December 28, 2020 Our 2020 Community Recap: Top Moments, Some Favorites, & Lessons Learned
How was your 2020? We tried to make the most of our year despite the trying times had by this entire world. The year was truly challenging but knowing that we were all in this together from Australia to Romania to China to the USA and South Africa and everywhere in between, gave a true sense of togetherness.
We were lucky at Topcoder because work didn’t change for us. In fact, it got busier than ever. It became my mission, and the whole team, to make sure our community was looked after – we wanted to be sure we could give you things to do to keep you busy while staying home and staying safe.
Working from home during a pandemic, our norm, became the norm for everyone.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST WORK ACCOMPLISHMENT IN 2020 FOR THE COMMUNITY OR BUSINESS?
lazybaer: The new skill search system.
mtwomey: Getting to a managed process for releases. Of course, this wasn’t MY accomplishment, but my whole team’s!
mess: Staying out of the way of the prod dev team
hmehta: TCO20 Regionals
RedXV: Joining the team officially!
kiril.kartunov: Trying to do small things every day for the community 🙂
Among them, I managed to publish (not alone) more than 1,000 articles to Thrive this year.
I was lucky to be involved in connecting the Topcoder platform with Recruit CRM and developing the UI for members to browse, search, and apply for gigs.
Creating many landing pages for the community and customers.
nick.castillo: Simplifying the process of having a member apply for a gig. Still much to do, but the process is definitely easier now!
DaraK:The redesign of the community site to make sure it follows the topcoder.com style and is consistent everywhere. In particular, the design and optimizations of the Gig Work pages took a bit more effort to make the user experience streamlined but had the biggest impact.
jmpld40: Running the 2020 Topcoder Open all virtual and making it work. Getting so many Topcoder members and staff to work together and make sure the event was a success!
adroc: It is hard for me to single out one thing. What comes to mind is the teamwork and impact of our virtual TCO’s (Regionals and Finals), the Adobe and Topcoder Covid Challenge Series, AlefEdge program, and the start of Skill Builders/RDM’s.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOPCODER MEMORY FROM 2020?
lazybaer: Seeing the Automated Testing challenge type take off.
mtwomey: Jamming a frozen T-shirt over Oanh’s head in record time to win that contest when we all met out east before the pandemic hit.
mess: Seeing prod dev and community working together seamlessly for work manager and v5 rollouts.
hmehta: TCO20 Algorithm Final Results.
RedXV: Witnessing my first TCO, and the first virtual one. To see the effort, commitment, and love which goes into the TCO was incredible and really inspiring.
kiril.kartunov: How I received my TCO20 swag and was happy to take photos with it 🙂
nick.castillo: Hosting trivia at TCO20 and having all our members and staff participating.
DaraK: Attending the team meeting in Connecticut this year in February. Besides understanding more things about the business and community, it was a lot of fun due to the team building activities (my first ones ever).
jmpld40: Watching the parade of finalists video to open up the TCO20 Finals and seeing all our finalists on the screen.
adroc: Design Month, Bracket Challenges, and honoring gh3ablo.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART OF WORK DURING 2020?
lazybaer: Reprioritizing projects.
mtwomey: Lack of opportunities to meet up due to covid.
mess: No in person meetings with clients, members, and employees.
hmehta: Home Chores and Working together is a mess.
RedXV: COVID-19 has brought in some curveballs to manage and being remote outside of work makes it quite difficult at times. Life is remote working!
kiril.kartunov: Developing https://www.topcoder.com/gigs was challenging. We needed to explore ways to connect two platforms, most effectively for the community. There was a lack of proper/good developer documentation and we were doing trial and error finding the stable solution.
nick.castillo: Not having a coffee shop to work from. Getting out of the house and getting a different perspective, I felt was always good for me when it came to my creative process.
DaraK: Not having TCO20 onsite. TCO itself is a work supercharger 😀
jmpld40: Juggling work with the family at home. I was working crazy and long hours and my children were having to fend for themselves a lot of the time.
adroc: The Pandemic and how that impacted all of our lives and the ability to travel and visit Topcoder’s around the world.
WHAT WAS WORK/LIFE LIKE FOR YOU DURING THIS CRAZY YEAR OF 2020?
lazybaer: Same as it ever was.
mtwomey: Not terrible, thankfully we’ve been pretty fortunate. I’m introverted – so I don’t really mind staying in (despite missing seeing everyone!). It was a busy year and lots of adjustments to make both at home and with the business.
mess: More family time with no travel was an added bonus.
hmehta: Very awful, I miss going to office and regular hours 😀
RedXV: Combined, separation has become a lot more difficult.
kiril.kartunov: Remote:) I have a great and funny time working with people from distance. Topcoder is 100% remote, and it was business as usual.
nick.castillo: Stressful. Sure, work typically is but it was a different kind of stress! Worried if the people I know are safe, not being able to let loose on the weekends, and having minimal contact with friends and family are just a few of the things that made this year no bueno.
DaraK: Not that bad! I was spending a lot of time indoors anyway, but I still missed switching environments in the breaks, meeting friends and hiking.
jmpld40: It was crazy. Simultaneously working and being on conference calls while helping my kids with Zoom calls and their homework was not easy. But I managed and was grateful for the support of my awesome team!
adroc: A lot different as I am used to traveling to meet with the Community and our customers. It has been fantastic spending time with my family, working on home improvements, building a garden, and realizing that while I am used to remote work I am not used to being confined and recognizing the impact that has on all of us.
IF YOU KNEW HOW 2020 WAS GOING TO BE BACK IN JANUARY, WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?
lazybaer: Bought stock in TP (toilet paper) companies.
mtwomey: Gone to see folks in India sooner, before the outbreak!
mess: Held a local member/customer/employee gathering.
hmehta: Travelled like crazy!
RedXV: I would have gone skiing more! And gone to see my parents before lockdown started, haven’t seen them in 2020 and won’t!
kiril.kartunov: Buy stocks of Zoom, Inc.:)
nick.castillo: Bought a comfier couch.
DaraK: I would have taken a long vacation before to travel more.
jmpld40: I would have hugged my grandmother and family more. I’d have had a big party with all my friends and family. I’d have done the TCO Finals before all this went down!
adroc: Invested in the stock market 😉 I would have liked to have had more work/training/paths available for everyone arriving on Topcoder looking for things to do during the various lockdowns.
Community Team Lead