Talent scouts and recruiters were out in force this week as The Gathering, an annual festival for young computer and technology enthusiasts, got underway in Hamar again. It’s become a rich hunting grounds for young experts in gaming, programming and even hacking.
With around 6,000 youngsters assembled in Hamar’s Vikingskipet arena, originally built for speed skating events at the Winter Olympics in 1994, The Gathering is full of aspiring technology specialists. News bureau NTB reported that most of them this year will be competing in games including League of Legends, Counterstrike and Rocket League.
Others are competing in hacking and finding holes in security systems. That has attracted scouts from Norway’s national security authority NSM (Nasjonal sikkerhetsmyndighet) and the national cyber security center NorCERT.
“We’re here at The Gathering to recruit,” Håkon Bergsjø of NorCERT told NTB. “It’s important to be out here early and meet those who are interested in this.”
Bergsjø said it’s steadily becoming more important to have knowledge of cyber attacks, break-ins and to analyze their damage. “That’s why we have an extra large presence here this year.” Clever gamers often are viewed as having good coordination abilities and being good at multi-tasking, according to one of The Gathering’s organizers, along with understanding complex technology systems in business and at the workplace.
Parents have also been invited this year, to follow the action and demystify an event that’s often viewed negatively as youngsters crammed into a darkened hall during the Easter holidays, instead of being out skiing in the sunshine. “We want to show off what we’re doing here,” Simon Eriksen Valvik, communications director the The Gathering, told NTB.