Wentworth Hackathons – What they are and why you should participate

By: Faith Bade

The word “hackathon” comes from a combination of “hack” and “marathon”. Hackathons can last 24 hours or longer, with an informal culture (bring your sleeping bag) and food and drinks provided. Teams come to a hackathon fully organized or are formed on the first day. At the end of a hackathon, teams typically present their results. Often, there are contests and prizes. Most hackathons have a specific technology focus (a new app, website, coding, hardware) or a goal of using technology to solve a problem or for the greater good. Hackathons offer a great way to meet new people, learn new things, win prizes, and take home some swag. Plus, you can advance your professional experience and career success. And, btw, hackathons are free!

At Wentworth, we have a student organization called HackWITus. Founded in Fall 2016, HackWITus is one of Boston’s largest student-run hackathon organizations. In the last year, HackWITus has brought together 150+ students from across the country. Students worked on dozens of projects, attended workshops hosted by our exceptional faculty, and developed new skills, broadened their networks, and expanded their career opportunities.

According to Shawn Toubeau, a student organizer with HackWITus, hackathon participants can “connect with others in their profession, learn new tools, and get a sense of what is in demand.” Here in CO-OPS + CAREERS we agree, and we highly recommend that Wentworth students participate in a HackWITus hackathon. Why?Professional Persona

Add your hackathon experience to your resume, LinkedIn profile, and your portfolio. In interviews, talk about your teamwork experience, your efficiency, and the collaborative projects you worked on.  Impress employers with your cutting-edge skills and your commitment to staying ahead of the curve. Employers love that students attend hackathons and are learning outside of the classroom. BTW, all majors should try a hackathon. Just like organizations, bringing a diversity of thought, approaches, and skills to solve a problem often results in a better solution. According to Nova Trauben, a student organizer with HackWITus, “everyone brings something to the table.”

Recruiting

Hackathon participants can gain co-ops and full-time jobs. Employers sponsor hackathons and hire students. Showcase your skills, and your ability to collaborate and meet deadlines. Employers will want you to be on their team. At the end of Wentworth’s Spring 2019 Community Build Hackathon, sponsored by Rocket Software, 5 students received co-op offers. HackWITus also offers some higher level sponsors the option to receive a resume book of participants. Hackathons offer you a way to differentiate yourself.

Skills

 

Learn a new software. Expand your coding capabilities. Attend an interesting workshop. Technology is always changing – hackathons help you stay current on technologies and to learn from your fellow hackers. Plus, you can hone your presentation skills. You too can pull off a persuasive and articulate demonstration after 24 hours with little or no sleep!

 

Networking

You never know who you will meet at a hackathon. Sponsoring employers often coach, offer workshops, and judge the outcomes, and Wentworth faculty coach and present workshops. Get to know them all and stay connected. Plus, your teammates will be students from Wentworth and other universities and these connections can last forever.

Hacking Workspace sign

Self-knowledge

After participating in last year’s HackWITus, Nova said “It really felt like it jump-started my career.” Come to a hackathon and figure out what you like and dislike. Did you like coding? Did you like developing the product interface or identifying the product’s application? Or presenting? Or managing the team? Hackathon experiences will help you learn more about yourself and where to focus for your next co-op or full-time career.

Prizes

Who doesn’t want Bose headphones, or Airpods, or an Echo, or gift cards? Or an offer to co-op?

Fun

Stay up all night. Meet new people. The culture of hackathons is both intense and very chill. Wear comfortable clothes and bring a sleeping bag. Maybe bring your own Keurig. FYI – bring a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a change of clothes. (You – and your team members – will thank me for that tip.)

Any other takeaways?

Yes! As Shawn eloquently stated “One of the things that stuck with me after a hackathon ended was perseverance. It’s always hard to stick with something, especially if it’s new to you  . . .  but I think hackathons teach you to never give up easily and to keep on working at it until you finally get it.” Take a deep dive into something you are passionate about. Find out how fun it is to challenge yourself and work hard and create something (even if you don’t win a prize).

HackWITus is planning their next hackathon on November 9-10, 2019 in CEIS. Sign up now! Shawn, and all of us in CO-OPS + CAREERS, suggest that you “Come with an open mind and an eagerness to learn.” We hope to see you there!

As always, to make an appointment with your Co-op + Career Advisor call the front desk at 617.989.4101 or stop by the CO-OPS + CAREERS Office.

Summer 2019 Drop-In Hours: Wednesday and Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm while classes are in session.

Rocket.Build Community Hackathon: Event Recap

By: Kristen Eckman

This past weekend, Wentworth CO-OPS + CAREERS hosted the Rocket.Build Community Hackathon inviting students from the Boston area to participate in a 32-hour long hacking challenge. Participants completed challenges and designed specific hacks based on the following themes:

Best Housing Hack

Best Transportation and Mobility Hack

Best Environmental Hack

Best Rising Water Impact Hack

Best Job Portal for Highly Skilled Immigrants Hack

Best Connecting Community to Hackathons Hack

The Rocket.Build Community Hackathon was made possible through partnership between Wentworth and Rocket Software along with significant support from faculty and student organizers from the Computer Science Society, HackWITus, and Accelerate.

Participants began hacking Saturday morning after an opening ceremony facilitated by Anjali Arora, Rocket Software Chief Product Officer. Throughout the two-day event Rocketeers, alongside Wentworth faculty and staff, volunteered their time to lead breakout sessions on topics including “Technical Interviewing”, “HTTP Servers & Databases”, and “Predicting Boston Housing Prices Using AI”.

 

RS Hackathon

 

Nearly one hundred students from eight Boston area colleges and universities attended the event, while 64 went on to present their hacks in teams to a panel of Rocket judges Sunday afternoon. Prizes were awarded based on the following categories:

Judges Pick for Community Build: Hyperdome – An anonymous help line with no fear of stigma or consequences.

Created by: Skyelar Craver, Steven Pitts

Environmental Hack: Trash Tag Tracker – Used the #trashtag movement to inspire reporting locations to be cleaned up.

Created by: Bruce Craig, Vincent Jodice, Andrew Bissel, Griffen Campbell, and Corey Everett

Connecting Community Hack: C Squared – A Portal to match volunteers with non-profits.

Created by: Damian Barrows, Mason Osborn, Joe Schnachert, Keidon London, and Simon Wang

Rising Water Hack: Waterfront – Educate Boston residents on susceptibility to flooding.

Created by: Ethan Arrowood, Julia Connor, and Colin Hennessy

Housing Hack: Homefront – Site for user submitted information on homes for safety.

Created by: Gia Hill, Ryan Clonrety, and Yali Izzo

Special Award for Resilience: Green Posh –  They lost 2 of 5 members during the night! Empower reduced consumption.

Created by: Nate Bland, Teddy Gadie, and Camille Calabrese

Check out all hacks submitted here: https://rs-hackathon-2019.devpost.com/submissions

 

RS Hackathon

 

The event was a robust experience and recruiting opportunity as students applied their academic and creative problem-solving skills, interacted with Rocket Software staff (mentors, hiring managers, HR professionals) and persevered under a demanding deadline with little sleep. All students gained experience to build their skill set (and resumes) and five co-op opportunities were awarded to Wentworth students!

Technical skills strengthened by hacking:

  • Team formation, collaboration and management
  • Public presentation skills
  • Research, ideation and problem solving
  • Honed programming skills in coding languages
  • Used new software programming tools
  • Built servers, websites and apps
  • Designed complex databases
  • Applied high level math
  • Used AI/Machine Learning for predictive modelling

RS Hacking

 

Thank you to all who participated and volunteered this weekend to make The Rocket.Build Community Hackathon a success! Stay tuned for more events like this one. Keep up-to-date through our Events Page.

 

Check out what Rocket Software had to say about their experience at Wentworth:

ROCKET.BUILD COMMUNITY: A NEW GLOBAL TRADITION

MENTORING AT THE FIRST ROCKET.BUILD COMMUNITY HACKATHON

 

More photos from the event can be found here.