December 23, 2019 An Interview with TCO19 QA Champion – v.t

I am very honored to have witnessed the entire TCO19 QA Finals competition process. The competition was very exciting, especially since this was the first time for the QA Finals competition in the history of TCO. I was able to have a short interview with the TCO19 QA champion Vladimir Timofejev, known as v.t in the Topcoder community.

1. Can you please tell us a little bit about your background? What career did you study?

V: I started my journey in the IT world about 10 years ago by joining a local software development company here in Riga. During 7 years of working there, I was involved in many projects – from developing complex distributed computational systems to leading the data engineering team. It helped me to build solid skills in different technologies and what is more important, I developed the skill of rapidly learning new things, which still helps me a lot.

At some point, I decided to change my life and challenge myself to work independently. And that’s why I am here with Topcoder 🙂

2. How did you learn about Topcoder and how was your first competition experience?

V: As it usually happens, I just Googled – “top freelancing platforms” or something similar.

My first competition didn’t go smoothly. The submission had many silly mistakes. But, I was surprised that everyone was trying to help me – the copilot, reviewers, even the guys that I was competing with. After that, I was pretty sure that this was the right place to stay and continue working.

3. What is your opinion on the overall TCO19 QA onsite competition experience?

V: It was great. In brief, the competition consisted of 3 phases – regression testing, bug hunt and review. The idea with the review phase, when other competitors review your bugs and you can either lose or gain points makes the competition challenging and exciting at the same time. There was intrigue till the award ceremony, no one was sure who the winner was.

4. What is your advice to new members who are entering into the QA track?

V: Try to look at Topcoder not only as a regular freelancing platform but also as a great learning platform. You will always receive feedback from the community and you can learn a lot from winning submissions. So, even if you lose, treat it as a great opportunity to learn and you will definitely succeed in the next challenges.

5. What are you planning to do with the grand prize in TCO19?

I was considering that I would travel next year, like a digital nomad. I wasn’t sure about that, but now I’ve got the grand prize 🙂 So it is a great booster when you have such a safety cushion.

6. Are you planning to qualify to the TCO20?

Of course, it is an amazing event! Sometimes, I catch myself thinking that my main goal of winning the challenge is not about the money prize, but the ticket to TCO.

7. What’s your hobby? What do you usually do in your spare time?

If you want to be successful in IT you must keep your finger on the pulse of the industry and constantly learn. To make learning more fun, I am attending hackathons all over Europe. It is a great opportunity to travel, meet new people and challenge yourself.

But I believe that it is also important to develop yourself in other (non IT related) areas, therefore I am trying to gain at least one new skill a year. I started with motorcycling, then kitesurfing – which I enjoy and will continue to improve, and the plan for the next year – to learn yacht sailing.


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