All Things Upwork
November 1, 2013 by Mollie Carter

On your mark, get set, code!

At 11:00 am MSK on Saturday, October 19th, over one thousand developers across Russia and Ukraine entered oDesk’s Coding Challenge. Participants had four hours to solve two puzzles, choosing from a list of 15 coding languages.

Both experienced oDesk developers and those new to oDesk came out in large numbers for the chance to demonstrate their skills to prospective clients; we had created an exclusive developer group on oDesk open only to the top performers. But they were also vying for the grand prize—a trip to Silicon Valley and an in-person interview with oDesk.

Serhiy Bardakov, an experienced oDesk developer, said that in addition to the two reasons mentioned above, he competed because he was excited to test his skills against other top developers. “I like solving complex problems,” he told us, “and of course it is always fun to compete with other professionals.”

oDesk Coding Challenge Champs GroupWhatever their reason for participating, the overall performance of the participants was impressive. Many developers—including Serhiy—aced the contest, with more than 100 developers receiving a perfect score. The top performers were invited to join oDesk’s Coding Challenge group, which is being promoted to oDesk clients with open jobs for developers— helping to connect skilled developers with clients who need their expertise.

To tease out a single winner from this group of top performers, we considered time spent completing the challenge as well as the quality of the code. After carefully reviewing these criteria, we selected Andrew Shulayev as the winner. “I was shocked when I heard the news,” he said. “I’ve never been to the USA before and I’m excited to make the trip.”

While in California, Andrew will receive a guided tour of Silicon Valley tech companies, including oDesk. He will also interview on-site for a spot on oDesk’s engineering team. “I’m really looking forward to going through the interview process and exploring a place where lots of now-famous Internet companies were founded,” he told us.

Many other high-performing developers—while not traveling to California just yet—are benefiting from the increased exposure to global companies brought on by the contest. Kuzma Kudim, for example, received two job invites from oDesk as a result of his strong performance. He says he chooses to work on oDesk because the platform makes it easy to compare earnings and expectations for a wide variety of jobs in one place. He also likes the flexibility: “I had two full-time programming positions before, but I prefer freelancing because of the freedom,” he said.

Serhiy, who is also a member of the Coding Challenge Champs group, agrees that the freedom to choose where, when and for whom he works is a major benefit of being a freelance developer on oDesk. He explains, “What I like most is the flexibility, including the flexibility in projects, time and earnings. Most of my clients on oDesk are very understanding, so I get to set my own hours. I also like being able to choose which projects I work on. For example, I can work in new areas to grow my skills for lower rates. Or, I can work on well-paid projects in areas in which I have a lot of expertise.”

Congratulations to all the developers who participated in the oDesk Coding Challenge!

Want to learn more about the Coding Challenge Champs or the types of jobs that are available for developers on oDesk? Check out the Coding Challenge Champs group here or explore open developer jobs here. Itching for the chance to compete? Stay tuned for future announcements about coding contests in your area!

Mollie Carter

Director of Freelancer Marketing

As director of freelancer marketing, Mollie Carter brings to Elance-oDesk extensive marketing experience in the Internet and software industry. As a senior manager at PayPal, she was part of the founding team for PayPal’s first telesales organization, helping to build the team to an astounding $50M in annual revenue. While director at PayPal, Mollie led the Merchant Acquisition Marketing and Consumer Engagement Marketing divisions, developing… read more