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Hackathon Gold: How To Win a Job Offer In a Coding Competition 25

Posted by samzenpus
from the show-them-what-you-got dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Hackathons have stirred up their share of controversy — mostly around too-big prizes and the inevitable cheating that follows. But for some developers they also can be the ultimate job interview — not just a coding test, but an opportunity to show off your people skills. Take the case of the January 2014 GlobalHack contest in St. Louis that was initially attended by several hundred programmers. The story of the contest isn't who took away the top $50,000 prize but about the other participants who didn't finish in the money but came away with something else that is arguably more important."
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Hackathon Gold: How To Win a Job Offer In a Coding Competition

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    because this d.bag runs it:

    http://valleywag.gawker.com/ha... [gawker.com]

  • by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @08:31PM (#46656449)
    Another famous coding competition of interest, Google Code Jam [google.com] is about to start... (registration ends in a week),
    • Re:Google Code Jam (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JMZero (449047) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @09:15PM (#46656775) Homepage

      Google Code Jam is a really super excellent way to get into algorithm programming competitions, at least in North American. The serious competitors are pretty thin on the ground here (or at least they have been in past years) so with a bit of commitment, some programming experience, and a little luck, getting to the on site rounds is very achievable.

      It's especially a great opportunity if you're interested in working at Google - doing well will definitely attract their attention.

      It's also one of the most approachable competition formats; it's very "approach agnostic", and doesn't focus on anything too obscure in terms of required knowledge or skills. The time bounds are loose enough that you don't have to worry about things like "reading from a file efficiently". The initial rounds usually just test whether you can do basic programming. The test cases they supply do a good job of making sure you get things like formatting right - meaning you get to focus on the actual problem instead of goofy side issues.

      Very well run contest, and lots of fun even if you're not a real expert.

      • Just looked at some of the questions and they look mostly like standard read input and spit out an optimization answer. As someone else said on Slashdot years ago, the problem with such puzzlers is they select for people who like solving complex tasks, not for people who like avoiding such tasks and like helping others avoid them (as in people full of diligently applied hard-working laziness). For a company like Google that supposedly prides itself on making easy to use software, this would seem to indicate

        • It isn't like Code Jam is their main stream of employee finding, and in general their engineer interviews are less puzzly than they used to be.

          Google has a broad variety of problems that need solving, including a lot of problems where understanding algorithms is tremendously important. If anything Code Jam allows Google to cast a broader, more inclusive, fairer net - giving opportunities to people to shine who don't have a degree from MIT education or who don't fit the average software developer mold.

  • not for the job (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday April 03, 2014 @10:52PM (#46657497) Journal
    Hackathons are great, but there are easier ways to find jobs.
    • by pla (258480)
      Hackathons are great, but there are easier ways to find jobs.

      No, actually, I would very much have to disagree with that.

      I got my first job out of HS (over two decades past, now) in a "hackathon" for a scholarship with a bonus summer internship (which evolved into a "real" job once I graduated, though I earned that part, it didn't come as part of the package).

      Although I eventually moved beyond that job, I have honestly never gotten another job that easily since then. And suffice it to say, having won
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's a nice anecdote, but I'd have to agree with the parent. First of all, jobs available through hackathons must be several orders or magnitude less numerous than jobs available via other means. Second, the process of going through an interview to get a job is not that difficult. Throw on a suit and answer some questions. You may not get an offer from every interview, but you won't win every hackathon either.

        I don't think there's anything wrong with hackathons, but I don't think your view meshes well wit

  • . . . but about the other participants who didn't finish in the money but came away with something else that is arguably more important.

    I think I know what it is. After going on your life-changing journey, you now realize you don't want what you thought you wanted. What you really wanted was inside you all along.

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