Facebook Seeking Talented Hacker for its Hackathon Contest

Social Networking leader Facebook is seeking a talented hacker to participate in its second annual Hacker Cup challenge.

“Hacking is core to how we build at Facebook,” read the company’s blog post announcing this year’s competition. “Whether we’re building a prototype for a major product like Timeline at a Hackathon, creating a smarter search algorithm, or tearing down walls at our new headquarters, we’re always hacking to find better ways to solve problems.”

The invitation is open to all hackers around the world. The competition hosted by Facebook will pit fellow hackers against each other in five rounds of programming challenges with the first being held on Jan. 20. The next three rounds will take place online with the final one happening at Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters in March.

The hacker who comes in first will receive a prize of $5,000. Last year’s contest consisted of 12,000 programmers from all over the world. Petr Mitrichev, a Google employee from Russia ended up winning in 2011. He even wore his Google employee badge throughout the entire competition. He also won Google’s annual Code Jam contest in 2006.

Tech companies used these types of competitions to discover the world’s most talented programmers, a hard to find commodity in the industry today.

Facebook frequently uses coding puzzles on its recruiting page with the slogan: “Solve programming challenges. Get a phone interview.” It also holds marathon staff hackathons as part of its product-development process.

The company also uses hacking for crowd sourcing. Facebook launched its “bug bounty” security initiative that invited security researchers to send details of any vulnerabilities on the company’s website. Facebook compensates anyone who finds a hole in its system with $500.