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Tony Jeftstjefts

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April 3, 2020

What is Talent As A Service (TAAS)?

TaaS stands for “Talent as a Service”. It is one of several ways that Topcoder engages with its customers. This is the preferred method when a customer wishes to work more directly with individual resources as opposed to accessing the Topcoder Community via challenges. We use it in cases where it makes more sense for the customer to work with defined resources rather than strictly with challenges. It is much closer to a traditional freelancing model where you and the customer work directly together as opposed to working through challenges. See open opportunities here.

Getting Started

How do I get involved?

Compete and build up your profiles and skills! Topcoder members become eligible to work on TaaS projects by first proving themselves in various skill sets through Topcoder competitions. Keep learning and competing to earn statistics on your Topcoder profile page that demonstrates your expertise. Once you become rated in any competition track, you are eligible to participate in TaaS engagements.

Once I compete enough to become eligible, then what?

By having a solid profile that shows expertise in at least one area (being rated), you will be moved higher in the list as we match TaaS members to customer requests. Our platform scans our community looking for the top members for various in-demand skill sets.

If you’re competing in a track that is currently not rated (like Design), we’ll instead look at other statistics we track such as # of wins, # of passed reviews, etc.

Why do we have TaaS?

TaaS becomes more relevant in situations where public challenges are not ideal. For example, when certain work requires developers to gain access to client environments or when the customer prefers to work in more of a one on one situation with a resource. Also, some work may be more efficient to complete in a collaborative manner rather than in a competition style. In these cases, having a group of skilled members working together with the customer’s team may be more practical.

What is a TaaS Pool?

These are identified groups of Topcoder members who have proven expertise in a key piece of technology/skill. If you are in a pool, then you are pre-qualified to join TaaS opportunities. This will increase your likelihood of being matched to an opportunity. Once you are part of a pool, then you are eligible to accept opportunities to join a TaaS opportunity.

We’re currently building pools for:

  • Full Stack Developers

  • Front End Developers

  • Back End Developers

  • Designers

  • QA Specialists

  • Data Scientists

  • Devops Engineers

What is expected of me?

As a member of Topcoder, you will need to decide if you are willing to make the commitment to a given project and/or customer depending on how the opportunity is outlined. If you are not able to accept an assignment, there is no obligation. However, if you do accept an assignment, it is expected that you adhere to the requirements of the assignment.

Are you obligated to participate in TaaS?

Obligated? No. Even if you are in a TaaS pool, you are still a community member, not an employee so you can participate in other work at the same time. However, some things to consider:

  • In some of these engagements, we may invest in background checks or other types of certifications. Please consider the level of commitment before signing up, or just do not sign up if you feel you do not have the skill or the time to do work. Keep in mind that many of these assignments will be full-time work.

  • Please consider your reputation as a community member if you pre-committed to any type of work. Informing those in charge that you will not be able to compete is better than walking away without telling anyone.

  • Your performance on assignments will be tracked and will become part of your Topcoder profile. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a high level of professionalism and quality of work in order to gain more opportunities in the future.

What do I have to do right now?

Right now, just some basics.

  1. If you are interested in being part of the TaaS and are open to commit to working on private future customer engagements, then please visit https://www.topcoder.com/community/taas sign up.

  2. Make sure your complete profile is filled out. The more complete it is, the more likely it will be that you are identified for opportunities. At a minimum, you must have the following completed on your profile:

  • First/Last Name

  • Address

  • Birthdate

  • Payment Preferences

  • Bio

  • Current Location

  • Primary Interests

  • Tracks

  • Languages

  • Education

  • Work

  • Skills

  • Hobbies

  • Tools

The following items must be emailed to support@topcoder.com for now:

Favorite Projects: Tell us what your favorite 2 or 3 Topcoder projects have been that you worked on.

Quote: Write a quote that personifies you. This will be shown to potential customers and eventually on your public profile page.

Complete your identity verification. Instructions will be sent to you after you sign up for TaaS.

Working on an engagement

What do I have to do if I accept an opportunity?

Depending on the customer requirements, you may be required to submit to additional verification checks and/or agree to specific terms. In many cases the Topcoder NDA is enough, but certain customers require additional terms to be signed and background checks to be completed.

Why Identity Checks and NDA’s?

You will likely be given access to the client’s secure environment for some of the TaaS related projects. Since this privilege is usually meant for cleared employees/contractors, any Topcoder member doing similar work will likely have to undergo an identity check and/or background check to ensure they are cleared to enter the client’s environment. Depending on the client, this can potentially be non-negotiable.

Do I have to interact directly with the customer?

You should expect to have a lot of direct interaction with the customer resources on these projects. In some cases, you may become part of an existing project team that is a blend of Topcoder members and other resources. We feel that the members that are able to present themselves well, communicate consistently and often, and be willing to participate in client meetings/standups/etc. will have the most potential on these opportunities. Since every customer is different, forms of communication and collaboration will also vary.

Will I still be participating in Topcoder challenges to do the work?

No. For TaaS engagements you will be assigned work directly by a customer resource.

But I like challenges? Can I still compete if I’m doing TaaS?

Sure! As long as it doesn’t interfere with your TaaS engagement we encourage all members to continue competing.

How do I know if the customer is satisfied with me?

First, just ask! Topcoder also performs regular outreach to customers to gain a measurement of customer satisfaction.

What happens if the customer is disputing the work I’m delivering?

For any disputes, immediately contact support@topcoder.com with a full description of the issue along with any supporting evidence and Topcoder will promptly assist.

Is there criteria for being removed from an engagement?

Topcoder prides itself in being fair, especially when it comes to our community. So, removing a member from an engagement would not be done without merit.

Members may be removed for various reasons. Some of these reasons include:

  • The member is no longer able to commit enough time to the project.

  • The customer is not satisfied with the work the member is delivering.

  • Sometimes it’s just not a good fit. It happens.

Will copilots be involved in TaaS

No. At this time, copilots will not be used to manage work with the Topcoder Community on TaaS projects. If you are a copilot and would like to work on a TaaS assignment, you may still do so but it would be in a non-copilot role.

How does payment work?

You will be paid a fixed amount per week based on the role and your Topcoder merit based accomplishments (i.e. Ratings, # of wins, etc.). We are currently offering customers part-time (20/hrs/wk) and full-time (40/hr/wk) resources. Payments will reflect the expected commitment from the customer.

Members are eligible for a pay rate that is based on their Topcoder rating. As your rating goes up, you increase your earning potential.

Rating Distribution Chart

Please note that if we currently don’t support a rating for a given track (i.e. Design and QA) we will instead use other profile stats such as # of wins.

What if I work a lot more than the expected time on an engagement?

It is ultimately up to you to discuss timelines and scope of work with the customer and manage your time commitment. If you feel the agreement is not fair, or becomes unfair, first try to discuss the situation with the customer to come to an understanding. If that’s not possible, or not yielding satisfactory results, then escalate to support@topcoder.com for assistance. Be sure to also provide the feedback on the weekly survey you receive from Topcoder.

What if I am no longer able to work on an assignment?

We understand this will happen sometimes. Our ask is pretty simple:

  1. Try to avoid the situation by understanding how your schedule matches with the customer’s schedule.

  2. Alert Topcoder and your customer as soon as possible.

  3. Provide at least 2 weeks notice if you know you need to leave an assignment.

Do I need to go onsite to a customer?

We’re currently not supporting onsite resources in TaaS. All work is done virtually.

Live Webinar with CrazyK and TonyJ

Did you miss Glenn and Tony (TAAS Coordinators) go into depth and answer your questions about Talent as a Service live on air? Fortunately for you we have it archived and viewable right here!

Group 9
Group 9