What is your Topcoder story?
I'm a Topcoder member since 2004. I managed to become red in the algorithm track and qualify for the Google Code Jam final in 2006 (which was held through Topcoder), and since then Topcoder always had a warm place in my heart.
The first time I seriously competed in the marathon TCO was in 2014 (in terms of spending days and nights in a row coding). I managed to qualify for the TCO 2015 Marathon final, where I placed 4th onsite.
In 2016, the competition for qualifying for the final got even more intense, with 2 direct spots per qualifier round. I managed to place first in the last qualifier round, thereby securing my participation this year.
I'm really excited to be competing again this year, and I hope to (significantly :P) beat my placement from last year!
I like TopCoder because I get to compete with the best in the world. I started in the Algorithms track, and transitioned gradually to the Marathon and Machine learning contests.
I like the latter for the added skills they brought. Competing for 2 weeks in a Marathon/Machine learning contest requires a lot of non-CS skills: stamina, motivation, confidence, willingness to keep trying new ideas even if the previous 20 failed, etc.
Additionally, there is also a healthy component of real world engineering skills: making sure you have no bugs, optimizing your code to the bone and also designing your code such that it will not become a total spaghetti mess in 2 weeks
Tell us about something in your life, outside of Topcoder, that you are most proud of.
I'm really proud of all the things I got to experimence until now, be it varied work projects, travel all over the world, friendships across lots of cultures and supporting my girlfriend in her quest to become a computer scientist.