Code Vs. Zombies - Final Report

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For the Code VS Zombies contest, participants had to embody a lonesome avenger determined to rescue fellow human beings from the fury of blood-thirsty zombies. The contest was an Optimization game: they had 24 hours to code their character's behavior in an attempt to save the life of as many humans as possible while destroying zombies, and to optimize their program to climb in the rankings.




AmadeusAllegorithmicAsoboStudiosDishIntersecOVHParrotSFEIRTalentsoftZenika and Zenpark offered more than 50 jobs in 9 countries: Canada, France, India, Poland, Spain,Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Ukrain.

A big thanks to all of them!




[INTERVIEW] Opower's Internal Hackathon

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Last September, we had a wonderful time working in an internal hackathon for Opower with Tyler Savage, their Business Operations Associate. The goal was to help their international tech team to meet and have fun together through a programming game.

Thanks a lot to him for this great Interview!


1. Hello Tyler, can you introduce to us Opower and its R&D team?

Opower combines a cloud-based platform, big data, and behavioral science to help utilities around the world reduce energy consumption and improve their relationship with their customers. This helps consumers lower their energy use and costs, and significantly reduces carbon emissions. Opower is transforming the way the world approaches household energy conservation.

We partnered with our first utility client in 2007 from a rented desk in San Francisco. Since then, we’ve grown into a well-capitalized business with more than 560 employees, and offices in Arlington, Virginia, San Francisco, London, Singapore and Tokyo. We work with more than 95
utility partners, including 28 of the 50 largest U.S. electric utilities, and reach more than 50 million
households and businesses across nine countries. Together with our clients and their customers, we’re saving energy, saving money, and helping reduce carbon emissions. Opower’s R&D team is in three location, Arlington, VA - San Francisco, CA - Odessa, Ukraine.

Our engineering and product teams develop Opower’s product line of Home Energy Reports (HERs), Peak Time Rebates, web and mobile frameworks, along with other customer facing tools that focus on analytics and automation.

2. How was the idea at Opower to organize a coding challenge born?

Each year Opower’s engineering organization holds a three day offsite. During the offsite a four-hour hackathon is held to encourage healthy competition and team building. The last few years the focus of the hackathon was on internal technology, so this year we wanted to include a unique coding challenge that had nothing to do with Opower.

3. What were your goals and prerequisites for the event?

The primary goal was to have fun and encourage team building.  Also, we were looking for something very unique and customizable for our group.  We needed all of that to be executed in just four hours, which was likely the most challenging requirement of all!

4. What were the determining criteria in the choice of CodinGame as a partner?

CodinGame met all of our requirements and supported our goals! CodinGame was also incredibly supportive of our tight turn-around timeline leading up to the event.  Over the last month before the hackathon, the CodiGame staff was more than willing to conduct late night meetings to accommodate the international time change. All of their outstanding efforts led to making the event a success.

5. Tell us how the challenge played out and what were the highlights!

The overall highlight was the healthy competition!  Every team was engaged in the game and you could see the folks pair program with all the wheels spinning to overcome the competition.

6. In the end, did the result meet your expectations?

Overwhelmingly, YES! From start to finish, the CodinGame hackathon was a highlight for our engineering team during our annual conference.  Of course, it was the CodinGame staff that made it work so well as the helped get everything set up and even were available for support during the event.

7. In your opinion, what is the real advantage of a CodinGame online challenge compared to traditional team building events?

The CodinGame experience really brought the team building activity to life. Teams were able to participate in healthy competition and bring their own style of coding strategy to the TRON arena.

8. What were, for you, the most positive points in this collaboration with CodinGame? Would you have any suggestions for areas of improvement?

I would suggest trying to find a way for larger team interaction. We had six people on each team, which made it hard for everyone to participate in the CodinGame event. The reason for six people on a team was because we took the approach of having multiple challenges during the hackathon, some technical and others more hands with physical objects. All that to say, finding a way for four to six people to actively code would be awesome! Pair programming is always an option, which I think we tried to do well.

9. And for the future, do you foresee other events of this type?

Yes! A vast majority of the engineers have requested that Opower host other CodinGame events.  So we’ll be setting something up in the near future!

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What Opower's Tech team thought:


"I really enjoyed the TRON competition on CodingGame. The platform provided an exciting and creative way to allow developers from all backgrounds and languages to compete on an even playing field. The ability to run your code as you developed it against competing teams' AIs was particularly fun, as you were able to analyze how your logic reacted to unique strategies. You were also able to try to tease apart what "brains" other teams has imbued into their systems, and try to create a resilient solution to adapt to those strategies.

I think it is a great forum for not only fun competition, but also a healthy learning/collaborative environment used in such a way as to have teams share their code and experiences as we compete."

Nowell Strite, Opower Software Engineer


"I really enjoyed the TRON challenge! I especially liked that no hints or algorithm ideas were given. It forced everyone to go through the thought process of, "How do I move. How do not go off the edge. How do I not kill myself. Good, that's in place, now how do I kill someone else". It was particularly interesting to be able to pull in other people's algorithms and play against them, trying to deconstruct their algorithm and then think of ways to beat it."

Caleb Astey, Opower Software Engineer

Back to the Code - Contest Report

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This Back to the Code contest marked our return to multiplayer contests. Over a period of 8 days, the mission was to help Marty and Doc retrieve the Almanach before Biff Tannen got his hands on it. To do so, they had one secret weapon: a trick that could allow them to go back in time and turn things around... for better or for worse.




OVHAsoboStudiosCERNNintendoZenikaSFEIRVirbacAllegorithmicAmadeusDish,  Alcuin, BlaBlaCar and Osaxis sponsored the contest and offered more than 120 jobs in 11 countries: Canada, France, India, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Ukrain and USA.

Thanks a lot to all of them!

Code of the Rings - Contest Report

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On Saturday, 27th of June, it was Code of the Rings. The first optimization programming contest organized. Participants had 24h to code and optimize their solution to a puzzle. 
What was exciting is that it was very easy to start and get a solution that works, but complex to produce the most efficient code.


OVH, Asobo Studios, Nintendo, Zenika, SFEIR, Virbac, Allegorithmic, Amadeus, Dish and Alcuin sponsored the contest and offered more than 120 jobs in 11 countries: Canada, France, India, Luxembourg, Russia, Romania, Spain, Turkey, UK, Ukrain and USA

Thanks a lot to all of them!






Winamax finds top-notch talent with CodinGame

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Winamax, the online poker leader has chosen CodinGame to help them identify talented programmers through an Artificial Intelligence challenge.

winamax-pokerchip-race-codingame.png

A high level platform with incredible Technical Challenges

IT R&D is a major challenge for Winamax, who is always looking for talented developers. By being part of the online gaming sector (poker and sports betting) implies several technical challenges: the computerisation of game rules, the security and availability of the platform in order to support a big amount of transactions operating in real time and a large number of players connected at the same time.

To offer strong and innovative functionalities as well as an efficient platform, the company needs a team of top tech talent to rely on. Indeed, the technical environment in place and security constraints of gambling games do not leave room for mistakes.
The initial recruitment process established at Winamax to identify those high level profiles was a combination of interviews and technical tests. This approach focused on quality but still didn’t allow the company to easily identify talent with the right skills.

In order to maximize the chances to find expert candidates with strong skills and the ability to work on innovative projects, Winamax has chosen to work with CodinGame. The platform offers developers the possibility to showcase their skills through online coding challenges and at the same time, it encourages them to discover and meet companies looking for talent.
An IA Challenge about Poker to Identify Talent

A tailored programming contest in collaboration with CodinGame and the Winamax team was created: “PokerChip Race”, a poker-themed real time Artificial Intelligence competition. Every player had to program an AI capable of controlling the movements of a group of living poker chips in a limited space (a poker table).

In two weeks, the contest brought together around 1,000 online players on the CodinGame platform, followed by the Finals organized in the Winamax HQ. 50 of the best ranked players were invited. Thanks to this event, the Winamax technical team was able to analyze every applicant’s program and meet the most creative ones. This approach which associates fun and online technical pre-qualification allowed the firm to identify expert profiles without losing time and only focusing on what really matters: the quality of the code produced during the contest.

Poker_Chip_Race_UI_03_850px.jpg

Following the contest, Winamax were thus able to hire 2 highly talented programmers who are now fully integrated into the tech team and the company is considering organizing new recruitment events with CodinGame.

“Our technical team recruitment is for us a strategic priority. Our service quality is based on premium positioning and requires us to press ahead on a powerful and reliable technological platform. Developers are at the heart of this scheme. Thanks to CodinGame, we’ve been able to meet experts and programming enthusiasts in record time, while challenging the standard recruiting methods, says Catherine Bandza, Recruitment Manager @Winamax

5 Sales Techniques Every Technical Recruiter Should Master

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Everybody knows it: Hiring talented developers is one of the biggest challenges tech companies face nowadays. I’ve spent most part of my professional life working within very talented sales teams before joining CodinGame and specializing in the tech recruitment industry. Therefore, I had the chance to discover tech HR teams from every kind of company around the world, going from dynamic startups to very big corporations. Through these experiences, I realized that no matter the money and efforts invested in trying to attract the best talent, most companies are still struggling in finding the perfect developer. It also made me realize that we’ve been blaming the shortage of tech talent and the high salaries (i.e. the average salary for a Java developer in the US is $94,908) for the lack of results in terms of HR strategy. However, even though there are more open positions than talented developers, the shortage is not the only reason for this poor result. Here is a series of tips to help you overcome the developer shortage.



5 Sales Techniques Every Technical Recruiter Should Master

Historically, in the tech industry, HR people had to focus on identifying the right talent. Applicants, from their side, had to demonstrate to HRs why they were the right fit for the role. HRs were the decision makers.
Nowadays in the tech industry, this balance of power is totally reversed. Most of the talented developers are NOT actively looking for a job and the competition between companies is extremely high.
Just like salespeople, Tech Recruiters have to deal with competition and explain to potential candidates why their company is better than the others. However, while sales teams are prepared to seduce potential customers, know how to listen to them, understand their objections and go through it, tech HR teams can quickly feel disarmed.

For this reason, here are 5 sales techniques that every tech recruiter should master:

1. THE 5 WHY’S RULE

One of the main rules a good salesperson knows is that listening is better than talking. Before convincing a prospect, you have to understand which are his/her main pain points. The same rules apply to Tech HR. 
As it is a mistake to presume that only price and quality matters, you should not presume that salary, challenges and location are the only things that matter to potential candidates.
The 5 Why’s rule is a theory based on the fact that in order to understand the root cause of a problem or a decision, you have to ask “why” 5 times. 

By keeping in mind this rule, you will be able to understand what really drives your potential candidate.

The more you listen to your candidates, the more you will understand them and will be able to make a proposal that really fits their requirements.

2. DON’T BE TOO PUSHY - BUILD A RELATIONSHIP

One of the most challenging aspect a salesperson faces in his/her professional life, is convincing a potential buyer without looking too pushy. When it comes to candidates, it is the same. 

Most of Talent Acquisition teams I’ve seen spent their time headhunting via LinkedIn, sending job offers to all their potential candidates. This strategy, not only is time-consuming and provides low answer rates (ask yourself how many developers answer to your LinkedIn Inmails?), but also prevents them from building a strong relationship

Instead of going straight to the point, Talent Acquisition teams should focus on interacting directly with candidates. By inviting them for lunch, organizing tech talks, getting to understand them aspect you will have a better impact on a personal level.

3. WIDEN YOUR SCOPE

As a salesperson, you are told to never dismiss a deal because of presumption and lead qualification is, therefore, the main challenge when it comes to lead generation strategy.

In the same way, a good developer is someone that has a passion for problem solving and for programming, which is not easy to convey through a CV

Companies focus too much on university degrees and working experience instead of focusing on what really matters: talent.
One great example of this is Parrot. Parrot is an awesome tech company because of their team spirit, but also because of their projects. 

Last year, they decided to organize an online Artificial Intelligence competition, called “Games of Drones”. The competition lasted for 2 weeks, brought together more than 2,000 developers and Parrot invited the 50 best participants for a special Open Day at their headquarters, to meet their tech team and also discover the projects they were currently working on. 

Not only did the winner of the competition accept the invitation to participate to the Open Day, but in the end, he accepted to join the R&D team at Parrot. 

Interestingly, the hired developer was a music teacher by profession and programming was only a hobby for him. After a well-managed recruitment path, Parrot knew how to engage with him on a personal level and could convince him to join their R&D team. 

Everyday, we see smart and talented developers dismissed as potential candidates by companies because they don’t have enough professional experience, or because they didn’t graduate from a top university, even though they’ve shown that they are among the brightest programmers.
Sponsoring coding competitions, thus putting programming puzzles at the core of the sourcing process is a great way to benchmark your candidates on a technical (and therefore objective) basis. It also helps you improve your employer brand by showing the developer community that you are a tech-friendly company :)

4. BE INNOVATIVE - GET YOUR TEAM INVOLVED

In order to sell something, you have to understand who your prospects are. In terms of recruitment, the most valuable selling point a company has when hiring developers, is their tech team. By getting your tech team involved in building a relationship with the tech community, your employer brand will get stronger.

As a tech recruiter, you should consider yourself as a fully integrated member of your tech team. By getting to understand your teammates and their way of thinking, you will be able to talk the same language, to fully understand their everyday challenges and therefore to better identify the best-fit candidates for the team.

5. IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT SELLING 

Building a great tech team is not only about hiring bright and talented tech people, it is also about challenging them and making them want to stay.

Even though we all are aware that keeping a low turnover rate is crucial in the tech industry, it can sometimes be hard to identify how to achieve it. 

When it comes to talent, perks do not work.

Keeping a close relationship with every member of your tech team will help you understand everyone’s aspirations and how to better interact with them.


And you, have you perceived this shift from candidates trying to convince the recruiters, to recruiters convincing tech candidates?


Become a Computer Science volunteer teacher with TEALS

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Today we're glad to tell you about TEALS, one of our partners that works hard to teach programming in high school though a network of volunteer teachers.


In the US, with software engineers in high demand in the private sector, schools often cannot find instructors with a computer science background, and they struggle to compete with the compensation packages offered in industry.

TEALS is a non-profit organization leading a program to help high schools start a sustainable computer science program through partnerships between teachers and volunteer computer scientists teaching together in the classroom. Volunteers teach a CS class 2-3 mornings per week before going to work, and help train a high school teacher from another discipline in computer science.

For the 2015-2016 school year, TEALS is working with 170 high schools across the US (full map here: www.tealsk12.org/about), and is looking for individuals with a computer science background (from college or industry) to sign up as volunteer CS teachers in a local high school.

To learn more about TEALS volunteers program and submit a volunteer application go to: https://c.tealsk12.org/l/241