Q&A: Marcus Orciuch (10)

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Charles DeVries

Q: How often are BPA Meetings, and what are the requirements to join?

A: BPA meetings are quite infrequent and are usually only used to inform members about the BPA program, rather than preparing them for the contests. Preparations for contests should be done either in your corresponding class or at home. The requirements to join are knowledge on a subject offered as a competition and a rather small fee.

Q: What happens at a BPA meeting?

A: At BPA meetings, our director Mr. Iwema updates us on information pertaining to the program or changes to contests. Sometimes, people competing in the same contest will come in and work together to help prepare for the contests.

Q: When did you start programming?

A: I started programming somewhere in middle school, starting with web design and a little bit of Java, but was not really serious about it until freshman year, when I picked up Visual Basic as one of my first fluent languages. Today, I know several different languages thanks to our generous Computer Science courses at LC.

Q: What is a programming language?

A: A programming language can be compared to a foreign language. If you’re taking a Spanish class, you learn phrases and commands that allow you to communicate to another Spanish speaker. The same applies with a programming language. You would write several phrases and keywords into a file and the computer would understand what you are commanding it to do, which then gives you a working program. In addition to knowing the “foreign language,” you would also incorporate math and logic in order to create more complex programs.

Q: What different competition categories where there in BPA?

A: The different competition categories in BPA extend from Media Production, such as Graphics Design and Video Production, to Business Concepts, such as Marketing and Accounting, and to Programming Languages, such as Database Programming and Application Programming. Also, there are some competitions in BPA where you compete as a team.

Q: Did you go to nationals?

A: Yes I did go to nationals, I participated in the Visual Basic programming competition.

Q: What did you have to do at the competition?

A: My competition for last year was Visual Basic, in which I placed 5th in the nation. Basically, for most programming languages, the proctors would give out a prompt that gave all details and aspects of how your program should be made, basically the rubric. You would have an hour and 30 minutes to fully complete the program, including testing the program. Contestants are scored based on how many points they get based on details that they included in the program. If there is ever a tie, time will be factored in.Q: Were you proud of how highly you placed?

A: At first, I was disappointed my position, thinking that I could have done better, which I certainly could have. But, after I realized the magnitude of the award, I began to feel proud to get 5th place as a freshman. However, in the future, I am aiming to get 1st in my competitions.

Q: What do you believe is the most rewarding part of being “fluent” in a programming language?

A: I feel like the most rewarding part of being fluent in a programming language is being able to help other people who are struggling with programming in that language. Whenever I can, I’ll always try to help with a piece of code, whether it’s online or in class.

Q: Do you believe having programming skills and placing so highly nationally will give you an advantage over others looking to go into programming related jobs?

A: Yes, I do believe that having programming skills and placing highly nationally will give you an edge over others looking to go into programming related jobs. Nowadays, computer science jobs are in high demand in order to satisfy the new technology and markets for software. Being a highly paid job, one must have several qualifications in order to get hired. At the same time, there are many people, especially foreigners (cough cough asians) who train all their lives to build resumes and pass standardized tests in order to be admitted into a prestigious school, which is a great step to a computer science position. Like others have said, BPA is a great resume builder, especially if you place in nationals all four of your years for events, and not just for people into computer science.