Please subscribe to the official Codeforces channel in Telegram via the link: https://t.me/codeforces_official. ×

riela's blog

By riela, history, 11 days ago, In English,

Mwa ha ha ha ha I'm the mad sports programmer (sp) Hououin Riela! I was busy stopping the organization plans and didn't had time to write blog entries.

My archnemesis teja[some numbers] once told me that I was shit posting too much and I should start writing contests, so I searched in the web and found some problem setter guides:

  1. codeforces: https://codeforces.com/blog/entry/49569 (It took me a while to find it, I think it should be more accessible in cf

  2. topcoder: https://www.topcoder.com/tc?module=Static&d1=help&d2=problemWriter&node=algo_write

  3. codechef: https://www.codechef.com/problemsetting

  4. hackerearth: https://www.hackerearth.com/docs/wiki/developers/setter-guide/

It turns out that online judges pay for writing problems! I know that most people set contests just because its fun, but the payments are not negligible:

codeforces (300$ 400$ for div1+div2, 150$ 200$ for div2)

topcoder (750$ 1125$ with that amount no wonder why they have high quality problems!)

codechef (They pay per problem, for short contests 475$)

I don't know how much they pay in hackerearth, hackerrank, ...

Now I'm curious: are there professional problem setters that makes a living just by writing problems?

 
 
 
 
  • Vote: I like it  
  • +70
  • Vote: I do not like it  

»
11 days ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +41 Vote: I do not like it

Codeforces pays 200$/400$ for now (this changed after the donations for 8th anniversary).

»
11 days ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +64 Vote: I do not like it

Topcoder pays $1125 per problem set now (link). It's too bad it's hard to find this on their website. It is also pretty easy to get into the queue since they are looking for a lot more writers. The current state of problem development in MPSQAS is not ideal, and topcoder is working on improving it.

Hackerearth has a rate card that also pays per problem like codechef and it's up to about $120 for a hard or approximate (and it scales down with difficulty). This means it averages to about ~500 for a circuits round.

  • »
    »
    11 days ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +55 Vote: I do not like it

    Also, to answer the main question, in 2017, I made a little less than 10k in problem writing and testing (but I had another full time job). If this was the only thing I was doing, I'm not sure how much more I could make, since there were some bottlenecks. I would say it might be about ~2-3x if it was a full time effort.

    One big bottleneck of course is coming up with consistently good quality hard problems. Another bottleneck is that there is a queue of writers on some platforms so it's hard to get consistent income from some of them.

    It might be possible to make a living off of it. You need to live in an area with a lower cost of living and you need to be able to write ~2-3 rounds per month (which might be doable by cycling through different platforms). You also could make a bit more by getting involved in testing which does pay on some platforms. I don't know anyone who has done this for their main source of income for a significant amount of time.

  • »
    »
    10 days ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +46 Vote: I do not like it

    What Lewin said :)

    If you have decent experience in algo contests and you are interested in writing (or testing!) rounds for Topcoder, get in touch with me. We would like to have three SRMs per month in 2019 and we are always(ish) looking for new writers and testers.

»
11 days ago, # |
  Vote: I like it +138 Vote: I do not like it

TC pays best, hackerrank and codechef so-so, and finally CF and HE pay poorly. It's hard to prepare problems for TC because of the input size limit and bad MPSQAS system (you can't have more than one solution...). I don't like setting for Hackerrank because they told me not to use "Limak" as an obscure name and they require female names in half the problems. (I don't critize such business decisions, but I don't like it as a setter). If you are new, you will have a hard time setting for CF because it has a big queue. All the mentioned platforms have nice and kind staff btw., so don't be afraid to try.

  • »
    »
    11 days ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +186 Vote: I do not like it

    Female names? Just point that your characters are transgenders with male names — they can't go against it!

    • »
      »
      »
      11 days ago, # ^ |
        Vote: I like it +44 Vote: I do not like it

      Mr duck, unfortunately everyone already knows that limak is a very macho bear.

      • »
        »
        »
        »
        11 days ago, # ^ |
          Vote: I like it +21 Vote: I do not like it

        reverse(limak) == kamil

        • »
          »
          »
          »
          »
          9 days ago, # ^ |
            Vote: I like it +3 Vote: I do not like it

          This was supposed to be an inside :( Now everyone will know, not just the bravest of pun-makers.

      • »
        »
        »
        »
        11 days ago, # ^ |
          Vote: I like it +27 Vote: I do not like it

        You know nothing! In 2018, it's not the nature who decides the gender, but the person theirselves!

        • »
          »
          »
          »
          »
          10 days ago, # ^ |
            Vote: I like it +18 Vote: I do not like it

          You have sex and gender confused. A person's gender can certainly be influenced by non biological factors whereas as a persons sex is determined by their anatomy when they're born aka nature.

  • »
    »
    10 days ago, # ^ |
      Vote: I like it +23 Vote: I do not like it

    Tell them that on all levels but physical, Limak is a female bear. Or just don't use your fursona all the time.

  • »
    »
    10 days ago, # ^ |
    Rev. 2   Vote: I like it +33 Vote: I do not like it

    I think people don't like reboots with female cast ;p

    (btw. it would be terrible to confuse participants by refering to the same character as "he" and "she" in different problems)

    @Xellos, I'm fine with not using the fursona all the time. But "Limak" was explicitly forbidden (well, discouraged in fact) as an obscure name, so I could never use it.

    • »
      »
      »
      10 days ago, # ^ |
        Vote: I like it +50 Vote: I do not like it

      Now the picture of you in a bear costume will haunt me forever.

»
9 days ago, # |
  Vote: I like it -17 Vote: I do not like it

Can anybody doing full-time techmical job share their experience where competetive skills helped them in any situation (or project) ??