My Voyage through the seas of programming

Tags: musings, iitk

I came to IITK as a guy who thought he knew coding. I had scored 99 in my Informatics Practices exam, and knew some C++. This was much more than any of my friends had done.

I was naive, hadn’t even heard of algorithms by then. When I met a programming club secy, I was boasting that I could write loops as complex as I want (whatever this means, I feel stupid about this still). I used to think I can start development any time, by virtue of my knowlegde of computers. I was wrong. In more ways than one.

Somehow, I met this guy Pallav here who seemed as enthusiastic about coding as me, albeit with a hundred times more experience than me. We both got together to code. All day long, sitting in the hall computer room.

Algorithms

This is when I got into algorithms. My ESC course was in progress, and codechef was a well recommended place to start. I started thinking of algorithms all day, it is fun when you have another friend do the same. Soon, I met Kunal (a.k.a. Kapila), the algorithmic god of our batch. Codechef became my favorite passtime, even as my mid semesters approached, I would still code for hours everyday.

My the end of my semester, I felt quite comfortable with algorithms by the standard of a person who learnt proper coding just 4 months ago. I did 6/10 questions in the November long that month, and got a rating of 3000+ in a single contest. This was the last of algorithms for me for a long time.

Robocon

I got selected in the Robocon team of IIT Kanpur. By October end, I had decided I would be going into the image processing team. It was there that I met Lakshay Garg, a senior who would be insipiring my endeavours for the many months. There, I learnt the basics of Image Processing in OpenCV (By march, I knew quite some Image Processing). Now as you would expect, using it in Windows got troublesome after a while, as we had to be coding lots of stuff, and we made a life changing decision to shift to Linux.

Shifting to linux, learning to set up everything in Linux and learning to optimize our time (using vim for example, I shifted to vim completely soon enough.) laid the basis for all of my linux knowlegde. I developed a deep interest in everything Linux.

Linux

Now as often happens, I didn’t stop there. I kept learning new things about Linux, began to love the terminal more than the GUI utilities. Lakshay and Pallav shared the same interest, and together we 3 would try out new things everyday. One fine day, I thought of trying out Arch Linux, another life changing decision. I learnt the inners of Linux installing it. I used to be the one people called to install Ubuntu, now I was here, having ditched Ubuntu for Arch.

Set it up properly in 2 days, and then installed it again. By the time I got a new laptop, I was at a stage where I would install OS thrice in 24 hours. I tried multiple things, tested out packages, did whatever I saw related to Linux.

By the end of the semester, I had installed my Arch approximately 30 times. It was fun for me. I would remove it and install it again just for the fun (I must say I couldn’t have done that if IITK didn’t have its own Arch Linux mirror). I also learnt CLI utilities like grep and sed, and started writing shell scripts for everything I would do multiple times. Even spent a full day and night installing Gentoo. Another learning experience was configuring my Arch to run just off i3 window manager (no GNOME).

Development

I, Pallav and Kunal participated in Microsoft’s hackathon code.fun.do in January, hoping we could win a T-Shirt atleast, by completing whatever app we would try to make. Surprise Surprise, we came first, ahead of so many seniors who participated. That was the first proper development activity I had done, other than the Robocon code. After coming back from Robocon (Pune, March 1st week), I started learning development along with Linux.

At the end of the semester, I learnt backend Web Development a bit, when I made this website as a practice activity. I also got selected for a Web Development internship for the IITK NYC office. By this time I am very much into Development, and in the summers, I have this internship, and the code.fun.do final round, so possibly I’d be at a much better stage by the time this summer ends.

To be continued..

Author's picture

Saksham Sharma

Hacker. Programmer. Geek.

3rd year Undergrad, Computer Science and Engineering

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur