The nerd has been one of pop culture’s favourite targets over the last few decades. They’re always drawn as gangly and bespectacled, they’re socially awkward, and they never get the girl until they undergo a dramatic makeover on Beauty and the Geek. Sydney startup PT Essentials wants to set that stereotype aside by finding Australia’s fittest developer.
The startup, which has created a mobile solution to help personal trainers and fitness professionals manage daily activities in their business and better manage their clients, has launched a contest to find a new developer that has not only the requisite coding skills, but the “fitness ethos that underpins everything the company does” too.
The competition will be comprised of tests that cover fitness, coding, and nutrition. It’s open to both developers who want the job at PT Essentials, and those who want to show that, well, nerds can be hot, too, damn it!
Matt Harris, PT Essentials founder and CEO, said the idea for the contest came about because he believes that, despite the stereotypes, a large part of the developer community is also into their own health and fitness.
“In an attempt to let the Australian developer community know that there are jobs like this out there where you can easily mix technology and fitness into a unstoppable combination, we’ve launched a contest to find them,” he said.
The contest is clearly a marketing stunt, but as well as bringing attention to PT Essentials – which is operating in a very crowded market and needs all the attention it can get – it will also help the startup put its office and company culture in full view. In turn, it will help them make sure that they hire someone who fits into that culture.
Given that Harris was a personal trainer himself and the office literally doubles as a cross fit gym – there are steel bars and hanging rings around the office that employees, who are encouraged to come to work in gym clothes, can use when they need a break – it could sense to hire someone who would enjoy and participate in that kind of environment rather than someone who’s never been to the gym in their life.
However, it can also be argued that fitness should be of no importance for someone applying for a position as a developer and that this contest is unfairly excluding a whole pool of developers who may be desperate for a job. After all, none of them would have been told at university that in addition to knowing coding languages, they would have to be able to do 100 pushups in a row to get work. In general, unless they’re related to modelling, job ads asking questions about looks are pretty much frowned upon – sportswear brand Lorna Jane got into hot water last week after posting an ad asking for a “size small” receptionist.
Perhaps a San Diego-based tech company got it right with their job posting on Craigslist a few weeks ago; they got to the heart of the issue by asking for “2 Fucking Great Developers”. You can’t just be a great developer, you need to be fucking great. This is absolutely non-negotiable. The company is willing to compensate well for the winning candidate’s fucking greatness. In fact, starting salary range is between $115,000 to $140,000, plus medical, dental, stock options, and paid relocation for overseas candidates. For those benefits, forget proving you’re a fit nerd – prove you’re fucking great.