February 25, 2022 How A Self-taught Coder Crushed A Hackathon And Challenges – The Topcoder Nation Show #12

“I was broke and Topcoder changed my life” was one of the opening lines of our shining guest. Notwithstanding the depth of this statement, his journey up to this moment is likewise impressive. Deepak (sdeepakkumar) is young, talented, promising, and just exhibited his abilities by winning a Hackathon and several development challenges in such a short amount of time. 

One can summarize his journey with three distinctive traits: struggle, attitude, and learning. Deepak lives in Bishunpur, India, a small village prone to floods. Farming is the main economic activity in his area that is constantly threatened by floods. Despite the struggle, his family pushes forward and harvests through hard work to sustain their lives.

Deepak next to his grandmother and mom

He takes learning seriously. His curiosity for computers combined with his inherited attitude to carry on regardless of the struggle gives him the edge to learn at full throttle and put in all the necessary efforts to make things happen.

He didn’t attend a university or coding school, he just loved doing it to the point that he started learning on his own through online resources and videos. In the same way, he is now teaching himself Python with the aspiration of becoming a data scientist.

“Before Topcoder, I tried learning something but no one paid me for that. Now I earn money through learning in Topcoder.”

Deepak on his impression when first encountered Topcoder

After finding Topcoder, he settled into a place that provided him both education and opportunity for financial stability to help his family and village in general. He won a Hackathon, the Wix Skill Builder Challenge, and the rest is history that starts to promisingly unfold in front of us.

One remarkable takeaway of his interview was the strategy to win Hackathons. He didn’t have any experience in Wix or Velo. However, he dedicated a full day to learning about it, exploring from zero experience, then he coded the solution with the rest of the time he had available. As he puts it, “if you are zero, then you have a chance to become hero”.

In many cases, it may seem intimidating to join a competition where one doesn’t know the tech in place, yet we were witness to his dedication which led him to bring home the $5,000 for first place.

There is so much wisdom within this twenty-three (23) year old gentleman that it wouldn’t do him justice trying to write down his wit. This is a MUST-WATCH video for all community members who aspire to greatness and a path to success.

Without further ado, please enjoy the gems of wisdom he shared with us during the interview.


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

  • Deepak is fond of acting and recently played a role in “Arjun: The Warrior Prince” in his village.
  • He goes full throttle when learning, working restlessly until he gets the knowledge he needs to win challenges.
  • Deepak was shocked to find a place that paid him to learn.
  • He felt motivated to learn more English for the sake of sounding good in his interview and embracing more work opportunities.
  • He bought a fully functional laptop with the money he earned and gave away the rest to his parents as a gift.
  • Despite his short time hanging in Topcoder, community support and challenges are his favorite things, pointing out the help he has received from Jessie, Adam, Ketan, and Pena.

Topcoder Nation Show #12 is up on YouTube. See timestamps below for a summary.


  • Deepak played a fun lady character recently in a play: 03:10
  • Channeling his computer passion into a career at seventeen: 07:17
  • How he organized his self-education: 12:22
  • His favorite programming languages: 15:53
  • Earning money while learning new tech through Topcoder: 16:57
  • How he found and won a $10,000 challenge in Topcoder: 21:18
  • His reaction when finding out about his victory: 25:50
  • Lessons from his life in a flood prone village: 27:35
  • His approach to win Skill Builder Challenges: 30:55
  • Gaining his self-confidence back through his victory: 33:52
  • Community support and challenges are his favorite things about Topcoder: 36:57


We held an AMA (ask me anything) with sdeepakkumar. Curious community members asked questions for him to ponder. Watch the video from 40:40 to check out the replies to questions such as:

  • How much experience is it required to win a Hackathon like you did?
  • How do you upskill yourself fast in coding?
  • What is your strategy to win a skill builder?
  • What software tools do you use to help you win challenges?
  • What is your life goal?
  • What did you do with the money earned in the Hackathon?


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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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