June 15, 2017 The Making of a TCO Development Champion – Sky_ is the Limit!

There are developers, there are good developers, and then there are champion developers who are experts at their craft in a unique way. Of course, competitive programming is all about ‘competition’ so there’s no surprise that only the best of the best carve out a niche for themselves.
Over the last five years at Topcoder, I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing developers and there area handful of names that stand out, but the first one that comes to mind in that list is – Sky_

Sky is the limit!
With 285+ wins, multiple TCO final wins and a winning ratio of nearly 95% – these credentials speak volumes about his skill and expertise.

My first brush with him was as a reviewer and then as a co-pilot. His approach is methodical – he asks a lot of forum questions to ensure there are no ambiguities in requirements and then delivers high quality code which meets the challenge objectives. While it sounds simple, it isn’t – it’s always easy to miss a requirement or two or make glitches in your documentation or miss tests – the more you do it, the better you become and Sky_ is a perfect example of it!
While he mostly focuses on competing, he’s also diversified his portfolio to be a reviewer (occasionally) and is currently a member of the Community Advisory Board.

While he’s already a well known figure, I thought it would be a good idea for the community at large to know him better in the lead up to TCO17 finals.
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself – your educational and professional background. How did you discover Topcoder?
I started coding in High School. My first programming language was Pascal, and I was solving only algorithmic problems. I believe all programmers start their career in the same way.
I heard about Topcoder in High School, because tomek had won Topcoder Open, but I hadn’t heard about the Development Track until I went to the University.
I remember 7-8 years ago when I was reading about the Development Component track (it was very popular those days, but now it’s not active at the moment) and I was trying to compete in few contests. Unfortunately, my codings skills were very low, and I was unable to do anything so I gave up Topcoder for 4 years.
During these 4 years, I was studying and working as a .NET developer and I came back to Topcoder 3-4 years ago. I was looking for better opportunities, so I decided to quit my current job and decided to do Topcoder contests full-time.
Q. You work on multiple frontend and backend technologies. What is your biggest technical strength and why?
I have participated in many projects, and each project contains some problems to solve. I am good at problem-solving, and I know what proper tools should be used.
Q. I’ve worked with you (as reviewer/ copilot) on several Node.js applications over the years. If you were to predict the future of Node.js, what would be the top 3 features you’d like to see going forward?

Hard to say. Node v8 contains almost all ES2016 and ES2017 features. I think only export/import is left.
Q. You’ve a fabulous track record in TCO finals – while I’m not asking you to spill the beans, would you mind sharing any advice for fellow finalists? How do you handle the pressure of an onsite TCO final?
Try to sleep well, and don’t be hungry ????
I didn’t feel any pressure during onsite finals. It is big fun for me. Regular challenges sometimes can be more stressful. Especially during re-appeals.

Q. What does your typical working day look like on Topcoder – how much time do you spend on Topcoder on a daily basis and how do you structure your day?
Currently, I haven’t participated in any challenges. My last contest was 2 months ago.
When I was participating in challenges, it was like a regular job. 8-10 hours per day.
Q. When you’re not coding, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I am playing with my cats ???? ???? ????
Here’s wishing Sky_ (and more so all his competitors) good luck for the TCO17 development onsite finals!
And that’s a wrap!


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