June 2, 2021 Exploring A Twenty Year Career At Topcoder With Ghostar – The Topcoder Nation Show #4

Twenty years on one course is easier said than done – this could be the lifetime of thousands of species that inhabit this planet. For Justin [Ghostar], twenty years represent a career of outstanding success as a competitor and project manager. He has led and pioneered projects in the platform from the dawn of the community, as well as been involved in improving the experience of members’ lives, and advocating for the perks of remote work.

“The flexibility that I have is huge. I don’t ask for time off. When we moved from the United States to Australia, I just told Topcoder that I was moving. They didn’t have a say on that at all. That flexibility is really nice. To be able to work from anywhere, I can pull up my laptop and get things done.”

Ghostar on why he has worked on Topcoder for twenty years

Our guest is truly a legend, a titan, a reference of good behavior, talent, compromise, and vision within the community. He was the first copilot ever, and has so much to teach us about it and Topcoder overall. We are lucky to receive gems of wisdom from him. Enjoy.


These lessons, tips and advice captured my attention, they may also help you:

  • He joined in 2001, starting as a competitor and never leaving Topcoder even when he had a couple of jobs.
  • Justin carries this water-proof laptop when he works from the beach.
  • As a hobby, he runs runs marathons with Can Too (cancer research charity program)
  • Keys to succeed as a copilot: communications, proactivity, availability, and feedback.
  • He uses todoist, slack and github to successfully manage multiple challenges at a time.

Topcoder Nation Show #4 is up on Youtube. See timecaps below for a summary.


  • Starting in Topcoder twenty (20) years ago: 09:55 – 03:20
  • Quitting his job to work with Topcoder: 03:50 – 04:20
  • His career in the early days, first copilot ever: 04:28 – 04:04
  • What it is like to be a copilot: 06:34 – 08:00
  • How to succeed as a copilot: 08:02 – 10:17
  • Using the community talent to solve unique problems: 13:05 – 15:03
  • Using todoist, slack and github to successfully manage multiple challenges at a time: 15:45 – 17:31
  • Hobbies and running marathons with Can Too: 18:50 – 20:15
  • Educating himself as technology changes fast: 26:36 – 28:08
  • Learning code by doing: 28:58 – 30:00
  • Why Topcoder: 30:23 – 32:04


We held an AMA (ask me anything) with Ghostar. Curious community members asked questions for him to ponder on. Watch the video from 35:28 – 46:50 to check out the replies to questions such as:

  • Why do you still do Topcoder? 
  • Why is Phyton your favorite programming language?
  • What advice can you share for someone who wants to become an excellent copilot?
  • Has there ever been a challenging project you lead in Topcoder? Which one and why?
  • We need you to lead us, tutor us. What would be your advice for me as a mentor?
  • What can I study to become a better coder and win challenges? Any suggestions?
  • How do you see yourself in Topcoder after five years?
  • How don’t you get bored from doing the same things for so long?
  • What did you do well to get where you are?


We strive for creating the best possible experience for you in every single piece of our platform. Please help us improve the overall experience of the show if you have the time to complete this one-minute survey:

⚡️ https://forms.gle/W285dKdWgv3NPjqF8 ⚡️

Peace out.


Are you living the gig economy lifestyle at Topcoder? Want to join fellow members? Share your story, your travels, and experiences about the ultimate goal of working at Topcoder; the freedom, the flexibility, and the earnings that make it happen! Join Topcoder Nation.

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