Wanted: Nerds with ninja-like coding skills for prize worth $10K

Instructure, a Utah startup company that has launched a new online learning management platform, has expanded its client base to 60 universities in recent months, creating the need to hire dozens of software engineers.

To connect with young programers, particularly computer-science students, the firm is holding a coding contest Saturday to give away more than $10,000 and to identify potential new hires. The event is called the MebiPenny Coding Competition “where nerds battle for money and glory.” The contest name keys off the computer term mebibyte, or 1,024 bytes squared. Translated to pennies, this sum equals $10,485.76, and that’s how much the winner will take home after two rounds of coding online, followed by a final round in person.

In the first two rounds, open to anyone with “ninja-like coding skills,” contestants tackle “really, really hard math problems — so hard that you have to write software code to solve them,” said Instructure publicist Devin Knighton. “After two rounds online of solving really hard technical problems, the finalists will meet at the Instructure office [in Cottonwood Heights] for the grand prize.”

Earlier this year, Instructure’s “learning management system” called Canvas won the contract to provide service to Utah’s eight public colleges and universities, beating out industry leaders Blackboard and D2L. Since then, dozens of other universities have signed on, most recently Auburn and the Wharton School of Business, according to Knighton.

The firm currently employs 50 out of its Cottonwood Heights offices. To learn more, go to instructure.com/mebipenny.