The Development track of Topcoder allows competitors to build high-quality components and applications through a series of challenges. Learn how to get started and become a successful competitor!
1. Become a MemberNew to Topcoder? Take a moment to read over the guide for new members and then sign up and confirm your registration.
2. Register for a Development Challenge
View open Development challenges and then register for one that interests you. You’ll need to agree to some Terms before you can compete. In order to view and download any supporting documentation for a challenge, you must register for that challenge. In many Development challenges, you are indicating your interest in submitting to the challenge by registering and the registration window closes before the submission deadline. Be sure to schedule enough time to participate in the appeals, final fixes and other phases of the challenge after the submission deadline.
Some challenges carry a reliability bonus and failing to submit could impact your reliability rating. Learn more about reliability here. You can also un-register for a challenge within a certain timeframe if you cannot commit to submitting a solution by the deadline.
3. Bullet-proof Your SolutionRead the requirements and associated forum posts carefully. You should also familiarize yourself with the screening and reviewing scorecards (linked on the challenge page) so you know what your solution will be judged against.
4. Get Familiar with Online ReviewOnline Review is a tool you can use to manage all of your registered challenges. When you login to Online Review (also known as “OR”), you can see all of the challenges you are registered for. Clicking into a challenge will show you that challenge’s full timeline, including each phase of the challenge. It’s important to see these phases because you may be participating in the Appeals process or, if you win, you will be submitting Final Fixes through this tool. This is also where reviewers will perform reviews and submit their scorecards.
5. Get Questions AnsweredEach challenge has detailed information within the challenge page that you should follow. If you can’t find your answers there, you can visit that challenge’s forum and ask questions. Your fellow members, challenge copilot and the client will do their best to help clarify anything you need. It’s great to ask questions!
6. Submit Your Solution
You will submit your solution via the challenge page by clicking “Submit Your Entries” button in the top left. It is extremely important that you realize that the submission deadline is a hard one. Late submissions are not accepted. Plan to submit a couple of hours before the actual deadline to allow yourself ample time to complete the upload to Topcoder’s servers in case any unforeseen issues arise.
In your final submission, you must ensure you provide all mandatory submission deliverables. Finding small issues before you upload will save you valuable placement points later in the review process. Make sure that your directory structure is also appropriate and you have all documentation properly taken care of. visit Online Review and take an extra moment to download your submission to ensure that you uploaded the correct file and that it can be extracted without errors.
7. Participate in the Review Process
An important part of Topcoder’s process that helps to keep the quality of deliverables high, is the use of a peer review process. The review board is made up of experienced members chosen from the community and their role is to vet all submissions entered to a challenge. Membership of the review board is voluntary but members must meet strict eligibility criteria.
Your submission will be screened to ensure it is non-trivial and is capable of meeting the requirements by assigning it a score. If your submission passes screening, it moves into the review phase.
Review involves assessing your submission based on a review scorecard to determine if your solution is feasible and meets the requirements. Many challenges typically use 2-3 reviewers, thus each submitter will have at least 2 scorecards and at most 3 scorecards. The scorecard is used to ensure all requirements are met and all Topcoder guidelines and industry best practices are adhered to, as much as possible.
After review is complete, you will have 24 hours to view and appeal the score your solution was given. You’ll see the reviewer comments on each depressed score in the scorecard, and you can dispute any score. Please keep in mind that you must have a very good reason to appeal, or it will be rejected by the reviewer during appeals response which opens when the appeals phase ends and lasts for 12 hours. Subjective items or matters of opinion may not be appealed. Read more about the Appeals Process here.
8. Win! Provide Final FixesAfter you’ve been chosen as the winner of the challenge, you will almost always have “final fixes” to complete. These are usually small pieces of your solution that were either not correct or missing. You must complete your final fixes within a short timeframe in order to be eligible to receive your entire payment. Learn more about Final Fixes here.
9. Get Paid
In order to get paid, you must submit an IRS tax form. You will also choose how you would like to get paid. All challenge payments are scheduled and posted to your Payments page on Topcoder within 7 days of winning a challenge. You may then choose to have your payment sent to you. See more about payments here.
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