November 7, 2018 What Makes the Topcoder Open Special

Topcoder Open (TCO) is the ultimate programming, design & algorithm event in which programmers, designers & data scientists compete throughout the year to win an all expenses paid trip to the USA and get a chance to complete in the onsite finals. This year it’s going to be held in Dallas, Texas, USA from 12th Nov to 16th Nov 2018.
What makes the TCO so fascinating that it attracts programmers, designers & data scientists from around the world to keep on competing throughout the year and get a change to be on top of the world by winning the Topcoder Open Championship? I’ll try to get the answer to this from a few finalists of TCO18. We are also going to see what they suggest a newcomer do to win a trip to TCO onsite finals & what matters the most to them.
Let’s check out the journeys of six TCO18 finalists from Code track, F2F track & UI Prototype track:

Maksym Mykhailenko [ maxceem ]  is a Code track finalist from Ukraine

What makes TCO special for you?
The best thing about TCO is definitely meeting other community members. It’s already an unbelievably welcoming community when getting in touch online so I’m excited to meet people out of slack channels and forums.
What are your suggestions for newcomers to qualify for TCO or win the TCO?
Don’t be afraid to compete with experienced members, though it still makes sense to choose less popular challenges to reduce competition and increase chances to win. Sometimes it’s better to win $600 being the only one than trying to win$1200 when there are 5 people submitting.
If you didn’t win then decide what you could have done better so if you do that next time you will get a higher score. If every time you improve from the previous time, there’s no way to escape becoming a winner.
What matters the most to you? Is it getting a higher rating in Topcoder tracks or earning more by winning Topcoder challenges or winning TCO trips or something else?
I cannot point to only one thing. What is amazing about Topcoder for me is a balance which I get of learning new technologies, flexible time management and earning money.

Gian Franco Zabarino [ gfzabarino ] is a First2Finish track finalist representing Argentina

What makes TCO special for you?
This is going to be the first time that I’ll go to TCO, so I’m very excited about it! I really don’t know exactly what to expect from it, other than to have a great time and an awesome experience. Having developers from around the world coming to a single place to compete against each other is very nice, and I’m very glad TopCoder organizes it.
What are your suggestions for newcomers to qualify for TCO or win the TCO?
Just keep competing, and never be afraid of trying new things. Eventually, you’ll get good at it (whichever track you’re targeting), and potentially get lots of TCO points that will get you a seat to the finals. Something that comes to mind as well is, don’t get frustrated if you didn’t make it on a given stage (as seats are given every three months to the first three contestants with more TCO points), just try again in the next one right from when it starts.
Also, bear in mind that those competitors from the same track that won on a previous stage don’t count, so in case you end up being 4th, but one of the first three already won a place in a previous stage, you’ll still get a seat! That is actually what happened to me ?.
What matters the most to you? Is it getting higher a rating in Topcoder tracks or earning more by winning Topcoder challenges or winning TCO trips or something else?
To be honest, nothing in particular. My case is funny because I didn’t have a clue I was close to winning a seat in the stage I won. I just coincidentally happened to be participating at the time, and the TCO points I won because of participating on F2F challenges made me win a seat (I ended up 4th, and one of the first three contestants already won a seat on a previous stage). After having received the good (out of the blue) news, I set my mind for some time to get a good place on the next stage, even if I already had won a place on the previous one. You can call it practice if you want :slightly_smiling_face: I was actually 1st for some time, and then ended up again 4th, but this time with the same points as the 3rd place.

Sharathkumar Anbu [ Sharathkumar92 ]  is a First2Finish track finalist from India

What makes TCO special for you?
I rely on Topcoder primarily for running my life. Topcoder has shown me a different way to live. I am always excited to attend Topcoder events, be it Regional or Main TCO, in the USA. For me, this is the I am going to fly to USA, hence it gives me more excitement and I am looking forward to meeting peer topcoder members
What are your suggestions for newcomers to qualify for TCO or win the TCO?
Persistent participation in challenges regardless of winning or losing a challenge will definitely lead the person to TCO. Nowadays every challenge is TCO eligible hence it increases the competition as well as probability of qualifying for TCO
What matters the most to you? Is it getting a higher rating in Topcoder tracks or earning more by winning Topcoder challenges or winning TCO trips or something else?
Code or First2Finish track doesn’t have any rating as such. Hence my focus would be on participating and winning challenges which will eventually lead me to TCO.

Jaouad JAGHRIR [ Schpotsky ] is a First2Finish track finalist from Morocco

What makes TCO special for you ?
TCO is an opportunity to meet the best developers from all around the world, this means meeting people with different cultures and meeting people we know more by their sometimes funny handles. It is an opportunity to put the names on the faces as well.
What are your suggestions for newcomers to qualify for TCO or win the TCO?
Just keep working on challenges and submit your solution, even if there are many highly rated members working on the challenge.
What matters the most for you? Is it getting a higher rating in Topcoder tracks or earning more by winning Topcoder challenges or winning TCO trips or something else?
I believe that winning Topcoder challenges and winning TCO trips are correlative, these have a higher priority IMO.
Winning challenges all through the year ensures a steady income, finishing the year with a free trip to the USA to meet members of the community is awesome.
Rating is not as important in Dev and F2F tracks as it is in the Algorithm and Data Science tracks.

Vasilica Olariu [ Vasilica.olariu ] is a UI Prototype track finalist from Romania

What makes TCO special for you?
The chance to visit great places in the USA and the chance to win the big prize.
What are your suggestions for newcomers to qualify for TCO or win the TCO?
Work hard? Not sure what else is needed.
What matters the most to you? Is it getting higher a rating in Topcoder tracks or earning more by winning Topcoder challenges or winning TCO trips or something else?
Winning TCO trips and earning  through challenges.

Sumit Daga [ daga_sumit ] is a UI Prototype track finalist from India

What makes TCO special for you?
Mostly it’s about getting to meet people you work with throughout the year, in person. Then of course the thrill of an onsite competition is something else.
What are your suggestions for newcomers to qualify for TCO or win the TCO?
You need more and more points to qualify for the TCO and it can only be done by as much participation as possible.
What matters the most to you? Is it getting higher a rating in Topcoder tracks or earning more by winning Topcoder challenges or winning TCO trips or something else?
Ratings don’t matter as much in the development tracks, so I think the latter two. Winning more challenges and qualifying for TCO is one of the most important goals of the entire year as a whole.

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