Proof of programming skills is almost never based on which school you attended or what projects you can claim a loose affiliation with. It all comes down whether or not someone can actually write code. StackOverflow is currently one of the best places for coders to share knowledge and get answers to their programming questions. By answering questions, the programmers who participate on StackOverflow are demonstrating expertise and building a body of proof of ability. StackOverflow is leveraging this growing database of information to provide what they think will be a better placement service for connecting employers and developers.
Career 2.0 is StackOverflow’s Launch product to solve the problem of connecting developers to employment opportunities. On the employer side of things, you can search people actively seeking jobs as well as the general pool of all people who answer questions on StackOverflow. You can narrow by programming language to find people who have the general knowledge set you are looking for. After narrowing the field of candidates to a programming language you can look at the answers any programmer has given to questions, verifying that they actually know what they are talking about before you ever waste time on an initial interview. This answers the important question, is this a real programmer or someone who is trying to fake it.
On the job seekers side of things, participants must be invited to join. This narrows the pool to people who are either nominated by their peers for answer quality or people who have proven they have the programming chops to be in the career search pool. In theory, this keeps the bozo filtering to a minimum. The big question here is whether the gatekeeping by StackOverflow will create a large enough pool of job seekers to be interesting to employers. Job seekers who are invited get to list their availability for projects free of charge.
So how will Career 2.0 make money? Employers pay $500 for one week access, with other pricing models for longer periods of time. While that may sound steep, StackOverflow is promising a money back guarantee, so if you don’t find a candidate for your job opening, you don’t pay.