• Informatics develops more than just programming skills

    by  • July 9, 2013 • Natassja Bertram, stories • 1 Comment

    With the second exam of the 2013 International Olympiad of Informatics being held on Wednesday, informatics experts have said the competition develops more than just programming skills.

    According to IOI 2013 Scientific Chair Associate Professor Ben Burton, having three tasks released simultaneously creates an ongoing challenge that showcases skills not only in informatics, but also in time management and stress control.

    “You need to be patient, you need to be able to persevere and sometimes you need to go away and rethink problems,” Dr Burton said.

    “You show that you won’t just repeat materials for an exam but you can solve difficult problems and not get flustered by them and put the time into solving them.”

    It is these skills that Dr Burton said made IOI competitors stand out, particularly when applying for future employment or academic entry.

    “These are the kinds of problems that as a typical high schooler, you barely see,” he said.

    “At university, you see them a little more often, but these tasks require real world skills in complex problem solving.”

    For United States’ competitor Johnny Ho, this will be his final Olympiad. He has already started putting these real world skills to use working at Quora, a community-organised question-and-answer website.

    “The company I work for isn’t oriented on making money; it’s more concerned about spreading knowledge, which I think is a really cool goal,” Johnny said.

    “A lot of people I work with have done this competition before and made a lot of money in banking but they’ve quit those jobs to work on something that actually helps people.”


    Natassja Bertram is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Queensland. Studying a dual degree in journalism and communication, she has a particular interest in print and photojournalism.

    One Response to Informatics develops more than just programming skills

    1. July 10, 2013 at 12:03 am

      Quora was co-founded by Adam D’Angelo who was on the 2002 USA IOI team in Korea.

      He was an early employee at Facebook before leaving in 2009 to start Quora.

      Many former IOI participants have ended up in high positions at Google.

      Don Piele
      Former Director of USA Computing Olympiad

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