Alex Ivlev, a computer coder for IGN Entertainment Inc., landed his dream job in 2011 after going through the company's first-ever Code Foo challenge.
Code Foo is a play on words with both the martial art kung fu and a reference to variables in programming. The spelling "Foo" comes from "foobar," a common naming convention used in programming.
The six-week program—which hires coders based on skill, passion and eagerness to learn rather than résumé and experience—was a perfect fit for Ivlev, a Russian native who graduated in May 2011 from Wilmington University in Delaware.
"I was a big fan of IGN before I even came to the United States" in 2006, says Ivlev, who had no industry experience before IGN hired him. "I prefer this process of hiring. In an interview you have to spend several hours with several engineers and a couple of HR people, and based on that the company will make its decision. Maybe you can cope under the stress, but maybe you can't.
"With Code Foo, after six weeks the company knew a lot more about us and vice versa. They learned not just whether we can write code but if we are a good cultural fit with the company."
Ivlev, who works in IGN's media engineering department on the company's mobile developments, has been playing computer games since he got his first PC in 1997.
"I still love it," he says. "That's why I love my job now. You can teach people code but you cannot teach them to be passionate about what they do."
Andrea Siedsma is a freelance writer based in San Diego. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.