Fall season. What’s even more exciting is how they are inspiring more student leaders to create hackathons with their
Hackathon As Mentoring Opportunities
Y-Hack, Yale’s hackathon, started off as a smaller event last year but this year they are back and bigger than ever with a big stance on mentorship than any
other hackathon. Frank Wu, co-organizer
with Mike Wu said, “We want heavy mentorship and interesting tech talks, which not only helps the students who are attending the event, but also with the entire tech recruiting process. Sponsors have been really interested in this, since it’s becoming clearer and clearer to them that these events are amazing venues for recruiting top-notch technical talent.”
The Growth of Regional Hackathons
New hackathons are popping up in different regions to cater to students that might not be able to travel far to the bigger events. Johns Hopkins’ Hop Hacks, University of Chicago’s Uncommon Hackathon and University of Toronto’s U of T Hacks all are aimed at capturing collegiate talent in their regions. Another new regional hackathon, Duke University’s HackDuke is aimed at having students launch a personal project simply for the experience. “Sure, some hackathon projects do actually become
real products. But by and large, the value of hackathons is as a learning experience for the students. I’ve found that most students haven’t pursued any personal projects because of self doubt of their technical abilities – even from fourth year computer science students!” says Dennis Li, one of the HackDuke organizers.
Hackthons As Teaching and Learning Events
Another interesting approach is teaching hackers and newbies new skills before they start the event. This is the approach the returning 5C Hackathon takes at the east of LA Claremont Colleges. Kimberly Merrill, 5C student organizer, found that a lot of students were intimidated by the idea of a hackathon, especially in a school environment where there was a lot of new students. “Our goal in founding the 5C Hackathon was to build a more engaged technical community on campus – to get students excited about working on side projects and learning skills
outside the classroom – not to discourage students or only reinforce the talents of those already at the top.” She goes on to explain to meet this goal, they decided to frame their hackathon as a teaching and learning space rather than a competition, which is how Hack Week was born. “As a
So far, all of these hackathons have been posting attendance and registrations numbers higher than anticipated. Readyforce wishes organizers, attendees and sponsors a happy hacking Fall! Be sure to reach out to these great events to get involved.