If you’re new to Topcoder design and you’re a beginner as well, seeing a large number of great designers, competing, might not be motivating for you. However that should not be the case as many of us started knowing only a few things about design or just coming from another industry. We put together a couple of tips to help you go go faster through these steps:
1. Compete a lot: This will trigger the necessity to learn more concepts, to improve the user interface, to pay attention to details and do research. Once you get the taste of winning, you will want to win more and become better. You will also have to do a lot of research to reach that goal on various design terms like: color usage, typography, white space, grid, but that knowledge will add up from challenge to challenge
2. Analyze: Once you compete in challenges and submit in a final round as well, you will notice that copilots will share the winners designs at the end of a challenge. Look at those designs carefully and analyze them in detail. Think what have they done better than you and keep that in mind for the next challenge and apply it. This is critical to improve!
3. Read tutorials on various themes from different sites: UXPlanet, Smashing Magazine, Canva, Medium. Look to read articles about the user experience, user interface, time management, new design tools, latest plugins that can speed up your work. Even if you’re on the right track, the rate of innovation is so high now, that you have to keep moving in order to stay in same place.
4. Practice by copying: Check on Dribbble for a nice simple application one page design or pick one from the challenges you participated in but didn’t win (a winner’s design) and try to copy it by looking at it. It should be something simple to do – take 30 minutes or 1 hour per day. Here’s an example:
Practice daily on a different pages and you will grow a lot. Don’t use these designs in your portfolio as you’re copying to learn!
5. Find a mentor: Because a person who is a senior designer and can mentor you, will help you burn through steps faster, by pointing out mistakes on your designs that otherwise you would need to figure out by trial and error. He/She can help by giving you feedback and by sharing things from experience about the best way to do things: design, manage time, deal with losing a challenge, etc. That shared information is priceless!
6. Don’t give up – As cliché as it sounds. You will probably lose more in the beginning on Topcoder challenges, but stick with it – keep working, keep submitting and be stubborn. You will see progress if you’re hard-working and serious about being a design competitor.
7. Subscribe to our Design Newsletter: it’s about designers, competitions, tips & tricks and showcasing designs. You can subscribe on it, from your Topcoder account by going to here.
Wait no more. Check our active challenges list here and jump in!