An interview with PaulJefferys

Read about our TCO17 Finalists.
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How did you get into programming?

I wanted to do the Informatics Olympiad because the questions looked neat. So I taught myself.

Which IDE do you use and why?

XCode on a Mac for C++ because its there. Eclipse or Intellij for Java and RStudio for R both because that's what my teams have used.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you within the Topcoder community?

I managed to arrange my first date with my wife in the middle of a programming contest. I spent a fair bit of time thinking that I should move the date but in the end I missed an hour of the contest!

If you could go head to head with another algorithm or marathon competitor, who would you want to compete against and why?

I'm pretty excited about going up against Psyho at Marathon. He's got this really annoying habit of explaining what he did post match and you think 'oh, that's so obvious'. But of course, it wasn't at the time because you didn't do it.

Tell us about an achievement that you are most proud of.

Getting more points than Psyho in the TCO qualification (ok, I know that's not fair, he didn't even try.)

Best music album to code to?


What books do you recommend?

Master of the Senate by Robert Caro. It is a wonderful piece of writing. I don't know any books that are even close to being in the same league as it.

Tabs or spaces?

I've never given it much thought. Now if we could instead discuss the relative merits of UK and US keyboards….

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

How do you feel about the TCO17 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?



Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC)
Booz | Allen | Hamilton
Meituan Dianping

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