Programmers Sought for 2-Month Hackathon in Remote Philippine Island

Wanted: 12 programmers to live on a remote tropical island for two months to do nothing but write code.

(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Applicants are being sought for the coding jamboree that will take place on an as yet un-named island.

Those applying will have to submit a proposal explaining what they will work on during the hackathon.

They will also have to complete a psychological evaluation to show they can live in harmony with other coders for the duration of the event.

“I lived with a few people in Alaska working on a project and that was an amazing experience,” said Walter Heck, organiser of the Come Hack With US hackathon. “Why can we not recreate that experience in a tropical and remote location so we can really focus on our projects?”

Those attending would have all cooking and cleaning taken care of so they can concentrate on the code, he told the BBC. Mr Heck is currently looking for sponsors to help shoulder the cost of supporting the coders during the hackathon.

‘Serious’ project

Successful applicants will be expected to make their own way to the island and pay a small fee to attend.

“It’s a submission fee that’s largely symbolic,” he said. “It’s to keep away the people that are planning to party all the time or are not serious about their project.”

“That could be really detrimental to the atmosphere,” he said.

The projects that people will work on would be matched to the skills of those attending to ensure good progress was made on all of them, said Mr Heck.

Mr Heck, who is currently based in Kuala Lumpur, said there were lots of islands in the Philippines that were potential candidates for the coding get together. Although remote, the islands had good power supplies and were connected to the mainland via microwave links.

Reaction to the idea had been swift and positive, Mr Heck told the BBC. More than 4,000 people had showed an interest within hours of the advert going on the Y Combinator tech news site, he said.

“Some of the bigger blue chip companies do this already with their top employees on a smaller scale,” said Niall Cook, head of recruitment at hiring agency Computer People.

Retreats and other getaways had become a staple among firms that wanted to get staff focussing on new ideas rather than taking care of day-to-day business, he said.

He had no doubt that the isolation of the hackathon would boost the creativity of anyone taking part.

“If you look at some of the bigger companies of the last few years like Facebook they just came out of one idea and they’ve changed the way we live and work,” he said.

“Without think tanks and the like nothing new would emerge,” he said. “Whether putting 12 people on a tropical island is the way you get the best out of people I’m not sure.

“We won’t know until they’ve done it,” he said.

This article originally appeared on BBC News and was republished with permission.