October 19, 2020 Is TCO Worthy? The Community Member’s Perspective

Do you strive to be at TCO every year?  This is the most asked question ever of Topcoder Open finalists. In my thirteen (13) years of wandering in Topcoder, I have never read a no for an answer, and the following compilation of testimonies attempts to explain why.

Imagine that you live on island X in the middle of the ocean. You are passionate about technology, computer science and design. You find this online community where you compete and earn money.

You are enjoying yourself. Suddenly you notice the existence of island Y at the horizon, full of other humans who share your passions, those members of this online community you have been interacting with for a long time through your computer and the magic of the internet.

You know that if you find your way to step onto island Y, you will have the opportunity to meet extraordinary people and also to compete live to be crowned a champion. A practical way to cross the ocean would be swimming but the distance is too far.

“Building a bridge is another way, and that’s what a Topcoder Open is, the bridge that connects community members in one single wonderful place full of like-minded folks willing to share knowledge, good times and their autographs.”

Once you cross that bridge, you arrive at the place that has changed many lives in so many different ways that I can not catalog. We could say, in a nutshell, that these are some of the non-imaginary-island-reasons why a Topcoder member enjoys this experience:

  • Recognition; being crowned as the champion of any track in Topcoder is the ultimate form of merited boast in your history and personal record. Only a few can come to TCO, test their skills against the top performers and call themselves champion.
  • Job opportunities; historically, well known companies have hired talent from Topcoder. The majority of members who got their dream job at Google, Facebook, and so forth, performed their interviews during TCOs.
  • Social bonding; it’s not every day that you have the opportunity to meet talented people who share your same passions, to meet the admins that make this possible and to meet the clients you work with.
  • Traveling; 2020 pandemic says: ha. With this exception, something else that doesn’t happen every day is to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the US.


If you check my bio, you will see that it bluntly reads “TCO Ultimate Junkie”. If you give me COVID-TCO, I’ll be happy to fall sick with it. I don’t care how they make it, either virtual or onsite, I’ll take it in any form it can be delivered for one single reason: Topcoder Open is my drug that heals corona virus. 

I don’t want to make this blog post about my experience, though. I honestly have run out of words to express how exciting, thrilling, nerve-wracking and heart-warming a Topcoder Open is. Other members have also been influenced in different ways, fortunately not as sick as me.

I’ll let my fellow members tell you what they feel about this event in this compilation of my-all-time favorite articles and interviews related to TCO. These talented people have enjoyed time in the competition arena, they know better if it’s worthy or not! Enjoy:

The Evidence Of Fulfillment

I will save you the time of reading this article if you want only to capture its emotion. For that, you just have to see Viki’s face while she holds her backpack minutes before competing in the finals. She describes her journey from being an absolute rookie to attending her first Topcoder Open, her first year as a member.

How Topcoder Changed Alex’s Life

Alex, a Venezuelan-born globetrotter, shares the exact moment when Topcoder changed his life for good and for a long time. His trip to New York City looks delightful!

The Best Of Topcoder Open 2018

Statements that highlight nouns such as family, challenge and recognition are paramount to the identity of a Topcoder Open for our members. These beautiful testimonials expose the reasons that make a Topcoder Open special.

Making Dreams Come True

For Surya, a talented designer from India, his dream was to travel abroad. He fulfilled this desire and documented it throughout his journey from competing at Topcoder Open 2019 and also traveling with his friends.

Topcoder Around The World

What does a Topcoder member do after the event is over? It’s fair to imagine they go back home, however, that’s preceded by adventure and possibly work for some. After Topcoder 2019 ended, these members traveled the US and other countries.

Do You Strive To Be At TCO Every Year?

“I think TCO finals are the best onsite programming competition.”

Egor Kulikov. Algorithm champion and multi-finalist.

“Getting a ticket for the TCO is my number one goal every year! I get to see most of the people I work with, all in one place.” 

Thomas Kranitsas. TCO multi-finalist, Copilot and MVP.

“It’s always been something incredible for me, a community of the best coders in the world. I’m very happy to be part of it.”

Julia Ischenko. TCO multi-finalist. QA and Code competitor.

“Being at such an amazing event with your Topcoder family is totally a dream come true.”

Yoki. TCO Design multi-finalist and MVP.

“Yes, love to be a part of this invaluable experience every year.”

Dilhani Gunawardhana. TCO QA finalist.

“Life changer and paradigm breaker.”

Dr. Sergey Pogodin. TCO multi-finalist, Copilot, MVP.

“Yes! A lot has changed for me since I started, but the urge to compete is still the same.”

Scott Wu. TCO Algorithm multi-finalist.

“Besides the payments and occasional trips, it allows me the freedom to live a life that is truly mine while remaining up to date with the latest technology in the industry.”

Ketan Singh. TCO finalist, Copilot.


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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