Blog Post

The New American Idol… The Coder

Stay on Top of Emerging Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

It is officially not a trend – but getting pretty close: big technology companies are busy promoting and webcasting codercons, aka marathon coder events where hackers jock for hacking props. Earlier this month, AOL let us know that they will be webcasting the 2006 TopCoder Collegiate Challenge will be produced live from San Diego On November 17, 2006.

Now there is word that Google will webcast Code Jam event in New York on October 27, 2006. These kind of talent hunts are becoming a big draw, especially now that the tech ecosystem is green again with venture dollars.

AOL, Google and everyone else to once again compete for talent. As an aside, one cannot but be impressed by Jack Hughes who started TopCoder, a company that organized many of these events, for catching the trend early.

So how long before we get a special reality show dedicated to coders… The American Coder! (Hey, you steal this one, you gotta buy me a cup of coffee at the very least!)

16 Responses to “The New American Idol… The Coder”

  1. Please, no, nobody should hope for programming to be “cool”. Call me antisocial, but I don’t want more new programmers that are sheeplike enough to care about what is cool and what isn’t. If there’s an uncool stigma about it, it will filter out a lot of these people.

  2. What’s funny is in today’s world someone who “knows enough about computers to be dangerous” would have been classified as a nerd if they had that much knowledge 10 years ago.

  3. Forget about it

    Guys, I’ve got news for you.

    The American IT industry is dead. India is on track to release 400,000 Nerds per year, and they’ll all work for a fraction of what you guys do.

    Go and take up hairdressing. It has much better growth potential.

  4. ZeroC00L

    Richard- Your comment highlights one of America’s biggest problems in the modern age- that it is somehow viewed as “uncool”, “unhip” or just plain nerdy to be “smart” or “technology smart”in the global age.

    Quite frankly, your mentality is saddening and disturbing at the same time. More to the point, it is costing this country its competitiveness (engineers, computer scientists, etc) and make NO MISTAKE, this WILL come back to bite YOU in the near future. And all of us for that matter.

    It is high-time to shed the stupid, idiotic stereotype and start rewarding brainpower for what it is: a critical tool in the modern age.

    Our way of life is at stake here, nothing less. Unfortunately, you may be too ignorant to see it.

    You get what you deserve.

    GEEK IS COOL and you better start dealing with it.

    (Andrew is right on..)

  5. then call it “Line 56” or something…and it could be quite well done, not sure why it hasn’t been attempted as computers factor into forensics quite visibly and in fact they are visible within many shows as lab tools (along with assorted devices)…when people watch bond, they always long for the scene where Q displays the gadgets, so perhaps that kind of approach, but with an emphasis on how it was done, how it solves problems, how it is actually used by regular people, etc…

  6. “Survivor: Coder Island”

    Scene: Jeff Probst, sitting with contestants around a campfire.

    Jeff: So, Dizz, did forgetting that semicolon twenty lines into the application hurt the team?

    Dizz: No, I think not having enough Dr. Pepper in the break room was more of a factor.

    Jeff: Tiffany, with your marketing background, did that help or hinder the project?

    Tiffany: Well, I’ve gotten away with pitching vaporware before, but others on the team just didn’t hold up their ends. I think the Visual Basic programmers, especially, hurt us. They should know Java, at least!

    — Fade out. This is the kind of riveting reality that would have millions not watching. I remember watching the BBC in the mid-1980s, when they would show angling competitions and sheep herding trials. THAT is engrossing TV, compared to coding! ;)

  7. Numbers (and stuff like CSI) all bring up an interesting point: they stretch the truth just a bit in what is actually scientifically possible. Would a show prominently featuring a coder really get our attention, or would it be too deep in left field to really be believed? I would guess the latter, thinking of all the “hacking” scenes in Hackers that look like space flight.

  8. My bad for forgetting the Yahoo hack day.

    Andrew, have you seen Numbers? They make math seem fun. it needs imagination. i think the science of coding, the hacker ethos and how great stuff happens is something which is hard to imagine as television, but i bet you in hands of a good director it could be worth watching.

  9. actually, what you have suggested is no joke (a reality show)…in order to promote growth in attendance within our nation’s CS programs, what we need is a real cultural boost – something that makes it cool and sexy, like la law for lawyers, or whatever…or numbers for math…maybe coders could constantly stop crimes and death within a special engineering task force inside the nsa – it could be called simply ‘the spooks’ (from the 70’s term for the nsa etc)…they’d use all sorts of cutting edge tools and talk about it while they’re doing it (yeah, so this ruby app is scaffolding right now, which means we can use it in rough form to find the murderer! hooray…check out my treo…i have a macbook with a vm running windowns and ubuntu and used it to stop a crime organization etc)…

  10. OM, you gotta be kidding me. Watching a coder or even speaking with one is as fun as watching paint dry. We gotta get you some new interests or a date (if you are not married). Step away from the computer…