An interview with VietHTran

Read about our TCO18 Finalists.
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How did you get to where you are today at Topcoder?

I participated Topcoder in order to get some hands-on experience in the industry when I was doing my undergraduate research in the summer. After losing a couple of times and getting some brutal reviews, I learned from my mistakes and from other winners' approaches and eventually I began to win a lot more often. Although I didn't not always get first places, I did make some progress from where I started. ๐Ÿ™‚

What is your best strategy for tackling a project or challenge?

– Read through the challenge description carefully and ask anything you feel ambiguous.
– Visualize and plan ahead your approach (a note and a pen usually helps). Ask yourself if you are able to complete the requirement on time with your current resources and skill. Can you at least be able to pass the reviews?
– Treat the challenge as a real job and try to spend 5-8 hours a day working on the challenge.
– After you have your submission cleaned up and ready. Make sure you can set up your program from your submission and instruction. Record a demo video is the best way to make sure your don't make any mistake in the documentation/code. It also helps overcome the language barrier (sometimes OS-barrier).
– Compress and upload your submission. Remember to select the right zip file. ๐Ÿ™‚

How do you keep up with current trends and advances in this field?

I occasionally check out Hacker News to check out the latest technologies, frameworks, etc. I also check on the past challenges on Topcoder and its winners-submissions ratio in order to see which skills are in demand and which are more competitive.

What are you most looking forward to for the TCO Finals?

I'm hoping to learn a thing or two from the best people in the Topcoder community in order to improve my performance in the next year.

Tell us what achievement you are the most proud of.

I achieved second place in the Topcoder – Skill Importer Framework PoC challenge where there are 16 submissions. Some submitters have more wins and more experience than I do in Node.js. I only started to learn Node.js one or two weeks prior to the challenge.

If you wrote your own developer profile, what would it say?

Khajiit has code if you have coin.

Offline, what is your favorite thing to do?

I like studying history, biographies and going to the gym.

We asked the Finalists to use emojis in response to the following questions.

How do you feel about the TCO18 Finals?


How do you feel when you win a Topcoder challenge?


What is your spirit animal?


What's the weather like at your house right now?


What are your hobbies?




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