Rise to the Challenge

Build for glory, prizes, and new opportunities.

We run online tech competitions that let you see how your professional skills stack up against your peers. Tackle fun, interesting challenges in your field, work to develop your unique own solution, and have your work reviewed by industry professionals. Top performers win prizes, glory, and meet with hiring managers at leading tech firms with open roles.

How it works

Details 1

Take the Challenge

Use your smarts and the language of your choice to come up with various algorithms that can help you be the last one standing.

Details 2

Judges Review Work

Our hand selected panel of engineers and eng managers will conduct a blind evaluation of your work and offer constructive feedback.

Details 3

Win Prizes & Interviews

The top candidates will win great prizes and – if interested – move directly to interviews with top tech firms hiring software engineers.

Mars Discovery

Mars Discovery Challenge [NYC]

November 1-7, 2018

The year is 2050. Mars is teeming full of colonies – all working to survive and thrive in the harsh environment of space. Promethium, a valuable new mineral has been discovered by scientists that threatens the tenuous peace. To maintain order, the United Martian Colonies institutes a planet-wide mining system. Each colony is designated one mining bot to collect Promethium. You’ve been chosen to program a web appplication to monitor bots and nodes on behalf of the UMC. Think carefully about how you'll display rapidly changing information...

Judging Criteria


Your work will be reviewed by a panel of software engineers working at companies like Squarespace, Mailchimp, Andela, Etsy. Judges are not given any information about a competitor’s identity and only review your code on the basis of the established criteria. Your work will be scored against the following rubric:

User Interface: How easy is it to understand the information you're displaying? Can someone quickly digest all the necessary information you've presented?

Functionality: Does it work? Does it fulfill all the requirements? Have you chosen to go beyond the requirements and add something extra?

Communication: Can you effectively explain the decisions you made, in writing? Have you documented your code and is it easy to understand?

Extensibility: How hard is it to extend your code? Is it organized in such a way that it’s easy to expand upon your solutions?

You can begin the challenge anytime between Thursday November 1st and Wednesday November 7th (midnight PST). Once you begin the challenge, the details will be revealed and you’ll have 2.5 hours to submit a solution and write up.

Register to compete


Jamie shen

“I had an amazing time at @ScotlandCSS and @ScotlandJS in beautiful Edinburgh. Thank you to all the organizers, volunteers, speakers, and staff. It’s been an incredibly enriching three days. Also shout-out to @Headlightlabs for awarding me First Prize, making this trip possible!”

Jamie Shen

Ashlee crusco

"As a junior developer, I was looking to prove myself and test my skills. The Engineering Tournament challenge was tough but fun and practical. By the time I got to the interview, companies knew I could do the work and I ended up taking a great offer from a team I really liked.""

Ashlee Crusco, Software Engineer

(via Headlight)

Cliff kim catalyst

“The engineers we found via Headlight were incredibly strong on both technical ability and culture fit. We were 400% more likely to bring them to on-site interviews compared to candidates from Hired, Vettery, or A-list.”

Cliff Kim, Head of Product



If you do well in the Mars Mining Discovery Challenge, you earn not just glory and bragging rights. You’ll be eligible for a host of great prizes.

Grand Prize

Top Finisher

Apple Watch Series 4

The top finisher will receive an Apple Watch Series 4, in addition to the other prizes

First Prize

Top 5 Finishers

Away Luggage

The top 5 finishers will receive a set of Away Luggage, in addition to the gift card and t-shirt


Top 25% of Finishers

Amazon Giftcard + Headlight Gear

The top quartile of submissions receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card + Headlight swag.


Past Participating Employers

Employer partners

Educational Partners

Some participants will be coming from programs such as:

Program partners


What is the Mars Mining Discovery Tournament?
Who is eligible to compete in the tournament?