Limerick and Dublin home to Ireland’s youngest programming champs
Cian McDonnell and Áron Hoffmann (in front); Fidelity Investments' Tadhg O'Shea and Dublin City University's Prof Rory O'Connor (at back)

Limerick and Dublin home to Ireland’s youngest programming champs

4 Mar 2015

Students Áron Hoffmann and Cian McDonnell have come out on top in the junior and senior categories of the All Ireland Programming Olympiad.

Held at Dublin City University (DCU) recently and supported by Fidelity Investments, the five-hour competition saw some of the countries brightest problem-solvers and computer-thinkers descend on Dublin from 15 different counties.

On the day, both junior (under 15) and senior (15-18) participants were given four problems to decipher and translate into working code.

Returning champ Hoffmann – from Luttrellstown Community College, Clonsilla – again took the top prize, meaning he’s in with a one-in-eight chance of representing Ireland at this year’s International Olympiad in Informatics in Kazakhstan in July. McDonnell – aged just 14 and from Dooradoyle, Limerick – took the gold in the junior section.

Experience is key

“It’s a lot more intimidating than the preliminary round when you have the comfort of your bedroom and six weeks to complete the problems,” explained past-competitor Conor Griffin. “But the experience really stands to you for the finals the following year.”

Gary Conway, who manages the event, said: “These are the sort of skills the ICT sector are in need of – quick-thinking, problem-solving software engineers that can work under pressure. To see these skills in such young students is really amazing and encouraging for Ireland’s future. Our youngest competitor, first timer Yulia Soldatkina, came close to a medal position and she is only 13!”

This is the fourth year Fidelity Investments has sponsored the event and with their continued support participation has grown by double-digit figures year on year.

“We continue to see increased interest in this great event. Fidelity Investments takes great pride in encouraging young students to develop their technical skills and consider IT as a career,” said Tadhg O’Shea, vice president of software engineering at Fidelity Investments.

Gordon Hunt
By Gordon Hunt

Gordon joined Silicon Republic in October 2014 as a journalist. Unafraid of heights or spiders, Gordon spends most of his time avoiding conversations about music, appreciating even the least creative pun and rueing the day he panicked when meeting Paul McGrath. His favourite thing on the internet remains the ‘Random Article’ link on Wikipedia.

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