Coding Confidence

The Canadian Computing Competition (CCC), created by the University of Waterloo, is designed to test students’ ability in designing, understanding and implementing computing algorithms. Organized by Junior and Senior levels, the competition is available to Canadian public and independent schools as a way to challenge students’ computing skills outside of the classroom.

Havergal’s Senior School students, who are enrolled in the Computer Science program, wrote the Junior level of the competition on February 14. For Emily Su, Grade 11, the competition was a welcomed challenge that allowed her to apply her classroom knowledge in a practical setting. “It was really rewarding to work through the hardest questions towards the end of the competition,” says Su. Denise Lee, Grade 11, agreed. “If it was too easy, it wouldn’t have been as valuable. I now know what I need to work on to continue to grow,” she says.

To prepare for the exam, the students used the CCC online grader that provides immediate feedback to algorithmic programming problems and solutions. However, Havergal’s Computer Science program and co-curricular activities also helped to train the students for the competition. From object orientation programming and recursive patterns in class, to co-curricular activities such as Hackathons and Coding Club, Havergal’s computer science offering has expanded alongside the school’s focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math).

For Su and Lee, these opportunities contributed to their interest in pursuing a career within the technology industry, a sector that is often predominately occupied by men. When asked why she is interested in pursuing a career within computer science, Su explains, “it is so applicable to our everyday lives. Technology is everywhere and we use it on a daily basis. Our lives would be completely different without it.”

It is pivotal that the technology industry reflects a diverse group of professionals, including women, because of the increasing role that it plays in tackling societal issues such as education, sustainability and health care1. Encouraging students to participate in challenging opportunities, is one of the many ways Havergal is helping to bridge the gender gap by piquing students’ interest and confidence in the field.

1. McBride. S: Glimmers of Hope for Women in the Male-Dominated Tech Industry. 2018.