just.curious's blog

By just.curious, history, 7 weeks ago, In English

Hi Codeforces, I am curious about some matters that I think our fellow CPers from India (or those who know the CP scene in India well) can help explain to me. I think these topics can be a bit sensitive to talk about, which is why I made a throwaway.

1. What is the typical motivation for someone to start doing competitive programming in India?

In many parts of the world, competitive programming comes with practically no prestige or career advantages; at least in the US, I'd estimate less than 10% of tech company recruiters or computer science majors know what Codeforces even is, and probably less than 1% knows whether a CF rating of 3000 is considered good or not. Being good at competitive programming certainly helps for interviews, but putting "I am Div 1 on CF" on your resume will impress practically no one. Admittedly, excellent (IOI or close) level performance helps for college admissions, but if you're not at that level it really doesn't help, and there are many other ways to "prove" yourself.

I ask specifically to our fellow Indian friends what their motivation was for doing CP, because my impression is that tech companies focus much more on CP ranking in India, which gives serious incentives for higher rating. This, to me, could explain the greater prevalence (or at least, perceived prevalence) of cheating among Indians in CP: in India, higher rating means a better shot at jobs and a stable livelihood; for many other parts of the world, higher rating really carries no benefit because CP was just a hobby anyways. Does this theory make sense? And I really mean to ask this with the utmost respect, and without spreading stereotypes of "India = cheating" and so on; if this really is the root cause of CP cheating in India then I can't blame them too much for it. Choosing between not cheating and not having a job is not easy...

As a followup, if tech companies really do care about CP ranking, do you think this is a good thing to emphasize? Even in the US, I think the emphasis on whiteboard interviews and algo questions is a bit silly...I feel like most tech jobs don't need more algo knowledge than "sort is $$$N\log N$$$, hash maps are $$$O(1)$$$" and should maybe place more emphasis on technical communication and "ability to read and work with crap code," for lack of a better way to put it.

2. (Admittedly this is pretty off-topic for Codeforces, but I'm very curious and don't know who else to ask...maybe I'll edit this out if it gets too heated) What do you think of Modi's India? From what I've read, he's made good progress tackling some problems (like public defecation and sexual assault) but his power to suppress and manipulate the media, and his stance toward Muslims, is very concerning. Are there certain groups (rich, poor, educated, less educated, etc.) that tend to support him more? Are others concerned with his nationalistic tendencies (it personally reminds me a bit of Trump in the US)?

I realize these are very sensitive topics that you may not want to reply to on your main account, but I really want to know your opinions, so please PM me or maybe comment on a throwaway if you could help me understand better.

 
 
 
 
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7 weeks ago, # |
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Bhaiya, net mil gya hai to kuch bi likhoge ?

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    The world is so vast and varied, I'm simply trying to understand it better...no offense intended

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      7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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      So why are you using an alt ?

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        7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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        I predicted (correctly, it seems) that many people would downvote rather than answer the questions constructively.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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Oh no, not again. But I think I'll still reply.

1. What is the typical motivation for someone to start doing competitive programming in India?

The general image is mostly true. For MOST of the Indians except the OIers, IRRESPECTIVE OF RATING, CP is a good way to practice advanced DSA-like interview prep. I don't know if it's entirely true, but I feel some people do it so that they find standard interview-prep easier. It's the same reason every ambitious JEE aspirant solves Irodov/Solomon or some obscure olympiad problem even if the problems are out of syllabus, so that they find "standard syllabus" problems easier. Maybe they find the easier things too easy and they want to challenge themselves to something harder.

It's not like CP and interview prep are completely poles apart. Some hiring challenges like that of Codenation and Google do really ask very challenging problems (one of them was same as a CF problem). But why will anyone ask very hard problems for an intern who is probably not even going to do something as advanced as those problems? That's because it's a very convenient way to select smart/hardworking/etc people from a large pool of applicants. There is simply not enough time (or maybe they don't want to invest that much) to interview 100s of candidates. Gonna pay the same, so why not select apparently the best? And this is not specific to India, big companies do it elsewhere too, just that they might not have a filtering test initially and might directly move on to the interviews. Errichto too said it when asked about conducting hard-core CP contests for hiring. He said that it's okay for Google to do it, but startups shouldn't follow their footsteps, atleast not initially. But here even a random startup conducts their tests on Hackerearth/Hackerrank because it's a cheap filter as opposed to getting a software engineer on the team to handpick resumes/interview

because my impression is that tech companies focus much more on CP ranking in India

Not directly and necessarily, but I don't think there is a negative correlation between having higher rating (not because you cheat, but because you are/have-become good at CP) and doing well in the hiring rounds.

without spreading stereotypes of "India = cheating"

Thank you. I would add "Cheaters are cheaters and nothing else". (Sorry, borrowed from Petr's "Programming challenges are programming challenges and nothing else")

My conspiracy theory is that the very ambitious Computer Science (and even of other branches; we even have people taking Mechanical engineering and doing CP) students do it because of the reasons I said above. Then other people want hope, and look up to the ones who really did well in CP/CF contests and got placed at a good place. So I think it is about placing the safest bet.

It's not like people who don't do CP don't get placed at a good place, but my another big conspiracy theory is the Quora recommender algorithm. I don't know for sure, but my suspicion is it shows every Indian 1st year(they come to know about it if you start hiding JEE answers and start following programming answers) CS student some CP related answers only because it seemed to give some positive feedback when introduced in the past (their seniors). Might be a location factor too. Basically positive feedback leading to blown-up widespread results. Also, almost every college, irrespective of Tier, conducts some "Freshers programming contest". These are CP-styled rounds conducted by programming clubs having seniors who have gotten placed/interns conducted on Codechef/Hackerrank typically for the 1st year students. Then after the rounds, they have editorials session where they stress importance of CP and ICPC. My guess is that's how 80%+ of college freshers CP journey begins.

What do you think of Modi's India

This answer itself was too long, but maybe some other day, or perhaps never, because of my limited politics knowledge and too off-topic.

Also a final note: curiosity is good, it's alright you want to know more about a particular country. Every country has its own challenges. In this answer, I have made my best attempt to tell the truth (or atleast my version of it, others can disagree), even if people don't like it.

But I would like to say something to others making defamatory blogs: Stop it. Just think about the image you're creating of the country as a whole. It's not like we don't have amazing people, yeah agreed the number of really passionate people across all ratings (not only low-rated) is not proportional to the people competing, but that should not be an excuse to create those blogs just because of a few black sheep. I hope every country improves at everything there is to improve in the near future. Good day!

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    I see, thanks for the info!

    There's nothing like a "Freshers programming contest" in US universities so I found that very interesting...seems a lot more cutthroat than the typical US college experience! I'd also say underclassmen often look up to people who have gotten internships at Google/Facebook/etc. but many of those who got internships never did competitive programming. Perhaps this will happen in the future though, because leetcode is pretty common for interview prep in the US and Codeforces is basically just a step up from that.

    Edit: with regards to "Oh no, not again" can you link me to places where this was discussed previously, I've read CF blogs for a while and haven't seen much discussion like this before lol

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      with regards to "Oh no, not again" can you link me to places where this was discussed previously,

      I think you misunderstood (mainly because it was a short sentence). It was a general reaction to the flood of blogs related to India in recent actions, not about blogs discussing the specific questions you have asked. About the latter, it has only been discussed in some cheating blogs in the comments, not a blog in itself. Also there was a highly upvoted sexism blog where a lot of discussion happened. The blog was then deleted.

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    7 weeks ago, # ^ |
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    But here even a random startup conducts their tests on Hackerearth/Hackerrank because it's a cheap filter as opposed to getting a software engineer on the team to handpick resumes/interview.

    Sad that I can only upvote you once. I still remember my friend asked a question on Derangements which was asked in his OA. I think these companies should know their limits.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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I think the first question is fine, but the second question is maybe not a question that is right for Codeforces, you can try to ask that on reddit or something.

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7 weeks ago, # |
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I think you got a long answer for your first question. Regarding the second one, yes Modi has done a tremendous job in many areas (mainly defence and Kashmir issue), but he has many more things to do. And don't believe everything that BBC shows you. If you understand Indian government system, then read about by what majority he has won the elections. And what is left for the opposition besides not creating a mis-information about everything he does and every law he introduces to create unrest in the country so that India's international image is highlighted like what you are saying. Regarding muslims read this article. And before you start shouting that the article is written by his acquired media house, read the author's name and designation. Of-course many times he may be wrong about his decisions, but you cannot doubt his character towards the country. Now as someone said above, reddit is a better place to ask such questions so never pollute codeforces with such blogs (which is already polluted by the cheating blogs)

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7 weeks ago, # |
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Motivation = money and huge packages

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7 weeks ago, # |
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You know what? That you are writing valid questions from an alt account is what making me angry...

I cannot say for Indians why they start doing it...For myself, I say I simply like to use my brain to solve problems of CP. Those niche solutions,elegant observations and obviously my thirst to become better than others in something is what drove me to CP. Actually, it was that logical thinking which I enjoyed. I too dream of getting placed at big companies but for that CP is shit...Taranpreet Singh recently got placed at Google ,may be bcz he was an avid CPer but then his achievements are what makes him a true CPer...cheating will never take someone to those heights.

As for Modiji, well I found people here are ready to lick his boots...then please explain what happened in hathras,UP,India...what happened at JNU...why demonetisation was a total blunder....what the hell happened at Gujarat riots....who the hell directed the Gujarat riots....you are educated enough to do CP, then kindly enlighten your mind before supporting a "chaiwala"...and before you label me as a MODI antagonist , I think you yourself should label as one because most probably you always throw garbage on the road, make places dirty which again is totally opposite to Modi's views who emphasis on nationalism in every individual...if you love your country you will think twice before littering the streets...

Don't care even if I get a 100 downvotes on this comment....Come downvote me..then i shall post it on my whatsapp status