CoPilot Trip Winner
About Dr. Sergey Pogodin
I did my Masters in Physics in Moscow. Then moved to do my PhD in Chemical Engineering in Tarragona, Spain. For a few years after, I worked as a Post-Doctoral researcher in The Chemical Research Institute of Catalonia. Eventually I decided to pursue a career in professional software engineering for businesses. I learned about Topcoder, started to compete, started to win, quit my job in academia, and am now doing very well, working on the stuff I always wanted to work on. I became Development and Data Science Copilot, won the 2017 Topcoder Open Development Champion title, 2018 Topcoder Spirit Award, participated in the Community Advisory Board, and am also a member of the Topcoder Most Valuable Player program.
What is the most interesting project you copiloted at Topcoder and why?
The Signator project for John Hancock was the most interesting because it was challenging, and it was the most complete development project for an external client that I had copiloted from the very beginning until almost the very end.
It started with a rough brief from the client on the problem they wanted to solve: to implement a better way to generate interactive financial reports and distribute them to their sales representatives. Once the project was approved by the client, we did a full cycle of design and development with the help of our awesome design copilots and community members.
I copiloted most of the development work in this project, with the exception of the front-end design, UI Prototyping, and the very last code fixes. It left a feeling of great accomplishment, and I especially liked the fact that most of the work done on this project was won from the client by the excellent execution of the trial PoC challenge, which was acclaimed by the client’s management.
What is your most memorable Topcoder challenge and why?
As a competitor, I will always remember the first competition I particiapated in: The DNAS 1 Marathon Match. Though I lost that match, my life was changed for the better as it led me to becoming an active Topcoder community member.
Is Topcoder your full time job and if so, why does it work for you?
Topcoder was my full time job for two years, but recently I started to take Science and Development work from 3rd party clients. While it is a great feature of Topcoder that people who are experts in sales and customer relations deal with the clients, I wanted to experience that side of the business as well and broaden my horizons.
What do you do when not working?
My current main hobby and goal for this summer is to master windsurfing. I also love traveling, snowboarding, and photography.
Where do you work? Tell us about your space(s).
My main office is in the living room of my rooftop flat in Valencia. Fast Internet, nice view from the windows, a large terrace, and an endless supply of coffee. It’s everything I need in order to not have to exit the flat for days if the current workload requires all my time.
If you could give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would give my past self a list of future projects to avoid.
What kind of music do you listen to while working on your solutions?
Depends on my mood. From relaxing chill out mixes to angry and motivating hard rock and metal.
What is the dream project you want to build, design, or solve for?
I would like to do a VR experience project, directing it from the captain’s seat.
What’s the best tip or piece of advice you can share with other members at Topcoder?
Be strategic in your choice of challenges and projects. Look for a good balance of average wins with reasonable effort and a steady gain of experience that will be useful in the future. Become reasonably experienced in a wide variety of things, rather than deeply experienced in one thing.
What does Topcoder mean to you?
Life changer and paradigm breaker.
What are you most excited about for this year’s TCO Finals?
Getting to meet up again with all the amazing community members and seeing in person how the community and company has evolved.
Do you strive to be at TCO every year and if so, why does it matter to you?
Topcoder and Topcoder Open have become an integral part of my life. Going to TCO feels like visiting relatives who you don’t get to see often, but that you are always thinking about.
What was your secret to getting a ticket for the TCO finals more than once?
Full time (or close to it) participation in Topcoder challenges and projects.