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Hackers Get Hired At Bletchley Park

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How do you go about hiring a hacker in the UK? If you're the BBC and you're looking to develop something like the Facebook iPlayer app, you head to Over The Air at Bletchley Park.

The 48-hour no-sleep hacking event is now in its fourth year and its bevvy of corporate sponsors are there eagle-eyed, watching out for the the next best hack or idea to bring into their business. Recent hires from the event include the developer who created the BBC's iPlayer app for Facebook. BBC HR will be present again this year to specifically target and identify Europe's best mobile developers with a view to employing them, according to Cashmore.

Telefonica, the event's biggest sponsor, worked with Over The Air developers to create BlueVia, their set of developer tools. Google will be present, looking for developer feedback on the Google+ APIs that were released last week.

The focus of the event this years is hacking, or developing, mobile payment solutions. Paypal is a sponsor.

Corrado Tomassoni, Manager, EMEA Developer Network at PayPal said: "This is the second year we’ve sponsored the event as we love meeting a strong group of developers specifically focused on mobile, learning about their ideas and advising on different ways of monetising their applications. The event allows us to showcase PayPal innovations and gain valuable feedback on how we can make our services better for them. We think this open, flexible approach makes sense in a world where innovation is happening so quickly.”

Matthew Cashmore, who runs the event said: "We don't sleep and we come up with some great ideas that have caught the attention of plenty of our sponsors. Hackers shouldn't expect they will get a job out of it, but it's drawn a lot of attention from employers."

Most participants choose not to book accommodation, preferring to spend the 48 hours hacking, sharing ideas, snatching an hour or so's sleep where they sit, and blowing up things on stage.

"There's a fun side to it, and I really, really like blowing up things," said Cashmore. "This year, we're re-enacting World War Two via twitter. So WWII will start on Friday at 10am and will end at 2pm on Saturday. I don't need to tell you who wins, but there will definitely be explosions."

In 2010, a developer built a Lego robot that follows you around using an iPhone and facial recognition. Lego have been in contact and are this year providing Lego Mindstorm kits for all attendees to play with and develop.

Over The Air runs from 30 September to 1 October at Bletchley Park and is a free event although organisers request a donation to the museum from each attendee. There are still places available.

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