October 5, 2017 Interview with the TCO17 F2F Finalists
F2F is an exciting, stressful, winner-takes-all, competition. Competitors here like living on the edge. This interview with some of the F2F TCO17 winners shows us how they think about participating in this track.
1. What was your secret to getting the ticket for the TCO17 finals?
To make sure I got the TCO ticket in 2nd quarter F2F track, I had to try submitting in every TCO eligible challenge launched in 2nd quarter without considering the prize. F2Fs are the shortcut to get TCO ticket as there are lesser challenges now. Sometimes if you are lucky, you can just get the ticket by winning a single challenge.
I recognized some opportunities having big rewards in TCO points, and I competed to finish them, even if sometimes it looked that the scope was oversized. It was a project/challenge that no one took for several days, I decided to participate and submit a solution. After several rounds of reviews, it brought me a seat in the finals.
There’s not really a secret, I’m competing in prototype, when there’s time or a fun challenge in F2F I take it.
There is no secret really – I won a few well timed / high prize challenges
I think my secret was a mix of being attentive to the details, being responsive to the updates and, of course, a little bit of luck 😉
I was determined to get that ticket for the F2F track and I did it! I was registering on every challenge I knew I could win, I was submitting first and I won quite many points that gave me the ticket.
2. What advice would you give to a new member who wants to start competing on Code?
Keep dev environments ready for some kind of F2F challenges, and submitting a viable solution early are the only points coming to my mind.
Focus on the end goal, being in the top, don’t pass challenges just because you’re not familiar with the technology, take the opportunity to learn new things. Try to win points step by step, each point counts 😉
Submit quality code, always double test your code before submitting. Finding a bug/issue after you already submitted might put you in 2nd place on a F2F.
Choose the challenges carefully – use technologies you already know. F2F isn’t very suitable to learning new technologies due to time constraints.
Participating F2F need intense concentration, and usually F2Fs are based on some CODE challenge results, so be prepared and move fast.
First of all, do not be afraid of the new technologies. If you are familiar with a competition stack only for 50% – do not skip, try to compete! Also, very often there are series of competitions. So, even if you do not win, you will have more chances for the next one in the series.
F2F is all about speed. Learn how to solve problems fast, follow the best practices for the technology you’re working on and you’ll be all set.
3. What makes you such a top-class competitor? What is your working motto?
I may not be a top-class competitor, but I am a top-class developer for sure. Now, I mostly do things which seems new for me. My motto is to always keep improving, keep learning new things, write good quality code even if it takes more time.
I think the math/computer science background helps, but foremost it’s hard work, striving for knowledge, competition, doing your best with every step, staying focused when it seems there is no way out.
Quote: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” ― Grantland Rice
I’m not considering myself a top-class competitor, but merely a dev who enjoys a good challenge.
Working hard and choosing the right challenges. I have no specific motto.
Working hard and some of luck I think, and the motto: “Live and learn!”
Coding is my passion and my everyday work. Also, I encounter a wide variety of languages and technologies. And I like to learn and try something new. My motto is: “Work hard and never stop exploring.” 🙂
Top-class it’s not about being perfect and never do mistakes, it’s about learning from your mistakes, improve yourself and never give up.
My working motto is “Set a goal you can’t stop thinking about and don’t stop working for it!”
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.