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April 7, 2020 What are the Differences Between Topcoder and Kaggle?

We get asked frequently to explain how Topcoder is different from platforms like Kaggle. Recently, Andy LaMora, Global Director Crowd Analytics & AI at Topcoder, answered this question in an insightful Quora answer to these questions: What are the key differences between Topcoder and Kaggle? And how do the platforms work with datasets and on-demand talent?

So, what are the differences between Topcoder and Kaggle?

The Topcoder Model in a Nutshell

Topcoder is an on-demand talent community that launched in 2001 with a focus on “full-stack digital outcomes.” In other words, Topcoder skills cover a lot of bases. We deliver hyper-scalable design, development, data science, and QA. Most recently, we launched Talent as a Service (TaaS) to help private organizations and the public sector access top tech talent. We certainly have an eye towards emerging and disruptive solutions to large-scale, global problems, but we also deliver bite-sized results for real-world problems. For example, our ongoing work with NASA and Harvard is groundbreaking for its success, but we also solve thousands upon thousands of small business challenges that we apply our talent community to daily.

Kaggle in a Nutshell

Established in 2010, Kaggle focuses on data science competitions, public datasets and Jupyter Notebook environments, and data science educational resources. Kaggle’s specialty is large-scale projects. Kaggle also offers data science courses. In fact, we recommend that talent looking to step into on-demand work sign up for Kaggle to access those courses.

Many Similarities

• Topcoder and Kaggle both help businesses and public entities solve data science issues at scale. Both have vibrant communities of talent. And, we both share many of the same community members. When challenges are well-written, you could expect similar results from Kaggle and Topcoder.

• We’re both funded by tech companies. Kaggle’s parent company is Google, the multibillion-dollar search engine giant. Topcoder’s parent company is Wipro, a multibillion-dollar IT company. The resources of both respective companies allow Kaggle and Topcoder access to a steady pipeline of projects and resources, which are a necessity when engaging in global challenges.

• We’re both meritocracies. Talent rises to the top. Kaggle and Topcoder use on-demand talent challenges to provide incredible results. Ratings, experience, and capabilities are important across both platforms.

• Both have breadth. Topcoder has helped NASA, Microsoft, T-Mobile, USSOCOM, SpaceNet, and thousands of other massive public and private entities. Kaggle has had similar successes with major public and private organizations.

A Few Differences

• Topcoder offers more talent services than Kaggle with TaaS, QA, and other business-focused, outcome-oriented services.

• At Topcoder, we provide additional earning potential for talent with our volume of commercial challenges and problems.

• At Kaggle, you’ll find courses and educational resources.

• Kaggle offers Jupyter Notebook’s and database sets.

Bottom Line

Kaggle offers courses and educational resources, Jupyter Notebooks and database sets, and works on a similar model of meritocracy. Kaggle focuses on datasets, courses, and data science. Topcoder focuses on ground-breaking data science, commercial solutions, and outcome-oriented services like TaaS. Our primary focus is to deliver digital outcomes to all businesses and public organizations—not just advanced ML algorithms or small-scale churn prediction. Our efforts are focused on providing tangible value for any commercial or public entity that needs a scalable talent solution.

At Topcoder, we’re dedicated to the on-demand tech talent community and recognize the power of communities in various formats, including Kaggle. We certainly don’t operate in a vacuum, and we’re proud to share a similar vision with other powerful and energetic platforms.


Clinton Bonner

VP, Marketing


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