The Hacker-in-Residence Program

Welcome to SparkFun’s Hacker-in-Residence program! You’re either here because you’re interested in applying to hang out with us for a few weeks of extreme geekery, you’re just plain curious about the program and what it entails, or you fell into an internet wormhole trying to find that one Jack Nicholson gif and, after bouncing around the cyberspace-time continuum for a bit, have been deposited inexplicably onto this page.

The physics of internet time travel notwithstanding, hopefully the following information will answer your questions, and if you have others feel free to email us at

Here’s how it works:

  • The program is open to anyone 18+ (although we’re open to making special arrangements for child geniuses) who is able to provide their own travel to Boulder, CO, as well as a complete and detailed description of their planned project and goals for their stay.
  • If needed, we will work with you to provide housing in Boulder and a workspace at SparkFun’s headquarters for a period of 2-4 weeks, depending on the project. We will also do our best to accommodate your needs for non-SparkFun parts, as well as access to our catalog of products, staff expertise and workspace. Please estimate your material needs in your application and we’ll work with you!
  • In exchange for access to our resources, we hope you will end your residency at SparkFun with a finished project and documentation of your process (photos, video, interviews with our team, your own notes, etc.), including a tutorial hosted on SparkFun so our community can learn from and use your experience!

Our first Hacker in Residence testing his tethered quadcopter
Our first Hacker in Residence testing his tethered quadcopter

The Hacker-in-Residence program was conceived as a way to foster inventorship and strengthen the DIY electronics community we love, as well as provide access to the tools and resources we take for granted.

We’ve already had the opportunity to work with and learn from our inaugural hackers and their project, and we’re excited to expand the program! If you have a great idea or a solution to a problem - we want to help you build it!

Apply for SparkFun’s Hacker-in-Residence program here!


  • Is the program open to international applicants?
  • Sure! Why not! We’re open to hosting hackers from outside the US, as long as you are able to make the arrangements to get yourself to Boulder. We don’t have a lot of experience dealing with visas and such, but if you can get to us, we’d be happy to consider applicants from other parts of the world!

More questions about the program? Leave a comment below or email us at

Comments 9 comments

  • Is the Hacker-in-Residence program live?

  • I have 2 questions: 1. Is it aimed to people who lives outside the USA also? 2. Is there a preferred range of dates to participate? Something like “before the end of 2013”, or “until March / 2014”… Thanks!

    • I think we are still currently evaluating how the process works, so as far as preferred dates or when we will be running this until, there isn’t a set answer. If we end up getting a lot of interest generated in the program, I imagine that it will continue as long as possible for us. I would recommend emailing to get more information in regards to the feasibility of working with folks internationally (I’m not sure how the travel constraints would affect that).

      • Hi Toni, thanks! However, I have sent 2 emails to that email address, and got the following message from Google groups:

        “We’re writing to let you know that the group you tried to contact (hackers) may not exist, or you may not have permission to post messages to the group. A few more details on why you weren’t able to post:

        • You might have spelled or formatted the group name incorrectly.
        • The owner of the group may have removed this group.
        • You may need to join the group before receiving permission to post.
        • This group may not be open to posting.

        If you have questions related to this or any other Google Group, visit the Help Center at"

  • While it’s obvious that given enough funding one could rent (or buy) whatever tools and resources they might need to complete just about any project desired could someone from sparkfun give an idea of just what resources and tooling sparkfun already has on site? For instance, can sparkfun do quickturn protoboards themselves or need they be sent out for fab and what other skills might one be able to pull from toward project completion such as electronics assembly, or machining, or welding, etc (maybe someone has a great idea and they are strong in one discipline but weak in another needed to complete it). Is sparkfun leaning toward offering a bench set up with basic electronics test gear (bench supply, scope, multimeter, waveform generator, counter, & maybe functions such as a logic analyzer, spectrum analyzer, or network analyzer depending upon the project along with a decent set of tools for breadboarding, soldering, and assembly of electronic prototypes where the hacker in residence works as a relatively self contained entity to complete and document a project or might there be other involvement from sparkfun staff possible, especially to fill in specific skill areas? I guess the other question I’d be asking as well is how fast can little subtasks be turned around (I already mentioned board fab, but others as well…).

    • We don’t do board fab in-house, but are working on finding ways for quicker turn-arounds on that. We do have a full machine shop (CNC, lathe, welder, etc.) and do offer the hackers-in-residence access to tools like bench supplies, multimeters, hardware, soldering equipment and anything else we have laying around. If they ever have questions, they can ask anyone around here (that’s the great thing about SparkFun :) ) but in general, they are pretty autonomous.

  • You guys are doing amazing stuff at Sparkfun. I am continuously pleasantly surprised by your guy’s effort to promote inovation in the DIY community. I would not be nearly as far in my electronics work if it weren’t for what I have learned here at Sparkfun and the inspiration I receive from your posts. Thank you Sparkfun Electronics; I appreciate every one of the employees for their contribution to the community.