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Re: Why TopCoder is so good (response to post by AjJi) | Reply
Good questions AjJi...

Yes, what we're saying is that you (or anyone building software for their own customers) have the opportunity to use TopCoder as part of your own development process, by running contests through TopCoder Direct. The TopCoder members are paid as they are in any TC contest, in fact, you have likely already competed in contests that were launched by TC Direct Partners.

The difference with a Partner and anyone else who can choose to use TopCoder Direct, is that we have trained them to use the TopCoder process properly and they receive a discount on the contest launching fees.

We have a handful of Partners now building software or websites for their own clients, and they work out the costs of that on their own. But rather than spend the hours doing the dev work themselves they are doing it through TopCoder Direct. They pay a fee to launch the contest and they pay the prize money to the members, and they deliver the product to their customer at whatever price they have worked out.

As for co-pilots, we expect to see opportunities to increase across all competition tracks - and UI Prototypes is no exception. Many clients coming to TopCoder Direct want a website built, and can get through the storyboard design on their own, but need help with the next steps.

We are working on a more formal co-pilot program, and will be bringing you the details of that very soon.

Hope that answers some of your questions.

denis
Re: Why TopCoder is so good (response to post by denis) | Reply
"the ability to use TopCoder Direct at reduced rates to build software for their own customers"

I'm not sure I understand, if they are MY customers, why would I use TopCoder Direct ? unless, you mean that topcoder members will help me filling the need of my customer ? but how they'll be paid ?
I'm sure this is a great opportunity, but as you said, it depends on how these details will be handled.

About co-pilot positions, I'd love to see more of that in different categories, I'm not sure copilots are really needed *in all categories*, but being a UI prototyper, I've never seen a co-pilot position for UI prototypes.
Re: Why TopCoder is so good (response to post by Indemar) | Reply
For what it's worth, we are building out new ways to use TopCoder in the "normal job" for software developers, which we think presents an opportunity for current members as well as anyone else.

I'm specifically referring to co-pilots and our TopCoder Authorized Partner Program, which we have not formally announced yet, but I'd be interested to hear your early feedback on it.

Essentially, we'd like give independent developers and small shops (and medium and large shops too), the ability to use TopCoder Direct at reduced rates to build software for their own customers, giving them the opportunity to expand their own capacity and grow their business using the resources of the TopCoder community.

It's the same value proposition that our large corporate customers have, and one we feel can serve the needs of a large number of people now that we have the tools of TopCoder Direct ready for use by individuals.

We know there is a large number of TopCoder members whose "normal jobs" could be enhanced with this and the opportunity to go from competitor to customer (or both) is there, but it also of course serves to increase the volume of competitions coming through TopCoder, so the opportunities for competitors grows as well.

We're still working on a lot of the details, but what do you think?
Re: Why TopCoder is so good (response to post by Indemar) | Reply
You are right it was a bad title, now is fixed.
Re: Why TopCoder is so good (response to post by amiune) | Reply
Must be the title and the comparison with the "normal job". Sorry for that :(.

"I have tried but I didn't submit because I knew that I wasn't as good as higher rated competitors like you, but until I realized that I was very motivated :) In fact, if I find some contest that I like and I think I'm good at that I'm gonna try it again."

Not really, being good at it is not a condition. You will become good at it very fast.. in fact it's even more of a motivation. This is the second part of the reward you get from competing at tc. In a normal company if you fail in a task you get someone screaming at you, here you get 3 reviewers and a PM in the forums that answer your questions and give you feedback which allow you to improve.

I was lame when I started and to some extend I pretty much still am.. got a lot of learning to do. But getting involved has surely helped me and if there's something that I regret is that I didn't start earlier.

Right now the prizes are pretty low and you can get some grumpy reviewers (they're paid low too), but if you have some time and want a real industry problem to sharpen your skills with, don't think about it and what might happen.. just do it. I'm sure you'll be great at it in no time.
Re: Why TopCoder is so good (response to post by Indemar) | Reply
It seems that I wasn't clear in my previous post or maybe nobody wants to see the video.

I'm NOT saying that you should quit your jobs and live from TC competitions prizes.

I'm just talking about motivation at your job, and I think that TC encourage you to be very motivated because you can pick the job you want, do it when you want and you want to code the best solution.

About your recommendations that I should try some software engineering competitions, I have tried but I didn't submit because I knew that I wasn't as good as higher rated competitors like you, but until I realized that I was very motivated :) In fact, if I find some contest that I like and I think I'm good at that I'm gonna try it again.

Anyway, thanks guys for checking my profile :)
Re: Why TopCoder is so good (response to post by amiune) | Reply
It has its ups and downs, like Orange_Cloud suggests. You can really compare once you've been in both industry versus TopCoder (software engineering wise).

While I see in your profile you've done some marathons I'm pretty sure that alone doesn't cover your bills. So try to make a living out of SE doing tc competitions and you'll see how challenging it is.

You can't not notice the trend in the participation from members in SE related competitions (all tracks except SRM and Marathons). Their participation gets large and skills grow fast in a year or two and then they fade out (as in don't participate anymore in any competition). It has happened to 95% of the great developers, designers, reviewers etc.

One would be inclined to say the competition wears them out (yeah right) but the more feasible explanation that I find is that either they finished college and can't get their bottom line to positive anymore or as their skills grow they seize other opportunities.
Re: Why TopCoder is so good (response to post by amiune) | Reply
If it's so good in every way possible, why don't you try some of it? (I assume the post was about software engineering, not srm's) I'm sure, it will greatly reduce your ardour :)
Re: Why TopCoder is so good (response to post by Stroker_Ace) | Reply
You point out some good issues but I think you didn't watch the video because all the things you are mentioning make reference to money, and that's the whole point of the video, more money doesn't mean that you are more motivated and that you will do a better job. When you are working you don't think "I have a retirement plan so I'm going to do this job better and faster".

Also when you sign a contract for a dependent employment relationship, by definition, you don't get much of autonomy.
Re: Why TopCoder is so good (response to post by amiune) | Reply
....or you could apply the principles of Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose and find a job you really enjoy. I'm sure many of us here have.

In many countries this carries the bonus of paid vacation, sick pay, healthcare, pension/retirement plan, redundancy payment etc. etc.
Motivation at work | Reply
The other day I came across this video and it was inevitable to relate it to TopCoder.

The guy talks about motivation at work and enumerate three principles:

Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives.
Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters.
Purpose: the yearning to do something that we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Here are the differences between working at TopCoder and working at a regular job:

Autonomy
In a regular job you must be there at least eight hours and probably you will be wasting six hours on youtube, facebook and reading news.
At TopCoder you manage your time, and if you are efficient you work just 3 or 4 hours per day, you can also take your vacations any time you want.

Mastery
In a regular job nobody knows what you are doing and nobody measures your effort precisely. It's all about smiling at your boss.
At TopCoder your effort is precisely measured and the better you are, the more you get.

Purpose
In a regular job you will be probably doing error fixing.
At TopCoder the Marathon Matches and Software and Design competitions allow you to work on really interesting projects, like for example the Experimental Marathon Matches.
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