There are a lot of top notch programmers in the world, and some of them like to test their skills through badass programming competitions. Kevin Atienza is one of them.
Kevin Atienza is a Filipino programmer who currently holds the #2 spot globally for Google Code Jam 2016, and was 25th in 2015. He is currently #1 in Southeast Asia. He is also part of the founding software engineers of Kalibrr.
The Filipino programmer is part of the top 0.15% coders in the world!
Atienza’s coding journey started in his second year of college, in the year 2008. He joined different contests around and had rigorous training along with it. Now, he creates problems for such contests.
According to Atienza in an article from Kalibrr, “I started programming in college so I can’t really call myself a prodigy. And even then, I didn’t feel very comfortable calling myself a “prodigy”. Before college, the subject mathematics was his main passion. He joined various contests in their region and has won some awards. “But math and programming are tightly related, so I guess my love of math translated easily to my love of programming.”
Google Code Jam
Google Code Jam Competition. Source: Alphagamma
In August 2016, the Google Code Jam 2016 World Finals took place in New York City. There, the top 26 coders and programmers from all over the world, fought head to head in a series of timed algorithmic problems.
It’s important to note that even before Google Code Jam 2016, Atienza was already a part of the elite 0.15% top coders in the world. He put up an awesome fight at the competition and was able to beat 24 of the world’s best programmers, and got 2nd place. The first placer was Gennady Korotkevich, the two-year reigning champ from Belarus.
“It took several years of training, creating problems, and joining contests regularly. When I started joining the Google Code Jam, I never even imagined getting into the finals, much less winning 2nd place. I think I got really lucky this year! But I would say luck is only 10% of it. The other 90% is pure dedication and hard work. It helped a lot that I was enjoying all the problem-solving and training, that I was able to spend my free-time doing all of it, and have fun doing so.” Atienza said in a Kalibrr article.
Sharing the Knowledge of Programming
For many of us—yes, even engineers—programming can be very difficult and frustrating to understand. It’s like learning a different spoken language, and using it to solve mathematics problems! For Atienza, it’s the resources that makes programming a difficult task. “The tools required to do my job make things difficult. Many of the tools I use are not really well-built, but in most cases I have no choice. This makes my task 10 times harder than it should be.”
On the positive side, it gives him great joy when he is able to share his knowledge with different people. More so if they are able to understand it. It is the reason that pushes him to learn more.