April 9, 2018 5 Reasons Why Topcoder is Not Your Average Crowdsourcing Community

There is a lot of negativity in remote worker and freelancer groups on the internet whenever someone tries to open up a discussion about crowdsourcing. This negativity happens generally in all crowdsourcing company types, no matter the business model. I have found that many designers and coders are not happy and less interested with crowdsourcing concepts, especially the ones that are competitions.

This makes me curious – what is the reason behind this negativity? I tried to find out by reaching out several to people that gave the most rough and rude comments in these discussions, and I found the main reason is because they think the crowdsourcing model is really unfair to their members. They’ve got this insecurity  about the uncertainty in crowdsourcing world – it leaves most of the members empty handed after working so hard, there is no stable monthly income, they are treated only as an object and manipulate them, they have no respect and appreciation to the members, etc. They also think that crowdsourcing companies get a lot of profit by ‘selling’ the members but gives very little to their members.

To be honest, I cannot fully blame these guys. I understand their situation, because I’ve been there before. I’ve joined several crowdsourcing sites including the one that use competition models, bidding models, marketplace models, micro stock models, etc. And most of the time in my experience, I saw their comments above very relevant and true, until I met Topcoder.

A little bit regarding Topcoder before we continue with the topic… Topcoder, so far, has distributed millions to their members since the company has been established with no sign that it will stop in near future. This number is a good indicator that you can rely on this company for an additional source of income or if you want to make it as your main income source. As long you’ve got the skills and determination, you probably can earn  $1k-$10k per month (maybe more) from Topcoder. In Indonesia, where I live now, $1k per month is more than enough for your monthly expense. So, if we’re talking about the potential income source from Topcoder and whether they can afford to pay you for your hard work, you don’t need to worry about it.

Okay, back to the topic, so Topcoder is reliable and very potential for your income source, but this is just the same thing with other crowdsourcing sites. What makes Topcoder different? In Topcoder, it’s not just about the profit and client satisfaction – it’s also about the community! Sounds cliche? Yeah it’s cliche, but real.
So, let’s get started! Here are 5 top reasons why Topcoder wins against other crowdsourcing sites:

1# More Prize Slots for the Members

It is common in crowdsourcing models that for each project or challenge, only the winner receives the prize. But that’s not the case at Topcoder. Most of Topcoder challenges not only offer more than one prize slot, but can be two or more prizes slot plus some bonuses. For example, in design challenges, there are 8 prize slots usually available in each challenge (5 checkpoints + 3 main prizes), and sometimes it can increase to 13-15 prize slots for RUX or LUX (8 rolling checkpoint + 5-8 main prizes) types of challenges. For the development track, usually there are 2 main prize slots and in some particular dev track like UI prototype, there is a reliability bonus on it. This means, not only the best that will receive the prizes, you might be able to get one too.

2# Lot of Community Positions for the Members

Topcoder heavily depends on the community to get things done which means lot of things depends on us, the community. You can get some cash not just by competing, but also by doing some community work at Topcoder. Lots of position are available here, from spec reviewer, code reviewer, design screener, design copilot, developer copilot, data science copilot, etc. These positions offer some cash for doing community work. However, you must first convince Topcoder with your skills and loyalty plus you need to prove that you are trustworthy before able to claim these positions.

3# Local and International Member Meetups

If you not yet aware of it, 12 top members in Topcoder from each track usually will receive free trip to the USA every year to attend Topcoder Onsite (TCO) Final and meet admins, stakeholders, and sponsors while competing for BIG cash prizes. I attended TCO13 in Washington and TCO17 in Buffalo, and really loved the experience! This shows me how Topcoder really appreciates their members. And for those that are unable to attend the TCO final, Topcoder also holds a TCO Regional event in several countries where Topcoder admins will visit and hold a meeting to see Topcoder members in that area. The most interesting part is, you can request your country to hold the TCO Regional, how cool is that? Just send email to our TCO Queen jmpld40 (Jessie) for this and see how her magic works, and voila, a TCO Regional will be available in your country (make sure there are enough members to join the meetup!)

4# Instant Portfolio & Recommendation Letter

One of the most annoying things when apply for a job in my country is you need to have experience to apply for a job. That’s annoying, especially if you’ve just start your working career or just graduated from school or university. However, if you are a Topcoder member, these kind of issues should not bother you at all. You can use your competing experience as a portofolio. And you also can request a recommendation letter from our admin Nick Castillo as proof for these competition experiences. You can use it when applying for a job in your area (if you still interested to work for a company rather than Topcoder, but really?).

5# Study and Experience Real World Problems 

Registering and joining Topcoder challenge is really easy! just click the register button, agree to the terms and conditions and you are in! When others need to apply and get interviewed for an internship position at one particular company to experience the real world problem that the company trying to solve, you can experience a lot of real world problems from top international companies. Plus you can try to solve them by competing in Topcoder challenges! All that can be done just by using several clicks from your computer. The problem is real, and you can study it from the challenge spec, and if you don’t win, you will be able to see how the experts solved the problem (just make sure to submit)!

There might be others reasons but these are my top five as to why Topcoder is the best compared to other crowdsourcing sites. As always, have a great day, don’t forget to get your coffee today and enjoy a Topcoder challenge for this week!


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