HSCC Alumni, Nazir Hassan
My memory is not the greatest but I do have some advice. I do remember that it was quite an amazing experience and that it was one of the first times that I had gone out of town without my parents so I was slightly nervous but extremely excited throughout the whole trip. Not only was it a competition but a life changing experience. We got the chance to go sightseeing and trying different foods. Best of all is that everything was arranged and paid for by BDPA. These kinds of opportunities do not come up often. Trust me; it has been 10 years since.
There are a few things the team can do to help improve their chances of winning. First they must divide and conquer. Everyone needs to be a specialist is doing something. Whether it's passwords, tables, Java, SQL or whatever your requirements are for the competition. There should never be one person that does 90% of the work, no matter how good they are at programming. If you don't separate tasks then the main person will get burned out and creativity will be lacking.
Secondly someone must be responsible for the team's time management. A small amount of time must be devoted to designing the project on paper first. Then this person needs to monitor progress and speed until time is up. An 8 hour competition can easily feel like you only had 1 hour to get the work done, so never lose track of time.
Next they have to remember to keep it simple. Start out by only doing what is required for the assignment without adding any fancy bells and whistles. This is where the majority of your points come from when the judges are calculating scores.
The final step would be to proof and polish. Once all basic requirements are met then you must test everything and it must be tested by a group member that did not design that particular portion. You can then add in extra features and show off your skills in order to impress the judges if you have any time left.
I wish you all the best and know you will make the Tampa chapter a force to be reckoned with!