February 23, 2021

Gig Work at Topcoder and FAQs

Gig Work at Topcoder is part of our “Talent as a Service” or TaaS offering. 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 instead of working through challenges. You can also say a Topcoder gig is a freelance contractor position.

How do I get started?

Compete and build up your profiles and skills! Topcoder members become eligible to work on Gig Work projects by first proving themselves in various skillsets through Topcoder competitions. Keep learning and competing to earn statistics on your Topcoder profile page that demonstrates your expertise. Once you become rated and/or show success by either winning challenges or successfully passing review in any competition track, you are eligible to participate in Gig Work engagements. If you do not have a competition history at Topcoder, that is okay.

Once I compete enough to become eligible, then what?

By having an in-depth profile that shows expertise in at least one area, you will be moved higher in the list as we match Gig Work 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.

What type of talent are we looking for?

Our customers have a broad array of needs they are looking to fill.

Here are a few skills we are always looking for:

  • Full Stack Developers

  • Front End Developers

  • Back End Developers

  • Designers

  • Data Engineers

  • Data Scientists

  • DevOps Engineers with AWS, Azure, GCP

What should I do right now if I’m interested in Gig Work?

Right now, just some basics.

  1. As a part of our Topcoder community, if you are interested in working on freelancer style work with different customers and projects, visit our Gig work page and sign up for a weekly email. While you are doing that, take a look at our open Gigs to see if something fits your talent and experience.

  2. Make sure your complete Topcoder 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

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

Bio: Write a quick bio that personifies you. Feel free to make it fun and show your personality, but also make sure it’s professional. This is visible to customers as they are reviewing candidates for their gig work so you want to put your best foot forward.

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

What is the onboarding process?

This process can vary depending on the customer; however, here is a general rundown of the process once you accept a Gig Work offer:

  • Offer Accepted

  • Topcoder will notify our client team that the offer is accepted.

  • You will receive an email from our Customer Success Team to schedule a kickoff call with the customer.

  • Clients will reach out to begin company-specific onboarding (Two weeks or more).  Could include:

  • Laptop

  • Network Credentials and access

  • Background Check (On an “As needed basis based on the client)

Will there be training?

Each client is different based on the task needed to be done. Our client and Topcoder will always be available to support you in this process.

However, you were selected for the skills you already possess, and the expectation is that you will be able to complete the work that you are already skilled in.

Would I get health insurance?

You would not be provided an insurance plan when you are working on a Gig, and you would need to seek your own private insurance.

Do we have any clients that would be interested in offering internships?

Not at this time. But we recommend students spend time with Topcoder challenges to help build their resume.

How do I get paid?

You will be paid weekly, per your offer letter from Topcoder. We have a link to more specifics on how to set that up. Information on How do I get paid.

What support do you give your candidates while they are working in a Gig?

Topcoder is a community and we always want to make sure that you feel you are a valued member of the community. We are always here to help and assist and point you in the direction of where to get your answer.

We have Topcoder forums, other ways to contact us, weekly community chats on Mondays, a Topcoder Nation Facebook group, and so much more! Our community team is always here to help you so please take advantage of that and all the networking opportunities we have.

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. Most gigs will require full time hours for a certain amount of weeks. Some gigs will also require certain time zone restrictions to be adhered to.

What do I do if I am having technical issues and need help?

If there are any technical issues that are specific to client systems, software, hardware, your client-side manager or handler is your point of contact.  If you are having trouble understanding who your point of contact is, please consult your Customer Success Manager.

Do I have to interact directly with the customer?

You should expect to have direct interaction with the client on these projects. In some rare 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 are willing to participate in client meetings/standups/etc will have the most impact on these opportunities. Since every customer is different, forms of communication and collaboration will also vary.

It’s also important to note that professionalism while on a Topcoder gig really matters. Please be sure to follow proper business etiquette as you are representing Topcoder and yourself. If you are ever unsure of something, we are happy to help. Please email the gig work team at gigwork@topcoder.com.

Why do we have gig work for members?

Gig Work 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.

Are you obligated to participate in a Gig Work opportunity you are offered?

No. Even if you are in a 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 most likely 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.

Why are there Identity checks and NDA’s?

You will likely be given access to the client’s secure environment for some of the gig 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.

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

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

Can I still compete in regular Topcoder challenges if I’m doing a gig?

Sure! As long as it doesn’t interfere with your gig 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?

If the customer is unhappy with your work, you should first discuss it with the customer and try to find a solution. If you are unable to find a solution, contact the Success Manager that helped you with onboarding at the start of the gig. Be sure to include a full description and as many details as possible of the issue along with any supporting evidence.

Are their criteria for being removed from an engagement?

Topcoder prides itself on 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 the agreed amount of 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.

  • Client requirements have changed and the work is no longer required

Will Copilots be involved in Gigs?

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

How does Payment work?

Once you receive your offer letter, you will be given instructions on how to set up payment with Topcoder.  Topcoder only uses three payment providers (Paypal, Payoneer, Western Union).

You will be paid a fixed amount per week based on the role, your Topcoder merit-based accomplishments (i.e. Ratings, # of wins, etc.), your work experience, and the listed payment range on the Job Listing. Note - We are very transparent with our rates in the job listing.  If you are not comfortable with the payment range listed, do not apply for this position, as we will not negotiate above the maximum amount of a specific job listing.

Topcoder pays gig workers weekly. Payments for a given week are entered into your Topcoder wallet by Tuesday of the following week. Once payments are entered, they become available to withdraw after a 15 day hold period.  The 15 day hold period is for some backend processing we have to go through to clear payments.  We are looking to lower this time in the future, but currently, it will stay at 15 days.

You may see a pro-rated payment for your first and last gig payment, as well as potential days you may take leave.  For example, If you started work on a Friday, you would only get paid for ⅕ of the amount of your weekly payment, for that specific week.

Be sure your Success Manager is aware of your start date and be sure not to conduct any actual work unless you have confirmation that billing has commenced.

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

Many projects experience weeks that are busier than normal and some that are slower than normal. We set the expectation with customers that these busy and slow times should balance out over the course of the project. We also track this through a survey we send you each week. There are a few things you can do if you believe you are working more than expected.

  1. Complete the survey every week. It’s a simple 2 question survey so it won’t take much time. We monitor your responses and will contact you if you are consistently reporting working more than expected.

  2. Discuss timelines and scope of work with the customer to come to an understanding.

  3. Contact your Success Manager if you’re not able to find a solution with the customer. Be sure to provide as much information as you can about the situation.

  4. Again - complete the survey every week. Your Success Manager will be able to support you much better if you have completed the surveys consistently.

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

We understand this will happen sometimes.

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

  2. Alert your Success Manager and your customer as soon as possible.

  3. We require a minimum of 1-week notice if you need to leave an assignment, but we highly recommend providing at least 2 weeks’ notice.

Do I need to go onsite with a customer?

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

Will I still get paid if I finish the gig early?

You will get paid for the work that you complete, when a gig closes early you will be paid for the work that you do

What is the timeline and application process for getting a gig?

Gig’s timeline from application to finding out if you got the Gig is about 2 weeks. This can be longer depending on the client, the project, and how many candidates are needed for the Gig. The process with be roughly as follows:

  1. Apply for the Gig.

  2. A Team member will review our application 24-48 hours after you submit it. We will review skills, professional experience, as well as Topcoder experience. If you are a match based on the job description you will be asked to set up a phone screen with a Gig Work Team member.

  3. During your phone screen, you will be asked to verify your identity, location, availability, and that you have the skills listed in the job description.

  4. We will then be sending your resume off to the client to evaluate if you’re a match for the specific project they are looking for work on.

  5. If a match, Topcoder or the client will be asked to set up an interview with them.

  6. If the interview is a success you will be given an offer via email.

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