Design, Development, & Data Science
The Spirit Of Competition
The [topcoder] community brings many of the world’s best talent together in one place to compete, collaborate and learn from one another. While competition is core to everything we do, its our collaborative community atmosphere that makes [topcoder] special. We compete together to make us all better practitioners of the technology we love.
The [topcoder] Way
[topcoder] has three “tracks” of competition: Design, Development and Data Science. Within these tracks, competitors work on real-world challenges and solve problems for our Global 2000 customers. Real world complex systems are broken into a variety of competitions letting our [topcoder]s work on the areas they know best like graphic design, prototyping, architecting solutions, algorithms or developing code.
In addition, we have regular competitions known as Single Round Matches (SRMs) which are for fun and test your skills in various categories of data science and programming (dynamic programming, machine learning, etc.)
While our competitors are racing toward the winner’s circle, they are also befriending, mentoring and encouraging each other. [topcoder] fosters a sense of real community where friendly rivalries are the order of the day. It is not uncommon to see [topcoder]s from all over the world competing on the same challenges giving tips to their fellow competitors in our discussion forums.
At [topcoder] peer review is more than just an excellent quality control (although it definitely serves that purpose). Just like a manufacturing inspector puts each product through the ringer, our review board makes sure we are producing high quality output by individually inspecting every submission. Both our reviewers and submitters learn from the peer review process through lively discussions and feedback mechanisms which leads to higher quality output and improved skills.
Results and Ratings
Just like chess and other competitor versus competitor games, [topcoder] has developed our own rating system based on an Elo rating. The Development and Data Science tracks rate competitors on their solutions and on reliability. If you’d like to dive more in depth into the mathematical formulas, check out the help center or if you’d like an easier to understand article about how the algorithm rating works and why it changes, read bmerry‘s great article.
All challenge tracks also reward competitors with merit badges and other distinctions. The ratings also provide a better metric by which to measure your improvement over time. Practice always makes perfect!
In addition to our daily challenges, [topcoder] holds a unique and inspiring yearly onsite tournament called the [topcoder] Open. The TCO14 offers over $300,000 in cash prizes and all-expense paid trips to the onsite finals hosted at Pier 48 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California from November 16th – 19th, 2014! Our monthly “Digital Run” rewards our top performers in Design and Development.