December 18, 2020 The Many Roles You Can Take at Topcoder
There are a number of different avenues you can take as a Topcoder community member. Once you join our community you should start out by taking on a gig as part of gig work or trying out some challenges to get accustomed to our platform. Just remember that is not all you can do at Topcoder. This article is a great way to learn all about the different roles you can take on at Topcoder to grow your career or earn extra money.
“Elite topcoder member on a very special mission”
A Gig worker is a very special Topcoder member specifically chosen to work for a client directly. They represent Topcoder on behalf of doing quality work for the client. They are engaged in a project for a specific duration of time (usually months) at a fixed weekly payment and work within the client’s team (not under Topcoder). A Topcoder member can be a gig worker if they have what it takes to be one based on their Topcoder challenge history, skills and experience requirements of the opportunity as well as based on how they perform during the series of interviews.
“Here are the requirements… Great prizes, good timeline, short scope. Join now!”
A copilot is responsible for taking a project from a customer and creating a success strategy according to each specific track opportunity. A project can contain one or several copilots that help with design, development, quality assurance and data science needs. They also handle direct inquiries from challenge participants, interact with clients to provide clarity and make sure that the challenge will produce quality outputs.
“ES7 code patterns are well applied. Good submission!”
A reviewer makes sure that even the smaller details of the challenge requirements are covered in the submitted solutions through a well-seasoned scorecard. He or she gives technical details on what aspects the submitted solution lacks or needs improvement as well as gives praise to those who have gone above the expected criteria. A reviewer works closely with the copilot and project manager to clarify other details that seem to be out of scope or not in scope.
“Okay, the submission satisfies the challenge requirements. Passed screening!”
Before reviewers even see your submitted solution, screeners check it first to see if the basic requirements are met, the validity and originality of the work. The screener does not usually go into deeper technical details of the submission because that is the job of the reviewer. The screener checks all submissions for rule violations. If ever the rules are violated, the screener reports it accordingly to implement further actions (‘warning’ if minor issues only to ‘failed’ if necessary).
Design Review Board
“The aesthetics are visually appealing, I like the bold innovation on this part ….just be careful in integrating this stuff”
The Design Review Board is composed of several Topcoder members dedicated to reviewing the submissions for design challenges. They thoroughly review the challenge’s specifications to ensure that it properly follows the latest guidelines and is easy to understand for the challenge participants. For the submission, they provide full and rich feedback to designers to improve design for the next round and/or for the next challenges. They also provide expertise and guidance to the customers in reviewing submissions by suggesting the designs that work best for their requirements. The reviewers assure that the client’s problem is delightfully solved and that challenge participants are crystal clear in terms of design direction.
“News and stories of Topcoders, by the Topcoders, for the Topcoders!”
A blog article is a way for writers to express and share more detail about particular news and/or stories related to Topcoder. The community gets informed about what’s new and what’s coming up next. The members share their inspirational experience, not just for the new members, but for the whole worldwide community. Sometimes before writing a piece a blog writer may conduct an interview and/or a survey to gather more valuable information to share to the community.
Thrive Article Writer
“I have an original and educational idea! I will write something about it to inform the Topcoder Community”
A Thrive article writer is the technical version of a blog writer. Thrive articles cover technical aspects of each Topcoder track. The articles are usually presented in the form of written tutorial, how-to’s, and even personal technical experience with a tool or technology. Thrive writers need to submit an original article and major content should not already exist in any of the articles available within Topcoder Blog and Thrive.
MVP (Most Valuable Player)
“Ordinary Topcoder member with extraordinary passion for improving the Topcoder community and growing professionally”
Being a MVP means embodying the Topcoder traits of passion, spirit, hard work, dedication and innovation for the rest of your life. It is the honor of a lifetime. Of course, it does not come for free, Topcoder members need to meet eligibility criteria, and contribute to the community. Aside from being an elite representative of the community, MVPs also enjoy some special perks exclusively for them.
Community Team Member
“There’s YOU (‘u’) and I (‘i’) in the community! Jessie’s gang for a better human experience”
They are special team members under Jessie’s management. They work to foster community development from all the angles. Some of the members are developers themselves who are improving our very own Topcoder website for a better and more holistic experience. Some help in marketing-related stuff to make sure that people are seeing quality updates from social media platforms and making them aware of the opportunities that Topcoder brings to them.
Operation Team Member
“Seamless platform experience for clients and Topcoder members”
The challenge operations team helps Topcoder run efficient operations to improve the quality of the platform for customers, staff and competitors. This team is made up of selected community members in each track with the Platform Operations team overseeing all their activities. They are the “eyes of Topcoder” from inside, outside, above and beyond. They monitor the health of challenges, create success strategies for processes, watch the behavior of the community, and document the rules or policies for the community.
Problem Writer for Rapid Development Match (RDM)
“Are you a versatile developer? Build fast, build with quality!”
As problem writers, they are expected to create an interesting problem that envelops a fantasy or real-world setting. Tech stack must be clearly defined along with the required environment or starter pack/packs for the problem. They are also the ones who build relevant automation test scripts for automated reviewing of submissions. They don’t just write, they also help and address concerns of participants during the contest.
Problem Writer for Algorithm
“Do you love problems? I mean, are you a natural critical and creative thinker? Try this!”
For algo, being a writer is a totally different experience. You can be a full-fledged writer by writing three problems for each Single Round Match (SRM) division (1 & 2). You are also allowed to collaborate with other members to construct a full problem set as a group. And if the two ways of being an algo writer mentioned do not fit your taste, you may still write a subset of a problem set but only for a medium or hard round of Division 1.
Problem Writer for Marathon Match (MM)
“You want to spice up your life? How about solving an algo problem for around two weeks?”
There is no difference in writing problems for Algo (SRM) and Marathon Matches (MM). But the good news is, you don’t have to write a problem first and check later on if it is suitable. Here in Marathon Match, all you need is to submit an idea initially, even without full details. Once approved, you can write a visualizer, which includes test case generation, simulation/scoring routines and the actual visualization. Since MM usually runs for about two weeks, you can submit the test codes and test cases for the problem later on.
“This part of the problem needs more clarity…and voilà! It matches the expected solution!”Written problems need to be validated by someone aside from the problem creator. Here is where the problem tester comes in. They ensure that problems are as clear as possible by suggesting edits or revisions and adding help links to allow members to solve challenges. Finally, they write test solutions and cross-check solutions. This role is commonly filled by a Topcoder admin or coordinator.