Back in my freshman year at the University of Calgary, I was looking for opportunities to improve my programming skills. That’s when I came across a poster for the Alberta Collegiate Programming Contest (ACPC) 2019. Being an individual that wasn’t very familiar with competitive programming, I was intrigued by the concept and decided to sign up with a couple of my buddies.
The competition consisted of 8 programming puzzles that had to be solved in a time frame of 5 hours. The result was…. not too pretty. My friends and I were complete newbies when it came to coding algorithms, which made it hard to even comprehend the questions. We ended up with a whopping score of 2/8! Luckily for us, the main highlight of the day came shortly after the end of the contest.
The participants were given delicious free pizza that was handed out as a congratulatory treat for crossing the finish line. Shortly after our dinner session, the participants were introduced to the main industry sponsor of the competition, Arcurve. Mike Bauer, CTO of Arcurve started off by congratulating the participants for a successful competition and proceeded to talk about how the problem-solving skills we were developing can be applied in industry. He described Arcurve’s employees as problem solvers just as we were, developing software solutions for various clients around the globe. The whole concept of building and deploying software products for clients intrigued me greatly. By the end of the presentation, I was convinced that I would want to work for Arcurve sometime in the future to learn from some of the best problem solvers in the industry.
Fast forward to today, I am finishing up a summer work term at Arcurve as an Intern software developer. I was amazed at how much responsibility I was given to intervene with the development process. The features I developed were deployed directly onto the main product, and inputs I gave were directly reflected in future plans. The most enjoyable experience of them all was demoing my features to the clients. The feeling of accomplishment from receiving positive responses after a successful demo is unparalleled.
I am also now a VP academic at the Competitive Programming Club, teaching club members about algorithms and data structures to aid in solving competitive programming questions. I also had the chance to be one of the problem setters for the 2021 Calgary Collegiate Programming Contest. For those of you that wish to improve your problem-solving skills, I highly recommend attending the annual competitions that are held by the club. Even if you aren’t a student, you may compete as part of the open division!