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Coding tournaments by Kieran (IT-Software Developer)

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My name is Kieran Hewitson and I started at AO as a software developer in June 2015. Since then I’ve been promoted to software development team leader for Google and Bing integrations. This is all thanks to support from my manager, surrounding team and our talent development specialist.

Here at AO, we think it’s really important that our employees enjoy the work they do. So, this summer I decided to create a coding tournament. For a while, we’ve been running “Code Dojos” as part of an initiative to improve employee engagement and develop our coding skills, and it’s this that inspired me to run this internal competition.

Rock, Paper, Scissors is a game that’s known and loved by all. But, we decided to take this game to the next level by introducing a couple of additional moves, and making it super-competitive. The amazing department heads gave me the time to develop 2 applications to run the tournament; a web site for employees to sign up and upload their code, and a server to run the competition.

Throughout the course of the tournament, there were over 2 billion moves made by the team in an attempt to dominate the department. On the work floor I could hear people talking excitedly about strategies, ranging from sequenced moves, to trying to predict your opponent’s actions. There was even someone who employed a “baiting” strategy in hope that their opponent was going to attempt to predict their next move. These conversations sparked a lot of interest and built a lot of new friendships within the department.

Perhaps the most surprising thing I noticed was the diversity of disciplines that got involved and wrote code to compete. We saw entries from business analysts, test engineers, infrastructure support, software developers and mobile developers. It really did bring people together.

This story is a perfect example of the opportunities you get here at AO. We work hard and play hard, and we’re given the support we need to truly develop our careers.