By: Kevin Rabinovich
Why I decided to bring the nationwide hackathon to my city and what it’s about.
About two years ago, I went to my first-ever hackathon: the National Day of Civic Hacking. I wasn’t able to participate (I got there late), but I volunteered for a little while, serving snacks and watching other people who were just as interested in coding and design work away, furiously drinking Mountain Dew in an effort to stay awake. In the morning, I watched each team give their presentation about their product, and the more I watched, the more I fell in love with the idea of a hackathon. Not only is it a great and cheap way to introduce anyone — designers, coders, and anyone else who loves technology — to different aspects of the product design and development process, but it also forces collaboration and quick thinking.
Last October, I received an email with the subject, “Thought you might be interested,” and a link to CodeDay, a series of nationwide hackathons. It seemed like a cool idea, and I was already planning on organizing a hackathon for high schoolers in the area, so I reached out to StudentRND (CodeDay’s parent organization) about hosting a CodeDay in Columbia, and they were on board — CodeDay Columbia was born!
I began working with IT-oLogy to see how we could realize this event, and we have been busy planning preparing for this event, from start to finish. Just like most other hackathons, there is, obviously, a hack-all-night-with-stimulating-food aspect, but CodeDay is also a beginner-friendly event, so we’ll be having workshops (that require no prior experience) led by experienced professionals. Before everything kicks off, though, anyone who wants will pitch an idea for a game, website, or app, and then teams form around the best of those ideas. The teams perfect their ideas, and begin hacking away into the evening. Dinner is served, then a midnight snack, then breakfast, and before you know it, it’s almost time to present ideas to the judges! A panel will judge all the products based on practicality, viability, teamwork, and effort, among other things, and the winners get a prize!
If you want to be a part of the inaugural CodeDay Columbia taking place the weekend of February 14-15, we are running a 50% Early Bird discount for tickets until February 7. Register at https://codeday.org/columbia/register.
Read Kevin’s blog at: https://medium.com/@kevinrabinovich/codeday-columbia-c2dfc1927e31