Akinwale is a veteran Topcoder member who is a powerhouse in the F2F track. He has been programming since he was 4 years old and, with a decade of experience on Topcoder, the advice he gives for aspiring competitors is well worth paying attention to. This interview should be interesting reading for any F2F competitors.
1. Please tell me a few things about you and the beautiful country you live in.
I have been using computers since I was 4 years old and I’ve always loved solving problems, which is why I initially got into programming. My country, Nigeria is usually warm which is quite nice, although it does get very hot sometimes. We just celebrated our Independence Day on the 1st of October.
2. F2F is a track that has it’s own challenges and strategies. What would you advise competitors to do and what would you advise them to avoid doing in this track?
It’s always a good idea to start as soon as the challenges are posted. In addition to the #dev-challenges Slack channel where new challenges are announced as they are posted, I also have an RSS subscription with email alerts just so I can get notifications as quickly as possible!
It also helps to try to get familiar with some of the code and assembly challenges, since the non-design F2F challenges are usually created based on fixes required in solutions submitted for the other tracks.
3. What is your Topcoder story? What encouraged you to join and compete on this platform?
I initially found out about Topcoder during the Google Code Jam which was powered by Topcoder, but I didn’t really pay much attention to it until I found a forum post pointing me to the development and assembly tracks with the prize amounts which were very enticing at the time.
4. What do you like about Topcoder and what would you change?
I like that I am able to keep learning new technologies to be able to compete, and that the guidelines have made me become a better developer over the years. The one thing I would change is to make the amount of time it takes to get paid after a challenge is completed shorter.
5. What would you tell a friend of yours who has no idea about Topcoder to convince him to join the site?
It’s a great way to sharpen your coding skills and earn some cool prizes while you’re at it.
Watch Akinwale live explaining how to register and submit in a code challenge, what to ask and not to ask in forums and many more about code track.
This article is part of the 5 Weeks to Learn Topcoder educational series. Want to learn more? Check out the entire series and all the helpful content here.