Golden boy makes comeback in global informatics competition

September, 25/2022 - 08:07
Nguyễn Duy Phong was eliminated in the National Office Informatics Competition five years ago. However, he has just become the new world champion in the Microsoft Excel 365 Apps & 2019 category at the World Office Informatics Competition 2022 in the US. Thanh Nga chats with him
Nguyễn Duy Phong has just become the new world champion in the Microsoft Excel 365 Apps & 2019 category at the World Office Informatics Competition 2022 in the US. — Photo courtesy of Nguyễn Duy Phong

Inner sanctum: Congratulations on your gold medal at the World Office Informatics Competition in the US. How does it feel?

I am delighted that I have made a significant contribution to the Vietnamese team. I am happy that my efforts have paid off, but I am also surprised because I did not believe I would have such a high prize.

Inner sanctum: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I'm Nguyễn Duy Phong, a native of Hòa Bình Province. I'm a second-year student at the Hà Nội University of Science and Technology.

Inner sanctum: Tell me a little bit about the championship. How will this competition help you in your future studies and work?

It is the world's largest office computing competition for students aged 13 to 22, organised by Certiport Corporation in the US. The contest aims to find and honour the skills of using Microsoft Office in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

2022 is the 20th year of this competition. This year, the event was held in the US in late July with more than 100 contestants from more than 40 countries and territories, competing in six categories: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint 2016, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 365 Apps & 2019.

I won the gold medal in Microsoft Excel 365 Apps and Office 2019. Along with my gold medal, the Vietnamese delegation also won one gold, one silver, and one bronze. This impressive achievement brought Việt Nam to the top position at the event for the first time in 13 years of competing.

Before coming to the event, I was a free contestant. I had to go through harsh national qualifiers and earned the right to participate in the national finals and won the first prize. With this result, I represented Team Việt Nam in competing in the Microsoft Excel 365 Apps & 2019 at the world championship.

This competition helps me assert my ability to use office informatics, and learn how to apply it to real situations, which will be an advantage in the future.

Nguyễn Duy Phong wins a gold medal at the World Office Informatics Competition 2022 in the US. — Photo courtesy of Nguyễn Duy Phong

Inner sanctum: Did you have any difficulty in this event?

As a free candidate, I was not trained in teams or schools, so I had to self-study online, so my knowledge was not systematic compared to other students. Before the day I left for the US, my teacher taught me five sessions, each took three hours, to prepare for the event.

I had only a short time to prepare, so I had to quickly complete the visa procedures to go to the US and study hard for the exam. In addition, I also had a bit of financial difficulty because of the many expenses. I had to take care of myself, but my family supported me very much.

Inner sanctum: How did your passion for computer science arise?

I've been interested in informatics since I learned it in secondary school.

In the seventh grade, I knew about this world championship, but at that time, I had no opportunity to enter. At the beginning of the 10th grade, when I was still a student at the Hoàng Văn Thụ High School in Hòa Bình, I took part in an office informatics competition, but I was eliminated in the national qualifier.

I'm proficient in both Excel and PowerPoint. Initially, I pursued PowerPoint but chose Excel to challenge myself in a difficult subject. In 2020, I won the second prize in the national championship in Excel 2016 category. Last year I also took the second prize in PowerPoint 2016 category at the national level.

My way of learning is not to memorise constantly, but I practise a lot to develop reflexes. With difficult problems, I will analyse and divide problems, solve each small part and then put it together.

Nguyễn Duy Phong (3rd left) and the winners of the World Office Informatics Competition 2022 in the US. — Photo courtesy of Nguyễn Duy Phong

Inner sanctum: Do you have any plans after this competition?

After the competition, I plan to use the prize money of US$7,000 to invest in my studies and also consider working part-time to support my family.

I spent part of the money to buy a new computer, instead of the old one I bought in 10th grade. It had accompanied me through three rounds of national competition and the world final. It was too slow.

I also want the world championship to spread to more friends because it is a very interesting competition.

Inner sanctum: What do you want to do after graduating from the Hà Nội University of Science and Technology?

I wish to have a career related to my field of study, for example, being a software engineer. VNS

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