Interview with TCO17 Code Finalists

September 28, 2017 Harshit Mehta

As the date for the Topcoder Open (TCO) approaches, it is an exciting time for the community! We get to celebrate and check out the stars that have made it all the way onsite to the finals. These lucky and talented members have competed in TCO eligible challenges, earned TCO points and got the golden ticket to the TCO Finals in the USA!

Let’s see how the best Coders managed to get the ticket for the TCO17 finals that will be held in Buffalo, NY and learn a little about their secrets to success. Besides the underlying theme of hard work, competing, and a dash of luck — each competitor gives a different insight into what it takes to be good at Code. There’s something for everyone in this interview!

What was your secret to getting the ticket for the TCO17 finals?

birdofpreyru:

I believe, my answer will cover all three questions. When I was actively competing at Topcoder (nowadays I have moved to do copiloting instead), I was doing it full time, like a regular job. Rather than waiting for challenges of my favorite types, or those giving more money or TCO points; I was choosing the next challenge to work on, from available ones, as soon as I was done with my previous challenge. And I did my best to ensure that whenever I start a challenge, I will submit a feasible solution; no matter whether there are better challenges started in parallel, or the task turned out to be too difficult, or the competition turned out to be a way to high.

If you do it this way, even when you lose a challenge, you gain valuable experience. In the long run you will find that your experience grows rapidly, you start winning more often, your money and TCO points also grows faster. I believe, if you follow such an approach, you’ll surely get your ticket for TCO18! Otherwise, if you participate in Topcoder challenges just for fun, from time to time, you still have a chance, but it will really demand some luck.

fivestarwy :

Try to compete 😊

Sky_ :

There is no secret. Actually, It’s very easy to qualify to TCO.

billsedison :

Focus on the TCO-eligible challenges and work hard.

ouyangki :

Working hard

jiangliwu :

I didn’t pay much attention to TCO, I’ve just been always doing challenges.

ketzjs09 :

There’s no secret . I actually just had no deliberate intentions to compete for TCO leaderboard and just participated in challenges that I believed I could get a prize in, and eventually found myself in the top 10 of the leaderboard. Then, in the last 2 weeks of the stage, I worked a little harder and thankfully ended up getting the ticket.

veshu :

Luck!  🤗

spanhawk :

Hard work and dedication

seriyvolk83 :

I spend all my time to work for the challenges to earn enough points.


What advice would you give to a new member who wants to start competing on Code?

fivestarwy :

Try to compete 😊

Sky_ :

Buy anti-stress tea because there is a lot of frustration during the review phase 😉

billsedison :

Start competing on some challenges with a small scope and try to learn required skills in a short time. Try your best to submit on time. Even if you don’t win, you will definitely learn a lot from the responses of the reviewers and the winning submission. Then the next time you will have a higher probability to win. 🤔

ouyangki :

You might not succeed soon, but once you keep competing, you will be more and more closer to TCO.

jiangliwu :

Try to understand the tech basic concept, and make sure understand all requirements before start code challenges.

ketzjs09 :

There are a lot of nuances in Topcoder which take time in getting used to. So allow yourself a few challenges to settle in. Apart from that, the usual advice would be to understand the problem accurately, and whenever in doubt, don’t back away from asking for a clarification in the forums.

veshu :

Believe on yourself and start right away

spanhawk :

Don’t give up.

seriyvolk83 :

Learn the errors and avoid repeating them.


What makes you such a top-class competitor? What is your working motto?

birdofpreyru :

My favorite motto: The difficult will be done fast, the impossible will take just a bit longer.

fivestarwy :

Try to compete 😊

Sky_ :

20% of skill, 10% of luck and 200% of hard work. I don’t have any motto.

billsedison :

Work hard and keep learning new skills. My working motto is: Move fast and fail early. Few people could be successful in the very first time, so if you do it fast and fail early, you will have more chance to try again and be successful in a shorter time.

ouyangki :

Working hard and some of luck I think, and the motto: Live and learn.

jiangliwu :

I am newbie , so I was lucky I got a chance to TCO17. My motto is “stay hungry, stay foolish.”

ketzjs09 :

Not sure if I’m a top-class competitor or not, but there’s a generic motto which I usually employ in all Topcoder challenges, which is: “understand the problem well”.

veshu :

Keep learning

spanhawk :

Take one step at a time and work towards a final goal.

seriyvolk83 :

A good mathematical background. It is a base for CS skills. I don’t have a motto.

This article is part of the 5 Weeks to Learn Topcoder educational series. Want to learn more? Check out the entire series and all the helpful content here.

 

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