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Kushal Jain on winning the Tally CodeBrewers – Wizard of System Programming Track – The Hindu

Kushal Jain, on creating solutions from scratch. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
While I have heard a lot about “learning by doing”, I understood its true value after participating in the Tally CodeBrewers Hackathon. As a member of the organising team of my college’s hackathon event, I saw some amazing projects by students in this space. It also inspired me to participate in a hackathon and so I entered for this one.
The Tally CodeBrewers was a multi-stage competition that consisted of an online quiz, an on-the-spot coding test, a weekend challenge on product development and a virtual demo. The final round had two product development challenges: ‘Wizard of System Programming’ and ‘Commander of Full Stack’. Though I did not know much about System Programming, I chose it as it sounded challenging and gave me an opportunity to learn and grow.
The product development challenge shared over the weekend required us to create software that would help users organise files on disk using tags. The differentiating factor was that we were assigned dedicated mentors to guide us in our journey by helping us understand the challenge in detail, solve our queries, and provide feedback. This played a crucial role in helping me develop a winning entry.
At first, the challenge seemed straightforward. I started researching File Management programmes, and, on the basis of my reading, I wanted to store the file names and locations and the tags associated with them in a key-value format. But, a discussion with my mentor showed that my solution wouldn’t work and that I needed a unique way to identify a file — one that would not change even when a file is moved, renamed, or modified. I went back to the drawing board and started reading again. There were many failures, but each one gave me a better understanding of the subject. The Eureka moment came after much trial-and-error.
The ‘inode’ data structure in UNIX caught my attention, and I realised Windows had something similar called FileID. I also figured out I could build a comprehensive programme using the latter. As I was familiar with Python, I made a simple GUI instead of a command-line interface programme. After a few hours of coding, my first demo solution was ready with the basic functionality. I showed it to my mentor who approved it. In the final demo round, the jury tested my programme and its features thoroughly and gave valuable feedback and ideas to make it more useful.
My first hackathon gave me an opportunity to not only learn, but also understand the concept and its usage. Moreover, it has instilled in me, a spirit of creating solutions from scratch and I am confident it will help me in my future endeavours.
The writer is a student at IIIT-Naya Raipur

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2022 11:34:54 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/education/kushal-jain-on-winning-the-tally-codebrewers-wizard-of-system-programming-track/article66055995.ece


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