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Increasing student interest in computer science contests and careers

In-class contest writing is a great way to open doors on a future career in computer science. And none is better than the Canadian Computing Contest. (If you get a perfect score on the senior test consider it a green light to start working at Google.)

That’s why Upper School computer science teacher Mark Hoel is so thrilled that the number of Year 2 and Foundation Year students who wrote that contest has spiked to 32. (Only three had the interest last year.)

“Hopefully this means more guys will choose information technology as a career path in the future,” says Hoel. Administered through the faculty of math at the University of Waterloo, the worldwide contest is written in China as well, with scores considered an asset for future college admissions including the University of Toronto and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The five-problem format focuses on mathematical reasoning and using algorithms to solve decision-based actions. Four students got a perfect score on the junior version of the test and two scored over 40 out of 75 on the senior test, earning them a berth in a later-stage competition and a spot at an enriched workshop at Waterloo.

Hoel credits Kevin Olds for being such an inspirational teacher and IB2 student Paul Bardea, the head of the computer club, for making this year’s contest such a success. Not surprisingly, Bardea is headed to Waterloo’s computer science program next year.

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