Topcoder is Different

Competition + Community

Topcoder is a premiere competition community for designers, developers, data scientists and competitive programmers/algorithmists. Founded in 2001, Topcoder has held more than 29,000 competitions and awarded more than $81 million dollars in prize money. Many of the best competitive programmers in the world have a Topcoder Rating and our members have solved problems and built software for Fortune 500 companies.

Get paid to solve problems

Compete in design, development and data science challenges for real-world clients

Compete in challenges for Topcoder customers where larger applications are broken into granular pieces, sometimes run in parallel, and then designed, coded, assembled, tested and deployed — all through competition.

Compete head-to-head

Go up against your peers in competitive programming matches

Compete in “Single Round Matches” (SRMs) in the Topcoder Arena. The best algorithmists then compete at the Topcoder Open (TCO), an advancement tournament culminating in a live, onsite championship final.

Learn and practice

Gain new skills in emerging technologies and boost your algorithm skills.

From Blockchain to IBM Watson, you’ll find challenges and educational tutorials on trending technologies. Topcoder also has a large library of high-quality algorithm problems open to members.


Meet and collaborate with like-minded peers from all over the world.

Interact with members from many different backgrounds and countries. Share techniques and chat about trends in the forums, or meet up in person at a TCO championship final or regional event.

The Topcoder Competition Model


1. The client problem is defined

2. The problem is broken into challenges

3. Challenges are launched and competitors register

4. Competitors submit their solutions

5. Solutions are reviewed and winners are chosen

6. Winners are paid and client receives the solution

The customer problem is defined and then broken down into manageable pieces that will become the subject of the competitions. Whenever possible, these pieces are designed, developed and delivered in parallel, then assembled, tested and deployed – all through UX design challenges and coding competitions. Depending on the project, work may begin at any point along the sequence of the Topcoder process, with the output of each stage becoming the input to the next.

Competition structures begin with a description of the work required and a prize amount to be awarded to the winners. Topcoder members register for the competition, then submit their solution before the contest deadline. The submissions are then subject to a client review or peer-review performed by other top members of the community who are certified by Topcoder. Using unique and detailed methods of review — such as a design checkpoint feedback process or a rigorous development scorecard system — a winner is determined, the prize money is awarded and the customer takes ownership of the solution.


Single Round Matches

A Topcoder Algorithm SRM (Single Round Match) is a timed contest where all competitors compete online and are given the same problems to solve under the same time constraints. The competition is available in four programming languages: Java, C#, C++, and Python. Each match consists of three phases: Coding Phase, Challenge Phase, and System Testing Phase.

Competitors can earn points in each phase as they attempt to solve problems of varying complexity in the fastest time, challenge the functionality of their competitors’ code, and pass system tests. This all occurs inside Topcoder’s competition arena.


Data Science challenges and matches primarily focus on predictive analytics or machine learning, image analytics, objective optimization, algorithm improvements and other computer science problems.

Marathon Matches

Marathon Matches are algorithm-based challenges that typically take place over the course of one to two weeks. A problem is presented to the competitors, after which they spend many hours creating their solutions. Throughout the submission phase, competitors can upload their submission for compilation and testing. After receiving test results, they may then improve the submission, if necessary. Before the end of the submission phase, competitors submit their final solution for full system testing. Points are awarded, winners are determined, and — if the solution is for a customer– ownership is transferred.

Code & Ideation Challenges

Much like Topcoder’s Software challenges, the challenge and prize amounts are determined and the challenge is launched to the community. Topcoder members register for the competition, then submit their solution before the challenge deadline. The submissions are then subject to review, winners are chosen and ownership is transferred to the customer.


Topcoder holds a tournament each year called the Topcoder Open, where the best competitors from several tracks of competition win the opportunity to go head-to-head in our annual championship finals. In addition to the finals, Topcoder holds regional events around the world giving members a chance to meet up and compete in person.