Once you go dark you never go light, they say. It’s what our special guest, [MonicaMuranyi], represents today; a well-known community member who has successfully walked through all the tracks of Topcoder, Design, Development and Data Science. Nowadays she spends her days having lots of fun in “the Dark Side”, the not so common area for designers to visit, the development track. Darth Vader would have never been happier to have signed up someone that talented for his side.

It’s really stunning to find someone with natural hybrid skills for both design and development at a high quality level; it’s not a very common case for sure. We’re lucky to count on this rare species in our community, with such a rich background in design but also a solid present in development skills, acknowledging her lots of recognitions, dozens of articles (you can find them all over the site), four (4) TCO qualifications and a super competitive spirit.

We’re going to have the chance to unveil her secrets to succeed in the dark side. For a start, the romanian sith starts her day waking up very early in the morning alongside a very healthy breakfast and sunny days.


Cereals and coffee provide the necessary energy to make airships levitate. It would have saved lots of troubles for Luke if he knew.



Every beginning has a beginning. Monica’s passion for the attention to details and sensitivity made her explore areas such as photography and graphic design. And we all can guess where this leads when you meet Studio in the middle; the obsession for making everything beautiful and sharpening up skills.

But even before succeeding in Studio, her photography skills gave her prizes. I think she should change her motto from “You don’t have to know how to shine the sun. You just do it. Like you breath. – Alan Watts” to “Monica – nailing it since my birthday”. This woman only knows how to win – FOR REAL! I want you to blow your mind watching this picture as much as I did when I first time saw it.

“I was competing in photography contests before. This photography made me win a cool phone back in 2009 :) ”.

It doesn’t surprise me! Not at all. What does surprises me, in a good way, is the fact of how fast and effective she was turning into the development side (competition-wise). I even remember the first Studio challenge she won was the first challenge I launched as a copilot. And then just like that, all of the sudden, winning challenges in prototypes and code.

“I began doing Studio storyboards. Moved to prototypes and then the dark side attracted me, followed by mod dash and finally assembly and code”.

It’s been a six (6) years path so far, from 2010, studying, learning and competing. The competition process in development is quite different than graphic design. Starting with the fact of the review process driven by community members, leading to setting scores to submissions with possibility to argue any flaws. So what fun reason could you have to stay?

Re-appeals are the most fun!!! Because it’s the next layer of complaining after appeals and usually you are angry at that point 😀.

I guess some people really like to fight, ah? I mean, compete… compete.



The Rio Olympic Games 2016 just finished a few weeks ago. They left us great memories and nearly impossible achievements. As well as Romania left us one of the greatest achievements in sports, the first gymnast in olympic history to receive a perfect score (10.0), Nadia Comăneci. Romania also left us the legacy of achieving perfect scores but now in Topcoder.


Monica Comăneci, missing sister of Nadia, scoring a perfect 100/100 in TC.

Is it possible to score 100 out of 100 in a development challenge? That was a question making noise in my head and it turns out that yes, it’s possible, it’s been achieved, and guess by who. That’s it, you win a candy for those super detective skills you just showed off. However, you would have had more candies if you would have also guessed that she hasn’t achieved it only once, but two, three, four and only God knows how many more, she doesn’t even remember, no need to keep the count. It must not be very easy to achieve I’m sure, I wonder how she does it!

“Hmm, thinking about the code you want to write before writing it, not making many code design compromises and always adding 12-24h to your estimation. Usually I don’t write any code in the first day of the challenge. Just thinking and reading the base code”.



After being a four-time consecutive finalist traveling to TCOs, you can have a solid perspective of what you like about it. But it’s really tough to choose what’s your favorite thing about it. If you ask me I’d say the food, no doubt. No, no, no, kidding (maybe not). I won’t say it, not today. But I did put Monica on the spot, no mercy!

“For me… the competition, the adrenaline but also the other members! I love to see them in person”.



When you have to reply as fast as you can, you get some pressure on. I don’t like written interviews too much because there is lot of time to think and review, I prefer spontaneous replies! Just like these random questions at speed light!

#1. If you had a time machine what use would you give to it?

Hmm, I wouldn’t use it, I like the present. That’s where you can modify stuff.

#2. What profession would you NOT like to do?

Sales representative.

#3. What is it that you most dislike?

A stationary mind state.

#4. What is your favorite word?

Noah (expression in romanian).



If you have read this far you must be wondering what is this kind of unorganized and nonsense writing. Let me tell you something mister/mistress! First, thanks for getting so far, and second, I can tell you what this is NOT, a formal interview. It’s a casual, spontaneous and ordinary 30 minute conversation that I can have with my fellow community brothers and sisters during the morning and try to come up with a summary of any interesting facts I can get from them; again, in a normal slash casual, back and forth conversation about random topics.

Beware, I could possibly knock any door (slack DM), any morning of my weeks to have some chity-chata time with YOU and then go crazy writing about it.

See ya brodas!