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Re: Hobby (response to post by RachaelLCook) | Reply
I can see how you didn't want to bring up TopCoder on your interviews, it can lead to embarrassing questions like "Oh really? What's your handle there?" :p
Re: Hobby (response to post by slex) | Reply
Touche! I actually have a reasonable response prepared for the "what's up with your handle?" question (or at least as close to reasonable as one can get) but no one has asked it yet! (Which supports my theory that most interviewers don't really look at/care about your TopCoder profile.)
Re: Hobby (response to post by RachaelLCook) | Reply
what's up with your handle? :)


P.S: TopCoder is really great on an interview!! The way I got my current job is by talking about the problems I did the whole time.
Here is how the interview went:
Interviewer: So describe your programming experience?
Me: Well at TopCoder I compete in weekly programming contests trying to solve 3 problems of varying difficulty: hard, really hard, and impossible. One of the problems I had to solve was....
Interviewer: Thats impressive. Now could you please tell me what a polymorphism is and give me an example..
Me: Funny that you mentioned polymotriculation(or whatever, I had no idea, what that was) because it reminds me of a 1000 pointer at TopCoder called Ambiguos Hands which appeared on the last SRM. That problem had a really neat algorithm. The way you solve it is....
Re: Hobby (response to post by RachaelLCook) | Reply
Indeed.

My main hobby is football (soccer) I play it because I love the game and enjoy competition and the team aspect of the game, not because it give me a novel way to approach programming problems.

I do mention that I support Southend United FC on my CV/Resume and I know many people who feel that they clinched jobs after discussing football with their interviewer.

Edit - All of them work in London however!
Re: Hobby (response to post by RachaelLCook) | Reply
They probably don't really care what your hobby is. But because it's your hobby, you should be comfortable explaining things in that area. It's a good way to see if you're good at explaining something you know more about than the interviewer. And it's also a good way to start the interview so that the interviewee is a bit relaxed when you get to the (for the most people) tough questions.
Re: Hobby (response to post by RachaelLCook) | Reply
I never met anyone on the UK who knew anything about TopCoder. In one interview someone thought they recognised the name, but that was it.
Re: Hobby (response to post by Chikov2) | Reply
same question here, what's with your handle RachaelLCook? :)
Re: Hobby (response to post by pinoydream) | Reply
Maybe a crush? ;-)
Re: Hobby (response to post by supo) | Reply
So RachaelLCook is a male? :O
Re: Hobby (response to post by supo) | Reply
Back in the early days of TopCoder, you could actually change your handle at will. As you can imagine, this led to a lot of shenanigans and confusion with everyone showing up every week with a different handle. One week at one of the SRMs, people were discussing the movie Antitrust and its unrealistic depiction of the software industry/programmers/etc. (this was one of those movies where a hacker could sit down and in 3 minutes reprogram any computer anywhere in the world to do anything). As a joke I changed my handle to RachaelLCook and logged back in pretending to be the RLC character in the movie. I didn't bother changing my handle back after the match, and sure enough, the next time I came back to TopCoder, they had "locked" the handles and you could no longer change them. So, now I am RachaelLCook permanently!

I decided to run with the idea and not upload my real picture because I figured it couldn't hurt if the review boards think that I really look like this.
Re: Hobby (response to post by RachaelLCook) | Reply
Real reply or one made for interview ;)
Re: Hobby (response to post by rohitgupta14) | Reply
Well, I guess it's possible that there were other factors involved. :-) That's why I'm not interviewing at the NSA, so that I won't be asked about RachaelLCook while strapped to a lie detector machine!
Re: Hobby (response to post by RachaelLCook) | Reply
You may be able to change your handle if you asked for it. But I can understand that now you want to hold to it. At the UVA my handle is ElAmo (TheMaster), I could change it now, but it is so much cooler than any other one that I am not going to change it:P
Re: Hobby (response to post by shalinmangar) | Reply
And here we come to one of the major things that bug me about English language. You can chat with a person for hours never finding out their sex. In Slovak, for example, you can tell after few sentences. Isn't it just lame?
Re: Hobby (response to post by d000hg) | Reply
It's better for d000hg to not meet anybody in UK who will be aware of d000hg endless postings in TopCoder forums ;-)
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