Main image of article How Tech Pros Won Prizes (and Pride) in Dice's Hack Challenge
We first let you in on our little secret, the Dice Hack Challenge, back in March, a few weeks before it launched in April. The game allowed tech professionals to showcase their skills in a unique way by connecting with Dice in an immersive, 10-day online (and in real life) challenge. We knew a 10-day challenge alone wouldn’t do the trick, so we made sure our best tech pros could play for both prizes and pride. Throughout the course of the campaign, tech pros had a chance to complete puzzles that tested their development, logic and problem solving skills. We did this through challenges that included social engineering, code debugging, cryptology, decryption and more. Most importantly, they spent time on our platform (seeing your jobs). Were we able to engage the best tech professionals? Indeed! In fact, a few of the contest’s winners agreed to chat (via email) about their careers within the tech industry. Take a look at that article, Breaking into Information Security Takes Knowledge…and Curiosity.

The Prizes

To entice our players to keep at it amidst the level of difficulty (and to keep it fun), we offered up four insane grand prizes to four lucky winners, as well as a lot of “surprise and delights” along the way to keep things interesting. We even offered up pizza to those who needed a break, and delivered breakfast cereal and milk to another who had worked on the challenge all night long. These, and many other tech-relevant gifts, proved great ways to keep our participants engaged. Our favorite interaction was with a gentleman who was wanting to make the transition from IT support to Microsoft-certified developer. He was looking to hone his skills and become a front end developer. Because it’s sometimes hard to make that jump, we helped him out by paying for his first certification. We’ll do anything for our tech professionals.

The Notoriety

As far as pride - we decided to use our media outlets (our mobile billboard and ads on Reddit) to showcase and celebrate the ones who were skilled enough to finish levels and the entire challenge. Our seven mobile digital boards drove all around NYC, San Francisco, Atlanta, Charlotte and Salt Lake City and were seen by thousands of tech pros. The billboards started out advertising four fictitious companies which had been created to hide clues. A few days into the activation, the billboards started showcasing the tech pros themselves and they loved it!

The Successes

We had over 120,000 visits to our game sites and 1,200 calls to our fictitious company phone numbers. (Of course, three of the four phone numbers were nothing more than red herrings that the participants found amusing.) We went into this with a registration goal in mind and we were extremely excited to surpass it by 25 percent! It should come as no surprise that over 60 percent of our registrants were Millennials and another 20 percent were Gen Z. We knew this type of activation was right up their alley. Of all of the Hack Challenge registrants, we had 39 finishers. Our goal was to make the challenge difficult -- we wanted only the strongest to make it through all 13 levels. These 39 were rewarded with a three-foot-tall trophy for their efforts. (Many of which quickly posted to social media channels to express their thanks and laughs due to its massive size.)

What’s Next?

This type of innovative engagement with the best in tech is crucial to our work with you as employers and recruiters. Due to the success of this marketing effort, and the high level of engagement from highly-sought-after professionals, we knew we needed to capitalize on this excitement. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’re piloting a new program called the Dice Advocacy Program, specifically for tech professionals who completed the Hack Challenge. Our program offers a personal expert here at Dice to help with these professionals’ current careers, updating skills or certifications, insight on how to increase their value to employers, expand their expertise, etc. We will assist in placement and advice so these top-notch pros land where they’re meant to be. We will of course continue our innovative work connecting you to the best tech talent. Thank you for joining us for this wild ride that was the Dice Hack Challenge!