TC50: Trollim Lets Coders Battle For Programming Superiority

Coding is a highly competitive industry where programmers are often pitted against each other based on level of skill and ability. TechCrunch50 startup Trollim has created a competition platform and social network for programmers that assesses their coding skills through coding battles.

Users are identified as “trolls” on the platform and once a user signs up, he or she fills out a profile that includes their age, location and coding language skills (C++, Ruby, PHP etc.). Trollim then gives the user 3 to 6 pieces of code, or a “test,” to fix to asses their baseline level of skill and based on the results of this test, the user is given a skill level of 1 though 5. Once a user has been assigned a skill level, he can then start challenging other programmers on the site to one on one battles, where trolls have to fix different pieces of code, or “rumbles,” where multiple programmers participate in a battle. As you win battles, Trollim’s proprietary algorithms will evaluate your skills and increase your coding skill level. Trollim says that you can search for users by country, skill level or age, letting users battle a variety of other programmers. Users can also see statistics and metrics on their skill level and improvement. You can also publish your ratings as a widget to a blog or web site.

Trollim is hoping to engage businesses by letting them access the site to find skilled programmers. For example, TechCrunch could sponsor a Ruby battle or rumble between coders if we needed a skilled Ruby programmer. Companies can give out prizes to the winners (or employment opportunities) and also receive detailed statistics from Trollim on participating programmers (if the programmers authorize this).

Expert Panel Q&A (paraphrased)

The experts: Satish Dharmaraj, Lior Zorea, Bradley Horowitz, Tim O’Reilly, Kevin Rose

TO: I’m curious about a couple of things. Love the idea. Assessment is the key to learning. How do you develop the assessments in terms of code?

A: We test the users with code, bugs. In the end, there is a diffenece between coders andwe try to map these areas.

BH: Everything is about debugging?

A: Yes

BH: But those are the developers I want to hire, the ones who can code for hours. There’s more to programming than just debugging.

SD: I like the idea a lot. Maybe it should be more of a gaming platform, rather than a assessment?

A: There are two different versions. There is a gaming platform. But we want to get the enterprises in.

KR: I like the gaming aspect. This could be something to put on your elance profile.

A: One of the features is a rating widget. We will have a Troll village, we’ll also have a rating for companies.

LZ: Sounds like you are focused on smaller businesses.

A: Have five different levels and we are matching people around the globe.



Other Coverage:
TC50: Battle other coders to to prove yourself at Trollim VentureBeat.
Trollim throws programming gauntlet SDTimes.