Tech-savvy high school student makes his mark at Adobe

Non-techies, take note: the International Olympiad in Informatics–one of the world’s largest computer science competitions–was held in Italy at the end of September.  The Romanian team returned with four medals: three gold and one bronze. One of the gold winners included our own Adrian B., an Adobe intern on our WebKit team.

We met Adrian a few months ago, when we were recruiting for our summer internships. After three months of work at Adobe, the team liked him so much that they asked Adrian to continue working with them in a part-time capacity.  Although only a high school student at the time, Adrian amazed us. Besides being a smart teenager capable of reigning in gold medals in informatics, Adrian is completely in tune about what’s happening in the IT space and with software development.

“Adrian joined Adobe Romania in early July as an intern,” says Stefan C., his manager. “His project this summer involved integrating Google Chromium in Adobe Edge Animated Web Inspector interface based on a theme with many, very large unknowns related to software components (on the order of millions of lines of code) that Adrian completed successfully. For a student in his first year of study, Adrian is well-documented and, most importantly, has a keen interest in learning. Intelligent, candid, cheerful and involved, Adrian is a colleague with whom I enjoy working with.”

Curious to tap into the secret of Adrian’s success, we sat down with him for a short interview. 

Life@Adobe: How did you start participating in the Olympiads?
Adrian: I  started this when I was just a kid, by taking part in some math contests. In fifth grade, a teacher taught me Informatics. I liked the field of informatics from the moment I was introduced to it. But in that year, I didn’t win anything while competing. I got zero points when competing at the national level and the next year, again nothing. So it didn’t seem too promising at the time. (Laughs)

L@A: What happened from there to here?
A: In eighth grade I got a mention but I still wanted more than that. In eleventh grade I was lucky and got the second prize at the National Olympiads. But I did not qualify for the International phase. So that summer, with a little ambition, I made a plan: to work 200  problems all summer. I did that and next year I came first in all contests, including the National one.

L@A: How long does an info problem take to solve?
A: Some can be easy and take 15 minutes but I’ve solved some that took me five hours. And yes, some can take up to a week.

L@A: What was the longest problem that you’ve ever taken on?
A: I’ve worked on a problem for three months.

L@A: And you managed to solve it?
A: Yes. I worked on it because I wanted to solve it a little better than they knew it could be done. And I did it … after 3 months. (Laughs)

L@A: Out of curiosity, did the Adobe internship help you in any way for the Olympiads?
A: Yes, it helped me to keep myself together. The issue with these competitions is that after two to three hours, you can lose your temper. My experience this summer with Adobe made what I do in these contests seem easier. It was much easier to keep my composure at an international level, and that saved me! Before the internship, it was easier to lose my temper. It takes much more to annoy me now. (Laughs)

L@A: To be a gold medalist, must one be a “geek”?
A: This year I’ve haven’t really studied. I took advantage of my last year in high school, so I learned PHP and other technical languages.

L@A: What do you think is next for you?
A: I do not know the answer to that yet, but I cannot wait to see what it’s like to be a college student. I want to see how it is the United States, hopefully through an internship. I will also be in Russia for an upcoming final competition in St. Petersburg. At this point in my life, I prefer to know who I’ll be with, not where I’m going. That matters more to me.

We certainly look forward to Adrian’s return to Adobe. 

For those of you who are interested in internship opportunities, visit www.adobe.com/careers.