What You Need to Know About the 2018 Topcoder Open

The Topcoder Open (TCO) is Topcoder’s annual online and on-site tournament. It celebrates our global talent network and showcases the highest-ranking designers, developers, and data scientists on our platform. Every year, members of the community compete in qualifying crowdsourcing challenges (be they design, coding, algorithmic…) for a chance to go head to head with fellow winners at the live, in-person TCO Finals. And this year, the TCO18 Finals will be held November 13-16 at the world’s most famous ranch: the Southfork Ranch in Dallas, Texas.

TCO has a long, storied history — and we’re inviting you to be part of its future. But first, here’s a look back at past TCOs.

TCO through the ages

Back in 2001, the very first TCO was held in Mashantucket, Connecticut. There were just 16 finalists from two countries and one champion. Since then, TCO has gone on to places such as Santa Clara, Las Vegas, Orlando, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, and San Francisco, and grown exponentially. And every year, TCO has smaller regional events around the world leading up to the TCO Finals. We’ve held regional TCO events in Indonesia, Russia, China, and India — to name a few. What began with only one competition track (algorithm), has evolved into a much larger event featuring several competition tracks for members:

  • Algorithm — a timed contest where all contestants compete online and are given the same problems to solve under the same time constraints.
  • Development — includes the following tracks: Code, Assembly, and Architecture.
  • First2Finish — competitors perform small fixes to challenge results or actually fix bugs.
  • Marathon — offers a longer timeline, wherein competitors iterate and improve their solutions against open-ended problems that have no one right answer.
  • UI Design — focuses on design concepts, mobile, web and application design.
  • UI Prototype — focuses on HTML/CSS & JavaScript user interface challenges.

Last year’s TCO, held in Buffalo, New York, featured a Topcoder-themed Niagara Falls light show, visits from the mayor of Buffalo and the Lieutenant Governor of New York, and last but not least, a chicken wing challenge. (See what we did there?) At TCO17, 61 finalists from 30 countries competed for $60,000 in total prizes, and six champions walked away victorious.

The competitions themselves are nerve-racking and unique — ranging from mobile, web, and app design to bug fixes and beyond — but it’s the in-person networking that’s equally valuable to our members. It’s time spent with competitors, yes, but also like-minded technologists using their expertise and creativity to solve difficult real-world problems. And because it’s a popular event among talented developers and designers, innovative companies travel to see our members compete in real time and learn more about what goes into crowdsourcing challenges. We’ve had clients, sponsors, and speakers from NASA, IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton, M&T Bank, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Google, and elsewhere in recent years.

Looking forward to the TCO18 Finals in Dallas, Texas

Competitive programming and design competitions are still on the rise. But in addition to networking, camaraderie, and testing technical skills, TCO is also a place where companies can scout for top talent. Members have gone on to work for companies such as GE, Google, Facebook, and SpaceX. But part of what keeps Topcoder unique (and keeps members coming back day after day) is the variety of projects available to members. They can do different work for different companies, earn money, and access resources to help stretch their skills every day.

Now we’re looking ahead — for sponsors for the TCO18 Finals in Dallas this November. There are three sponsorship types to consider: detailed here. It’s an opportunity to raise brand awareness, have recruiting access, and raise brand awareness. And as an important added benefit, our most popular sponsorship packages include a speaking slot at the Wipro Innovation Summit, a half-day event in Dallas on November 16th (set against the backdrop of TCO). The Innovation Summit brings together industry thought leaders and executives to discuss emerging technologies, digital transformation, and the gig economy at large. Between industry-leading speakers and the live competition, there’s nothing like TCO or the Innovation Summit… and we hope you’ll join us there.

Want to sponsor TCO18? Reach out to Jessie D’Amato Ford at jessie@topcoder.com for more details.