exams.
  3. There are very few events which promote CP, many beginners give CP when they cannot solve complex problems in few available competitions online.
  4. Many of people do not learn CP because they think the companies hiring them will train them anyway so why wasting time on learning on their own.
  5. There is no proper guidance for CP. Even I am struggling learning it on my own. There are very few institutions which have qualified Professors who can guide on CP.

These are common problems I found while networking with many people around my city in events and hackathons.

So if there can be some platform for beginners to start CP from beginning where they can get proper guidance, it will create interest in them. The platform may be just a small club or community.

Or if everyone can decide to guide few people(friends), more people will join automatically. I have my own team, which started with 2 members and it has now grown up to 20+ members in few months, and we are learning CP on our own.


#26

I think point 2 is the most important. There is absolutely no incentive for school students to study computer science. Even if a student wants to enter a technical stream and even if that stream is CS, only his knowledge of physics, chemistry and maths is used to judge his capabilities.