Sunday, November 16, 2014

[-1 to #TCO14] - TCO14 for Dummies

6 Days to Top Coder Open and 6 blog post for each day!

I'm almost there, I'm writing from Rome airport waiting for the flight that will bring me (in "just" 15 hours) to San Francisco.

Move out, the geek army is coming!

The following is a blog post I wrote for the Top Code Open 2014 blog. Enjoy!

When I talked to my wife (a proud non tech-addicted woman) about blog post subjects, she first asked me "What is TCO? How can you describe this event to people that are not coders?".

This has been a really good suggestion.

The Topcoder Open is about passion.

What do you call spending hours a day sitting in front of a computer trying to solve problems, creating new awesome apps, and exploring new technologies?

This is without doubts called passion.

Non technical people often ask me how I do my job, what programming looks like, and when I start describing it they watch me like I'm a big genius (or a strange alien). This happens because I don't have a computer at my side and can't show them how a window of my app simply shows a bunch of information or a button makes a panel appear (I know, a tech guy that is reading these lines, it is not always that simple, but it's a starting point!).

Sometimes people don't like things just because they never had a chance to test them.

This is your amazing chance!

The Topcoder Open is a great way to see code in action: from the Matrix style coding (Algorithm competitions...I must admit I feel a little dumb when watching these kind of competitions) to awesome apps created in few days (like in the Mashahton competition). You can breathe tech passion everywhere for 24 hours a days for the whole event and also learn from the best of the best.

New technologies come out daily and topcoder tries to get the best from them and people are happy to start competing with something they have never tried or seen before, just for the sake of learning and increasing their skills (if this comes with money...well...that will make your day!).

This is the main aspect of the Mashathon Competition: developers spin the API wheel and select 3 APIs (i.e. online data services, such as Facebook, Google,'s like when you use your Google+ account to login to another site or when another site shows your Facebook friends) and all the competitors have to do is write an awesome app that integrates these services and come up with a brand-new and innovative application...isn't it fascinating? I assure you the results are incredible!

If what you want is all but learning to code, you always could participate in the awesome tech talks by leading tech specialists, meet big sponsors (Google, Facebook, Amazon, HP, TwoSigma, and Microsfoft) grabbing tons of gadgets from their booths: for me, this would be a sufficient reason to come!



And yes, there is always a time to party, meet new, awesome people and be part of one of the greatest events of this year!

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