Wearing a black hoodie and a beaded bracelet on his tattooed arm, Ian Liu-Johnston tells me how he landed his first job as a software engineer at LinkedIn.
He told the interviewers he had hacked his college, the Holberton School in San Francisco. “They thought it was awesome,” he says.
The hacking showed he was skilled at finding problems in systems. First, he had hacked into the software that marked students’ work, to play at manipulating his grades. Then he discovered the source code for an extra project and figured that, since the hack showed his engineering skills, it was “appropriate” to use the map of how the software worked to get the extra credit. Finally, he set an alarm on the school’s computers to play Moby’s “Bring Sally Up”, a popular accompaniment to push-up challenges, at the school’s daily 11.30am meeting.