Raising Coding Culture with NITR Codes & Preptember Series

Raising Coding Culture with NITR Codes & Preptember Series

Chaitanya Kumar Utkarsh Singh | Sep 14, 2020

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In these times of global pandemic, uncertainty has taken the throne. With minimal outdoor activities, one is confined within the four walls. Learning to code not only gives an option of an alternative career path but also assures productive utilisation of time in these stressful times. A career in coding is undoubtedly lucrative as well as challenging, seeking the best out of one’s potential.

NITR Codes is a joint initiative of Developer Student Clubs, NIT Rourkela and clubs registered under Student Activity Center (SAC), NIT Rourkela, namely, Microsoft Campus Club, Spawn, Code Red, and Code Hub. It intends to organise an effective and progressive Competitive Coding series, the initiative provides mentorship, quality resources and weekly contests to bring the best out of the community.

Preptember Series is being collaboratively conducted by Developer Student Clubs and clubs registered under SAC, NIT Rourkela; OpenCode, Design Tab, She Coders, ML4E, Spawn, Code Hub, Code Red, Microsoft Campus Club and Webwiz. The aim of the series is to have beginner-friendly workshops and sessions to prepare the students enough to start making open source contributions. The central idea is to have a common platform for all tech enthusiasts of NIT Rourkela to learn, collaborate and grow. Having started the NITR Devs workspace in Slack, which is one of the joint initiatives of DSC and OpenCode, for everyone to stay connected in the field of tech, Developer Student Clubs (DSC) planned in the new session of DSC NIT Rourkela to push this to the next level and have events, sessions and projects together. Instead of confining the knowledge to a particular group or club, the team made it open and accessible to everyone. One can join this workspace through this link http://bit.ly/NITRDevs.

In NITR Codes series, each week focuses on specific topics and resources to those topics are provided to the students. At the end of the week, a contest is organised to test the brains. The difficulty of topics increases steadily as the series progresses from Beginner to Intermediate and then to Advanced. The community is active on Slack, and one can join it to clear doubts, find proper guidance and to participate in healthy, productive discussions. 

Meanwhile, Preptember series focuses on delivering content and sessions which the clubs wish to have, making it a month-long event.

Team Monday Morning caught up with the DSC Lead, Harish Ramesh Babu to know more about the initiatives.

Monday Morning (MM): What can students expect from the event and what skills can they develop?

Harish Ramesh Babu (HRB): In NITR Codes, students can expect to improve their Data Structures and Algorithms skills gradually. It is a well-curated series with hand-picked resources and contest problems addressing all levels of students whereas students who are interested to participate in Hackathons or make their first Open Source contribution can benefit from Preptember series. We have planned sessions with almost everything for a beginner to kickstart their Open Source/Hacking journey.

MM: What was the central idea of collaboration of various coding clubs?

HRB: The central idea is to divide the work so that the quality resources can be delivered instead of redundant, ineffective ones. Each club takes responsibilities from picking the resources to setting problems for each week. The burden on the clubs is comparatively less, and this also ensures that the quality of the resources is not compromised at all. The collaboration has also ensured that unlike the past events conducted individually, this brings more coders together and creates a better mutual learning community. Each individual would be able to benefit from this.

The collaboration helped us in the following two ways:

1. Publicity: As we now have the potential to reach a wider audience.

2. Wider Topics to cover: With the expertise of various clubs, it'll help to build a community with a vast technological span.

MM: How was the participation and experience after the first week, and what improvements are being planned to help the students further?

HRB: We had around 50+ students participating in our week-1 contest. It is a little less than what we anticipated. But since the first week was focussed for complete beginners, and we have got requests from intermediate skilled students, we are trying to focus more on them. So that it would be beneficial for the majority of students. We are currently working on our Online Judge Platform called NITR Codes. Once it is up and running, we would be able to host events on the platform rather than hosting it elsewhere.

In the Preptember series, we got around 40-50 active participants for the workshops we've organized so far, that is the first two weeks of September. We have received feedback from a few students that they are interested in these and they want to learn more about these topics, so we are trying to plan accordingly for the next two weeks.

Team MM appreciates the joint effort by the various tech clubs and hopes that students utilise these series to the fullest and coding scenario in NIT Rourkela sees an exponential rise in coming years.

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