The student news site of Cypress Woods High School

The Crimson Connection

The student news site of Cypress Woods High School

The Crimson Connection

The student news site of Cypress Woods High School

The Crimson Connection

Competing in Codewars

The Codewars competition challenges teams of three computer science students to solve as many problems as possible in three hours. This March, Cypress Woods High School competed at the Codewars competition and placed second with the effort of juniors Henry Fong, Bowen Yang and Simon Xu.

After the training of computer science teacher Stacey Armstrong, the students attend competitions as frequently as once a month. The computer science team competes in many competitions, but Codewars is next-level.

“Codewars is a little different because it’s longer, and the engineers from [Hewlett Packard Enterprise] write the problems,” Armstrong said. “So rather than it being just some random person, it’s an actual software engineer that writes the problems which makes it a little more interesting.”

The involvement with professional problems can give students experience for college and later careers since all three team members plan to continue pursuing computer science.

“One of the things that this prepares them for [is] if you try to get a job as a software engineer, typically you have to do what’s called a technical interview, where they give you some problems and you have to solve them in a timed environment, which is very similar to a competition,” Armstrong said. “So doing the competition prep is helping you when you get ready to try to get a job somewhere versus just doing it just to play around.”

Hours of drills are dedicated to preparing for competitions in Armstrong’s classroom. They compete often, so practice is a necessity.

“We’ve been doing them for a while now: twice per week. So we spend about two hours after school, coding up problems with our team in Mr. Armstrong’s room every week,” Yang said.

The competitors chose from thirty problems with different point values. The team members shared one computer, so they solved different problems on their own and typed answers after they were solved.

“Some of the problems were very tedious, and they were very easy to make a mistake on,” Yang said. “We tried to do the hard problems. That’s the only way to win.”

During the competition, they had no idea how they were doing compared to others. They tried to focus on their own problems, but they felt a little doubt that they would be behind others. Later, they would find that was not the case.

“Right after the contest, people started talking about how many points they got, so we estimated we were probably in the top three,” Xu said. “When they actually announced the rankings at the official gathering we were really excited because we got out of the third place [after] like three years in a row.”

Participating in competitions motivates students to attend more practice and work harder, causing them to stand out to college admission boards.

“It makes it fun. Everybody wants to win something,” Armstrong said. “They liked the idea of going and competing and getting trophies and getting on the announcements and getting on the newspaper or on the Cy-Fair website. Plus it kind of gives them a mission, and it kind of fits in with the 212. Our spirit here is to win stuff and be better than everybody else. We’d like to do the same thing.”

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Evie Henderson
Evie Henderson, Online Editor
Hello, I’m Evie Henderson, the Online Editor of the newspaper. I am a sophomore and this is my first year on the newspaper staff! I spend lots of time after school reading, learning American Sign Language, and helping out at theater rehearsals.

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