MohamedHamada_'s blog

By MohamedHamada_, 5 days ago, In English

Hello CF community...

2 days ago, It was my last regional contest (ECPC). for the last 5 years, I was training for the ACM while studying (like most of us) and help the other newcomers in the problem-solving community. In the last ECPC, one of the students who I was training had really bad luck in the contest and spent too much time on one easy problem and didn't solve it! I think most of us have experienced this. anyway, After the contest, she said I have no reason to continue the training! I did my best last year and didn't get any good results! and I even don't know what's the benefits of problem-solving in a practical job after leaving competitive programming! (we all will leave these competitions one day, whatever the reason) she was really disappointed. I know that feeling and I reach a mental breakdown 2 years ago (still trying to recover).

competitions -like anything in life- have advantages and disadvantages, you may work very hard and things go wrong! you got WA instead of first accepted in the contest because you forgot to add the file name and end up with 11th place while all honor goes to the top 10 places! and there are too many other reasons! (maybe really 13 reasons why). and we end up with some small percentage of people with honor and prizes/medals/cups and some other disappointed people! despite all the advantages of competitive programming I still find it a very very toxic community!

back to the main subject, I have many questions... and I hope this blog be a reference for anyone who will experience the same feelings/questions... After getting enough competitions(regardless of the reason),

  • is it really worth it?

  • did you use it in your job?

  • did you still train after you got -whatever- job and you find out you still want to be better in topics such graphs for example?

  • how to avoid the side effects and toxicity of the competitive environment?

  • and what would you say to anyone worked very hard but didn't get any good place and feel disappointed or maybe he felt he wasted the time, it may be better to spend the time to study for the market jobs for example ( Web, Machine learning / Data science/ .etc)?

  • for those who can't participate anymore, what's next?

please discuss any question/point you have experienced, and if there are other blogs/articles that discussed the same points leave the link/s in a comment. any help appreciated, Thanks in advance.

 
 
 
 
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5 days ago, # |
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I don't have the experience to give you advice, but good luck, may God bless you)

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5 days ago, # |
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Hi.

I'm 26 years old and 3 years ago I failed my last try in the ICPC. I know that you feel. I was very disappointed after my last ICPC contest. My dream — qualify on the subregional contest — crashed.. I dropped CP and became an Android developer.

But, some months ago I started CP again and I really enjoy it! Solving problems is excellent warm-up for brain. Now I more relaxed while contests compared with my ICPC career. I want to reach Div1 in the coming months.

Good luck an have fun!

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    4 days ago, # ^ |
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    I think I have the same feelings after I worked as a web developer... maybe working in the market makes you see the benefits of problem-solving so you consider it as a learning process, not just a competition.

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    4 days ago, # ^ |
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    and I hope you will reach Div1 soon! Good luck

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5 days ago, # |
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How to avoid the side effects and toxicity of the competitive environment?

Realize that you have done absolutely nothing in your past 5 years except solve bullshit problems that contribute nothing to your actual problem solving, that you also didn't work hard at all (you solved 0.4 problems per day in the last 5 years), only 5% (~40 problems) had a rating more than 1500. Realize that you did waste your time because you did this whole thing in the worst way possible. Blame those who convinced you that you need competitive programming to get a job because, you don't. Now accept all this and then think what you want to do because you messed up, you're about to graduate and if you wasted all your time on competitive programming and didn't learn something that can possibly get you a job then gg m8 you're gonna be fucked for a while until you can get gud.

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    5 days ago, # ^ |
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    Also why the fuck are you training people when you can't train yourself, you're probably doing them more harm than good.

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    4 days ago, # ^ |
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    I don't know if the tool u used to analyze my training had considered the problems solved within groups or not, also, the problems solved on other websites like UVa, SPOJ, A2OJ .etc

    also, I have mentioned that I trained the newcomers, not a 2500-rating contestant! they started from programming 1 (data types, loops, flow control, etc),

    you are right at some points and I already started to study for the market, thanks for your advice

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5 days ago, # |
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I think a lot of the toxicity in the CP community is because you get "serious." Regardless of the results, you have to enjoy and laugh at every stupid thing you have done in your training. Maybe I'm very young and I don't understand the world yet (I have 3 regionals left), but I think one must love (really love) solving problems.

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    4 days ago, # ^ |
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    yes, I think you are right! being very very motivated and take it "serious" may be very toxic! but how to not take it "serious" in a competitive field!

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3 days ago, # |
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I have also participated in ECPC unofficially(EOIer) and we've also done the same mistake. We could've easily solved 6 problems instead of just 4. It was the first time I enter an important team competition and our team didn't train together and we only practiced together only once in a virtual gym contest. Which lead to many consequences. But I am at least glad that I learnt my mistake for the next time. I heard CP in general might help in job interviews(not sure. I am only in high school). Talking about bad luck, if it happened many times, then this is not bad luck basically. This is lack of practice. Either it is lack of practice and lack of chemistry and communication between teammates or lack of problem solving. Strategy is an important thing too! We had a strategy that we should have followed but we didn't lol. So basically, we entered ECPC without a good strategy.

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3 days ago, # |
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Is it really worth it?

Of course 1e100%.

How to avoid the side effects and toxicity of the competitive environment?

and what would you say to anyone worked very hard but didn't get any good place and feel disappointed or maybe he felt he wasted the time, it may be better to spend the time to study for the market jobs for example ( Web, Machine learning / Data science/ .etc)?

Video Psychological Concerns in CP by mostafa.saad.fci may help.

Ask TheAngel, He has a lot of experience.