Tuesday, November 11, 2014

[-5 to #TCO14] - TCO14 Rockstars: pt 2

6 Days to Top Coder Open and 6 blog post for each day!
The following is a blog post I wrote for the Top Code Open 2014 blog. Enjoy!


You know what? You are the guy that almost destroied my TopCoder dreams! Yes that's true, I'm talking honestly! After the Cloudspokes experience (in which I felt really comfortable, really high % of wins, considered by someone a rockstar) and after the beautiful TCO13 experience, I finally started competing into TopCoder...and what happens? You were the one that made me feel a noob! Why? Because the first challenge I did which I thought I'd won, was won by you with an impressive 100% score.

They say "face your demons", that's why after seeing you winning the TCO14 Development final and after beeing honored to be asked to write some posts for TCO14, I thought that writing of you would have been a good subject (you are not my demon, I'm just kidding!).

Dear audience, I'm actually talking to TCO14 Development champion Sky_.

So let's start with some noob questions: what do u do in your life and how did u start coding? How did u get to the TopCoder's community? How TopCoder changed your professional life and your productivity?

I started coding in High School. My first programming language was Pascal and I was solving only algorithmic problems. I believe all programmers start their career in the same way. I heard about TopCoder in High School, because tomek had won TopCoder Open, but I hadn't heard about Development Track until I went to the University. I remember when 5-6 years ago I was reading about Development Component track (it was very popular those days, but now it's dead at the moment) and I was trying to compete in few contests. Unfortunately my codings skills were very low and I was unable to do anything so. I gave up TopCoder for 4 years. During these 4 years I've been studying and working as a .NET developer and I came back to TopCoder 2 years ago. I was looking for a better job, so I've decided to quit my current one and do full time TopCoder contests.

In a scale from "I'm not a nerd, shut up and give me your lunch's money!" to "Beam me up, Scotty" how much do you feel nerd? If your are dangerously near the Star Trek limit, how does this helped you in your coding carreer? In your professional experiece, did you find "geekyness" a common "language" that goes across countries and cultures?

I am not a nerd and I don't like Star Trek :) I've never met geeks or nerds in my job. "Geekyness" might be a common "language", but only for World of Warcraft players or anime fans.

Personally I feel awkward when I say to other "common people" that programming is not only my job but also one of my strongest passions. What do you think about it? Same feeling? Do you have any other hobby? How does them helped you in your professional life? If you could choose, what did you wanted to be / do in your life?

I agree. You won't be a good programmer if programming is not your passion. People who choose this job only because of money will never be successful. I hate people saying "Will I earn good money as a programmer if I learn xxx book or finish yyy course?". If you don't have passion you might be a coder, but never a top coder.(This is the quote of the day!!) I don't have any special hobbies. I used to play poker and it's changed my attitude towards money, so now I am not scared about of losing or winning any money. I am also happy about my current life.

If you have to leave for TCO14 with only 3 objects in your luggage, what would you choose? (and BTW will you actually bring them to San Francisco?)

Laptop and my mobile phone, because the flight will be very long. Nothing else special.

Will you be the next TCO15 champion?

Hard to say, because TCO15 will be different than TCO14. TC Admins are going to do the onsite tournament and they haven't announced any information about the finals yet. I hope the onsite event will be different than current F2F finals.