Informatics develops more than just programming skills

By Natassja Bertram, University of Queensland, School of Journalism & Communication

With the second exam of the IOI being held today, 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.”

This article was published on IOI Reporter, the official news channel for the IOI.

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