Agoda’s Tech Team: Our First External Programming Competition

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In November, Agoda hosted our first external programming competition with the goal of bringing together the programmer community and having fun. Over 400 participants competed online to win prizes like a PS4 Pro with VR set, PS4 bundles, Nintendo Switch Lite, Corsair gaming headset and more.

Learn more about the competition, the ideas behind it and how we hosted it in the below article.

Agoda employees at an internal Algorithms competition

Algorithms

In Agoda’s Tech team, we see algorithms as an integral part of what we do—solving problems with technology. Solving a complex architectural problem is similar to solving an algorithmic puzzle, only on a different scale. There can be many solutions that work but we always look for the best solution and the best way to optimize it. Internally, we host a competition called “Algorithms” regularly to keep our team member challenged and engaged. We’d come around after each competition, having pizza and discussing the different ways people take to solve the problems.

Idan Zalzburg handing prize to the first place winner Phirasit Charoenchitseriwong

Online Competition

After gathering more experience hosting algorithm challenges, our team wanted to extend this to the wider programmer community. Relying on how we host our internal competition on HackerRank, we came up with the idea of hosting an online competition where anyone could participate from anywhere.

On the competition day (November 16, 2019), 400+ programmers logged in to tackle the problems we created for them. They all had 5 hours from 2-7pm, with the fastest person to solve all problems correctly only taking 2 hours.

Phirasit Charoenchitseriwong, a Computer Engineering student from Chulalongkorn University, took the first place. When asked about his techniques, Phirasit shared that he didn’t only stick to one language to code. And the important thing is to identify what the problem needs correctly so you can find a way to solve it. “Mainly I use C++. But in some of the problems, I saw the easier solutions in Python, so I switched.”

Two more contestants also solved all the problems with a perfect score: Nawanol Theera-Ampornpunt and Natthakun Kitthaworn.

Top 50 competition winners at the award ceremony

Award Ceremony

As one of the purposes of this competition was to bring together programmers in the community in Thailand, we invited all top 50 participants to the award ceremony at our Bangkok office. On the day, our VP of Data, Idan Zalzburg, Director of Engineering/organizer of the competition, Levon Ter-Isahakyan, VP of Engineering, Michael Feldkamp and other leaders from Technology department joined and handed out cool gadgets to the winners, including PS4 Pro with VR set, other PS bundles, Nintendo Switch and so many more. Just like what we do in “Algorithms”, the top three winners got to share their solutions to the competition problems. And we made sure to provide plenty food and drinks for the programmers to stay and connect to one another after the ceremony.

We were happy with the turnout of our inaugural Agoda Programming Competition. So stay tuned to [email protected] and Agoda Careers for the next event.

More photos from the award ceremony

If you like the way our Tech team turns challenges into fun, join us! Apply through www.careersatagoda.com