Design Newbies at Topcoder: What Keeps Them Competing

May 10, 2018 guestblogger

Many times when new members join Topcoder on the design track they face a couple of similar problems, like learning and adjusting the two rounds challenge format, creating a Marvel presentation, organizing their files and declaring the fonts and files they use, etc. Once newbies pass this step, the next one is to start winning, but any veteran knows that winning is not that easy in the beginning. A new member can be easily disappointed if they are not seeing the value of the challenges as a learning opportunity and making friends, not only for winning prizes.

We have interviewed 2 of our best new members on the design track about the challenges they have faced when joining as well as what they like the most about Topcoder: Brianbinar has been a member since 2015, but only recently got more active and he already is a RUX champion. IbrahimHrp is a new member now placing 14th place on our TCO leaderboard for this stage, who won many challenges for the Topcoder site.

How did you find out about Topcoder?
Brianbinar: My office mate told me about Topcoder, and he told many Indonesian guys to compete on it, so it made me try to jump in.
IbrahimHrp: I found Topcoder from my mentor as well as my good friend Mr. Plipus Telaumbanua aka petetebe.

Once you heard about Topcoder, what made you register at that time?
Brianbinar: I registered because of the various challenges and prizes that are really attracting.
IbrahimHrp: I registered because I was curious what makes Topcoder different from other freelancing sites and I wanted to know how it works.


Brianbinar’s Photo

Have you ever had a formal design education? And what makes you interested in design?
Brianbinar :Yes, I graduated from art university. I think design will help people to solve the problem in easiest and most effective way.
IbrahimHrp: Actually I have no formal education or prior experience in design. I started my career as a web developer. I’m interested in design because it shifts my paradigm from logic based to creative base.

Do you have any strategy or habits when designing? Would you mind revealing your favorite app while working?
Brianbinar : I usually start with finding out the problem, and then I start with the wireframe and the user flow to solve the problem before polishing them in the final mockup. I usually use Sketch and Illustrator to create icons or illustrations.
IbrahimHrp: I do sports everyday before I start designing. Sometimes I jog, swim, or practice martial arts as it helps me to stay fresh and focused. If i’m stuck, I take a break and go to dojo :). For tools, currently I use Sketch and Adobe Photoshop. As the design process begins, I start listening to my favorite song.

Which challenge type do you prefer working on: concept design or production and why?
Brianbinar : Concept design. The chances to win are bigger I think, hehe.
IbrahimHrp: I love concept challenges because it helps me grow faster by working on something I’ve never done before. Actually, I lost a lot in concept challenges but because of it things get better day by day.

Is there any favorite challenges you particularly liked and why? I saw you won on many Topcoder challenges.
Brianbinar : RUX Customer Portal Design Concepts dashboard I think, because it was my first time RUX win.
IbrahimHrp: My favourite challenge is from Wipro and Topcoder, because miraculously I often get placement in their challenges.


IbrahimHrp’s photo

As a new member, what do you find the most difficult in Topcoder challenges?
Brianbinar : The required pages to work and how to deliver them by checkpoint time.
IbrahimHrp: For me difficult challenges is designing for the ipad and mobile native apps because I lack experience on their layouts.

Is there any designer in the Topcoder design community that you admire?
Brianbinar : Iamtong perhaps, still curious how he can win so many challenges here.
IbrahimHrp: Of course, Abedavera.

What tools are you using for design?
Brianbinar: I use Sketch, pencil, and paper.
IbrahimHrp: I use Sketch and Adobe Photoshop, but sometimes I learn Adobe Illustrator.

If you could add any new information for new members on the site, what would that be? Is there anything missing in the help center or our process that would be useful?
Brianbinar: I think personalization following articles, and challenge reminder features.
IbrahimHrp: I think it would be nice to put a recommended challenges section for the new members dashboard so they can easily jump onboard. This section content can be a less screen and device required challenge or maybe it has a long deadline.

Would you recommend Topcoder to other friends and why?
Brianbinar: Sure I would, because this platform really will helps you to be a better designer.
IbrahimHrp: Yes I would. I already recommended Topcoder to some of my friends especially with IT backgrounds because I want to help them broaden their knowledge and share with them the benefits of joining Topcoder.


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