How has Topcoder changed your life?
Topcoder has changed my life for good in several ways – it keeps me always in the learning mode, has instilled self-discipline and effective time management capabilities. It has given me exposure to large enterprise clients and cutting-edge technologies which has further helped refine my skills
Do you have a favorite Topcoder customer or project? If so, which customer or project?
I feel proud to have contributed to many customer and project success stories on Topcoder. But If were to pick a few, I'd pick
1) XPrize (https://www.xprize.org/) – they're doing some disruptive work in solving the world's greatest challenges and we built a really sleek Android app for them. I'm now helping them with another project.
2) HPE – They bring in the enterprise application development to the crowd and I've really enjoyed working with them helping build some kick-ass applications
There are several others and I could go on about my project love stories on Topcoder forever and ever!
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you within the Topcoder community?
I attend a a lot of startup events and technology conferences. Last year, I was at a huge startup event with nearly 1000 attendees as an audience where one of Topcoder members was helping as a volunteer organiser. He noticed me sitting in the crowd, told the organisers about me being there and they called me spontaneously on the stage to do a 10 minute talk on my Topcoder story. I was completely unprepared but I think it went well – as there were plenty of smiles and laughs all around. A bit scary but funny for sure!
Tell us about an achievement that you are most proud of.
I've been to 3 TCO finals till date but TCO17 is my first trip as a co-pilot winner. I worked very hard for Stage 4 of TCO17 and I'm proud to have made it to have made it as a Stage winner!
Best music album to code to?
I love old melodies and soft music – I've my headphones on for most of the time I'm working regardless of whether it's 7 AM in the morning or late in the night. It helps me cut out any distractions and puts me 'in the zone'.
Who is your favorite copilot and why (and you can't pick yourself!)?
I'm a copilot myself so I'd be tempted to pick myself. But I'd pick jmgasper and elkhawajah – I've learned a lot from them over the years and they set the benchmark for all other copilots in the community. When it comes to design, I'd pick mahestro – we've teamed up and delivered several successful projects together and I hope to continue working with him in future as well – his sense of aesthetics, design and user experience is amazing!
How did you get into programming?
I was genuinely interested in programming since my childhood. I sold off my bicycle, my video game and several other things so I could buy a used computer. I started off programming in Logo, then moved to Pascal, Fortran and eventually to C before I had even moved to college. Thereafter, the passion for programming grew stronger with every passing year. And even when I'm 40 years old, I proudly say 'I'm a programmer first'.
Which IDE do you use and why?
I used to do almost all my work on Sublime Text but since last year I've moved to Webstorm as it's a very powerful tool with good support for third-party plugins.
What books do you recommend?
I'm a bookworm and I can't go to bed until I read for an hour every day. Here are some of my all time favorite books
Steve Jobs – Isaac Walterson
The Circle of Reason – Amitav Ghosh
The Last Mughal – William Dalrymple
Wings of Fire – Dr. APJ Abul Kalam
The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
I could go on and on! Lock me up in a room with my favorite books and I'd never want to come out again!
Tabs or spaces?
Spaces. I strongly believe they invented tabs for the lazy ones who can’t type in 4 spaces.
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?