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Guest Blog: My topcoder Journey

By guestblogger In Community Stories

Posted December 9th, 2013

@timhicks24 – Tim Hicks

Late last week I was scrolling though the TopCoder Twitter feed and stumbled across a tweet from Oscar Bralo that really made my day. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again; “I love it when members say TopCoder/CloudSpokes experience, helped them get a job”. It is easily one of the coolest, and most gratifying parts of being the community manager here. I immediately sent Oscar a message, asking him if he would share his story with the community as a guest blog. He happily agreed and the rest is history.

So, without further ado, please check out Oscar’s awesome blog below. And if you haven’t already, head over to Twitter to congratulate him on his new job.

My TopCoder Journey

First of all, I would like to thank all the people who have made this possible. People that I have met through TopCoder, over the blog, etc… You have all helped me. Answering lots of questions and of course teaching me. Now, I have a lot of TopCoder friends, and to all of them, THANK YOU! You don’t know how much I appreciate all the support to make this post even possible.

For me it´s really hard to explain what I have felt these past two years, but I will try. If you saw me two years ago, and who I am right now, you wouldn’t believe how many changes I’ve been through.

My name is Oscar Bralo, I am 28 years old and I live in Madrid, Spain. And maybe you are asking, who is this guy? Why is he appearing in the guest blog? (Well, I don’t know either, hehe.) If you see my rating, you will think that I suck! And you’re right, haha, I do. But the rating is only a number for me. What really matters to me, is the motivation and passion for what I do, for what I love. And maybe it’s the reason why I am here today.

I am not all that special of a programmer. And if you are reading this maybe thinking that you will find some kind of genius or something, you won’t. I am only a normal guy. One of those that you have met in your life with no formal studies, no degree, and no math or computer science background, but with passion and love for what he does. In my case, programming is my life. My story starts a year and a half ago when I discovered programming, and “ends” this December. Well, not really ends because now, is when it truly just begins! And only one and a half year later, I have gotten a job as .NET Software Developer!

It has been a tough way. I am self-learner, and I have been combining a full time job (with nothing related about programming) with my hobby and passion, TopCoder. I’ve been studying and learning every single day. When TopCoder appeared in my life a year and a half ago, it was inspiring to me. At first, it was really hard to start, but thanks to the great people I met in the TopCoder Arena, it became much easier. Since then, I have been practicing, day and night, doing online courses about C#, algorithms, C++, data structures, competing in a lot of contests, etc. All to preparing myself to find a job.

I have created my own competitive programming blog more or less 8 months ago, where I post every problem that I solve trying to explain how I did it. TopCoder has helped me a lot! On twitter, doing RT´s of my problems, and sharing a tutorial that I wrote about “How to begin in TopCoder” to help the new people to get an easy start. (I hope that it helps!) Right now, I am having over 2000 visits/month. And I want to thank all of you who have read the blog and continue supporting me every day.

I only want to say one last thing, and maybe this is the most important. Forget about what people think about you. Forget about what people tell that you can´t do. If you do what you love, with passion and hard work, you can do whatever you want. As I said, I’m not special, I am here only to tell you that you can do it if you follow your dreams and fight for them.

Find what you love, and keep doing it the rest of your life!

Happy coding!