Success for Leeds at the National Coding Challenge

Joshua Searson from the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering has been announced as a targetjobs National Coding Challenge 2023 champion.

targetjobs is a leading careers platform in the UK for students and graduates and has been serving local communities for more than a decade, hosting graduate schemes, careers events, awards and competitions. Their National Coding Challenge was set up to identify and celebrate the UK’s best student and graduate coders. Each award is partnered with a prominent employer who will provide a money-can't-buy prize for the winner, which could include a paid internship and other exclusive opportunities.

Joshua, who is studying Electronics and Computer Engineering BEng, was named the First Generation Champion, partnered with Capgemini.

After his initial application, Joshua was invited to sit a series of online coding challenges, which consisted of two main components, each designed to assess different aspects of his skills. He described “The first part focused on evaluating your behavioural skills and assessing your situational judgement in various workplace scenarios. It aimed to gauge your ability to handle different situations effectively and make sound decisions.”

The second part of the challenge revolved around problem-solving in a coding context. He continued “It presented a series of diverse "coding-like” questions that pushed your problem-solving abilities and tested your skills in deciphering puzzles. For instance, one of the exercises required analysing the validity of a given string based on a set of rules. These questions resembled brain teasers but had a fun twist that mimicked the challenges often encountered in software development. By engaging with these challenges, you were able to showcase your problem-solving prowess, a crucial aspect of coding.”

As the newly selected champion, Joshua will get 5 days of paid work experience with Capgemini. He said the award “acknowledges the problem-solving skills possessed by myself and fellow finalists, which highlights the profound significance of this ability in addressing critical challenges that confront our society. It represents the collective potential we hold to leverage our abilities for tackling prominent issues.

Software engineering, in particular, offers immense opportunities for making a substantial and far-reaching positive impact. As a community of engineers, it is our responsibility to fully explore this potential. However, such exploration is contingent upon our proficiency in problem-solving.”

By recognising and rewarding individuals who excel in this aspect, the award reaffirms the crucial role that problem-solving plays in the field. It emphasises the need for us, as finalists and a community, to embrace the opportunity presented to us and unite in harnessing our skillset to confront and overcome the most pressing challenges we face as a society. Through our collective efforts, we can unleash the transformative power of software engineering and pave the way for meaningful progress.”

Craig Evans, Director of Student Education in the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, said “This prestigious award is a fantastic testament to Joshua’s programming ability and motivation. He is excelling on our Electronics and Computer Engineering degree programme and I’m sure he’ll have a very successful career as the next-generation of engineers develop technologies to tackle society’s biggest challenges.”

Thinking about his emerging career, Joshua said “As a recipient of this award, I am grateful for the direct opportunities it presents, such as networking with professionals in my desired career sector and gaining valuable work experience through Capgemini. Moreover, I recognize the award's potential to unlock new avenues and pathways that would have otherwise been inaccessible to me.

Beyond these immediate benefits, this experience has had a profound impact on my personal growth. It has instilled in me a sense of confidence and enhanced various essential skills that are vital for my future career endeavours.”