February 14, 2021 2021 State of the Community Message from CEO Mike Morris

2020 was quite a year. Not only did we celebrate 20 years of Topcoder, but I’m proud that Topcoder was able to provide a light for so many when things were dark. One of Topcoder’s biggest priorities was to keep the community engaged, growing, and returning to a reliable, opportunistic place while you were confined at home. Topcoder made it a mission to listen more, reach out more, be more available to talk, and most importantly make sure you had a platform to upskill and learn, earn and experience more.

When I last addressed the community we had a set of plans for the future. While unforeseen global changes caused us to make some adjustments, we always did so with our members at heart. 

Some Community Wins at Topcoder in 2020

  • Recommended challenges and Thrive articles
  • Notifications
  • New community site design
  • Additional security and proof of identity
  • Automated testing challenges
  • Better member communications all around
  • Learning challenge series

The Topcoder Open That Was

We excitedly announced Uprisor and the 2020 Topcoder Open in Seattle, but we had to completely rethink our plans. It was quite possible this would be the first year without a TCO.  Due to our passion, dedication and flexibility, we never quit. TCO20 had to accommodate the reality of the novel times. We successfully hosted six regional events and a virtual TCO we were extremely proud-of. This could not have been possible without the amazing support of our community. You showed up and took part, and for that we thank you. Our virtual events were definitely a bright spot and we look forward to being back in person as soon as we’re able.

Endless Learning Opportunities

We launched two new challenge types: Topcoder Skill Builder Competitions and Rapid Development Matches (RDMs). Both aimed to not only get you out of your comfort zone, but provide a way to challenge yourself to learn. 2020 brought nine Topcoder Skill Builder competitions with Appium, Angular, React, Salesforce.com, ServiceNow, and many others. 

New opportunities came about with partnerships such as Wix, Headspin University, AlefEdge, and Adobe Document Cloud as well as opportunities to get certified with Mulesoft. This is only the beginning and we look forward to pushing the envelope in 2021.

Finally, content galore! The community added more than 1,000 articles to THRIVE, our educational content home. Not only do you have the means to learn here but you’re helping others advance their skills as well. 

Topcoder also produced 40 webinars with almost 300,000 impressions. Thanks to all the members, staff, and guests who contributed — we look forward to keeping them going.

Then, There Was Gig Work

If ever there was a better year to put a spotlight on “gig work” with Topcoder, 2020 was it! We’ve been using that term since 2003, unofficially. With the addition of even more gig work this past year, we have provided community members with the ability to experience a full-time job without the full-time job commitment. We are glowing from the positive testimonials coming in from customers about our gig work community and are also so grateful that you are taking a chance on yourselves and engaging with these prospects. 

We’ve had more than 1,300 gigs come through the door at Topcoder and look forward to getting even more for you for 2021. I think it’s safe to say that this kind of short term stability in work is especially important in these times.

In November and December, member payments hit record numbers and that trend continues to grow. Gig workers can earn more than $3,000 a week. Definitely check out our gig listings and see how it can improve your personal and professional life.

Still Delivering For Our Customers

We saw unprecedented growth in our customers’ use of the community. While some of this is due to our virtual requirement, all of this growth is because of the amazing talent in the Topcoder community.  

We worked on projects spanning the development of algorithms to predict weather, to the next generation banking applications to tele-medicine mobile applications and next generation technology solutions. I watch the projects on Topcoder daily and am continuously amazed at their complexity, as well as the talent of the community that solves them. 

Our First-Ever Topcoder Documentary

One of 2020’s highlights was the world-premiere of our first-ever Topcoder documentary. It was a joy to bring together the community and our customers from around the globe to tune in together for a watch party that followed five community members on their Topcoder journey. The video was made possible by the involvement of our marketing team, community team, and our unwavering partner Wipro. It was a spectacular display of passion and hard work. Thanks to all those who helped etch this Topcoder story into history.

2021 Plans

Building on what we learned from 2020, a goal for 2021 is to keep unprecedented opportunities rolling your way.

  • New and renewed partnerships with AlefEdge, Adobe Document Cloud, Mulesoft, Headspin University, and others to allow you to learn new tech, get certified, and earn money with your new skills.
  • More educational resources to help you be successful in one of our freelance gigs or as a full-time Topcoder member.
  • This Week at Topcoder chats with the community team every Monday at 10:00 UTC-5. Kick-off each week with the latest at Topcoder and talk to us face to face for help, the latest challenge information, networking, or to just say “Hello”.
  • Topcoder Beta Testers group to gain access to the latest features of the Topcoder platform and help us lead new ways in testing experiences.
  • Topcoder Rapid Development Matches (RDMs) — we are so excited about RDMs, as we see them as our next arena type competition. RDM’s are focused on making you practice and get better at web/mobile development languages, technologies, libraries and frameworks.
  • New Topcoder Skill Builder challenges where you can ramp up on new technologies, get verified skills added to your profile, practice for RDM’s and help you get a gig 
  • More Rookie SRMs for newbies to get motivated for competitive programming. 
  • More THRIVE articles for you to digest.
  • New webinars with field experts and professional speakers looking to help you advance your careers, your skills, and your personal brand.

Topcoder is driving its business to scale and forging ahead even stronger toward our year end in April. This means more opportunities for Topcoder, our customers, and our community. We see Gig Work as a tangible way to drive value, opportunities and member experiences that make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. We will always push the envelope on innovation in the work that we do and in the Topcoder challenge model, as well. The objective is to make it even easier for customers, copilots, and clients to move more work through to the platform. Our ability to improve the Topcoder Platform and give our customers access to our coveted community is our duty at Topcoder. As always, we look to you for ideas, innovations, and suggestions to improve the Topcoder ecosystem. 

TCO21 Plans

We are excited for the 2021 Topcoder Open and look forward to soon sharing news about the events. Know that we’ll do our very best to host a physically live TCO, if global parameters allow. We are also planning to implement a hybrid approach to regional events — the ability to go in person if you’re able, or remain virtual for those unable. Stay tuned! We’re In This Together

I hope Topcoder continues to be a place for you to learn, earn, and grow. I hope that each day brings a new opportunity for networking and socialization.I hope to see many of you join the weekly This Week at Topcoder chats on Mondays and the most of what we are trying to do for you here at Topcoder. Your engagement fuels the fire!

Being bold and ambitious is important, we have to start with confidence in ourselves… everything else comes second.

Mike Morris



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