October 26, 2021 Mastering Bug Hunt Challenges With codejam – The Topcoder Nation Show #10

“That guy is a beast”, “He is incredibly fast”, “Unbeatable” – those are the types of comments you hear about Nuwan (codejam). He is the reigning TCO champion for QA, a lightning-fast bug exterminator who has made a remarkable career in Topcoder in a very short period of time. Our honorable guest gave us the courtesy of his time to unveil his secret of success.

Learning and experience are words that identify his success. Nuwan broke down his thought process for bug hunts, specifically on challenge selection, planning, execution strategy, and closure. 

We learned about his journey working in IT networking companies, moving to the US for work, then returning back to Sri Lanka and settling there with his family. Then, he met Topcoder. Something that started for him as an easy kickoff to try the platform ended up completely changing his lifestyle when he decided to make Topcoder his main source of income and work.

“QA competitions are easy to start with, not too technical. We can find something that is wrong with the application. I came to know about these challenges through the challenge listing page, I started exploring it, that’s how it started”

codejam on why he chose Topcoder as his full-time job.

These words probably won’t do any justice to all the wisdom he shared live in the show. I strongly encourage you to watch the video, slow down and watch it. Bug hunters, get ready for leveling up your game!

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:

  • Nuwan learned about Topcoder from moulyg, former TCO UI Prototype champion!
  • Nuwan belongs to the rare club of members who won the first challenge they joined! A Microsoft test case.
  • On his overall strategy for bug hunts, he first identifies long-duration vs short-duration strategies. Depending on those, he focuses on functional issues or UX/UI first. Short duration: be fast with functional bugs. Long duration: start with UI/UX bugs.
  • It took him four to five challenges to accumulate the experience to be super fast at bug hunts, one or two months or so.

Topcoder Nation Show #10 is up on YouTube. See timestamps below for a summary.


  • Living in Sri Lanka: 02:38 – 05:15
  • Learning of Topcoder through MoulyG and winning the first challenge he joined: 05:30 – 07:09
  • Why bug hunts and not other tracks: 08:26  – 10:20
  • His strategy to approach bug hunt challenges: 10:30 – 14:00
  • Avoiding duplicate issues while being efficient: 15:00 – 16:30
  • Building patterns and checklists to become super fast: 17:00 – 20:12
  • Becoming full-time Topcoder: 23:08 – 26:35
  • His first TCO experience: 26:35 – 28:25
  • His favorite memory about TCO: 28:25 – 30:20


We held an AMA (ask me anything) with codejam. Curious community members asked questions for him to ponder. Watch the video from 31:46 to check out the replies to questions such as:

  • How much time did it take you to become good at bug hunts?
  • How do you become really fast at logging issues? Do you have a specific setup?
  • What goes through your mind while you are competing in a TCO final?
  • What are your criteria for joining challenges? I mean, how do you know you can win them?
  • Do you have a development background?
  • How much time do you spend at a bug hunt challenge after starting the submission phase?
  • Do you plan to do some copilot or PM role in the community?
  • Is there a platform where you practice bug hunt challenges?


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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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