August 13, 2020 Gig Work Interview with starck181995

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, what is your area of expertise, what is your background?
Hi, I’m Surya Prakash Singh, aka starck, from Prayagraj, a city in the North India region. I completed my Computer Science Engineering bachelor degree last year (June 2019) and have been working as a UI/UX Designer at Topcoder since March 2018. Apart from designing I also have a rich experience in Software Development and System Programming (IOT stuff) and have done various projects and won many competitions at the college level. My expertise now is in UX Design due to intense competition at Topcoder in the last couple of years which has polished my skills in all possible ways.

Why did you want to join a gig through Topcoder and tell us about the gig you did or are currently working on.
I love to explore new stuff and opportunities. I wanted to experience how big companies design and make decisions which impact the experience of the user. So, curiosity to learn the internal stuff and good payment structure drove me in. We are a team working on some very important business solutions which will have a big impact on the users and employee’s daily operations.

The problems are discussed several times via many design ideations and in meetings for the feasibility and its implementations.

What was the process like from applying for the gig to getting it? Did your Topcoder experience help you land the gig or did the company have to interview you as well?
I think the process was pretty smooth and clear from the Topcoder side. Nothing unique, I just submitted a proper updated resume listing all my recent big projects and applied through Topcoder’s Gig Work portal. Then the Topcoder team reached out to me after a month or so when there was an opportunity with all the necessary details. The Topcoder profile definitely helped me get the gig since we compete on Topcoder at a world level and it pretty much tells everything about your skills and experience. I planned to have an interview but luckily, when the client saw my resume and projects they agreed to hire me without the interview. But there was a casual and awesome introduction the client and I had regarding my skills, experience and other basic stuff along with the info of what they do.

Did your Topcoder competition  experience help you handle your new gig more easily? (For example some members say speed of execution inherited from TC is a thing their employers value.)
100% it did, no doubt about it. I’m way faster then the client expects me to be. The competitions teach you a lot of things. A team at a company works only on small parts of the software at a time so it becomes even more easier and manageable.

How was the communication with the other team members from the customer? Did you integrate well? 
It was awesome. I expected it to be boring stuff, lol (due to a job stereotype we have), but they are professional, understand work ethics and are always open to thoughts and ideas around the work. We all brainstorm together, discuss things and then execute it in later stages.

How is working on Gig Work versus Topcoder? Which one do you enjoy the most?
Both are unique and great in their own aspects. Working on Gig Work is a bit easier I would say since we work on one part of software at a time instead of everything at once. But competing makes you efficient and skilled (and helps you push more).

P.S: It’s just my personal experience so far, some clients in Gig Work may keep you busy for all the working hours with loads of work, so I can’t generalize it for sure.

What is the thing you liked the most about this gig work? What is the thing you liked the least?
The best part is the working hours, it’s not strict as of now, I’ve to finish the stuff assigned and then I’m free. I don’t have to just keep sitting and wasting my time not doing anything. And this gives me room for competing on Topcoder also, I love it. The only thing I don’t like is attending so many meetings 😛 (but it’s important).

Did your developer experience help you gain that position as designer?
In this gig I don’t think so, I had some dev stuff in the resume but they didn’t ask me anything about that in the interview/introduction. But, I would say it is important to have dev experience or understanding since it will reflect your skill around the real implementations of the designs. (A design that can’t be implemented or is hypothetical is not what companies usually want.)

Was your earning rate better than competing ?
On average it is the same (for me, may vary for others, I guess) but gig work is a safe income and in addition I’m also competing, which is great.

Did you learn any additional technologies / tools compared to what you already knew?
I didn’t learn anything new, I had my resume focused only on UX stuff with some of the small extra dev stuff to just show that I know how things work in the real world.

Would you recommend Topcoder Gig Work to other members or freelancers?
100% yes. There can’t be any better and safer option than this.

Did you have all the requirements for the job? If not, tell us how to get hired even if we don’t have all the asked job requirements.
I had all the skills they had in the job requirements. But in case you don’t have one then I would say please build it if you can. It will certainly help, knowledge is never wasted. I have skills in several fields like dev, design, programming etc. But I applied only for design because I love it.

P.S: If you can’t build the skills in the job requirements then make sure you at least have the primary skills mentioned and also have a strong showcase of your work so they are impressed with that (this will be possible only when you reach the interview process, though).

Is the time zone difference a problem for you and the client to work together?
It depends on personal preference I think, I haven’t faced any issues so far. Also if the client only cares about the great work and its completion then I don’t think time zone differences will matter.


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