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We should all be hacking

Msc Applied International Development student, Olga Shevchenko, reflects on the R U Hacking society’s February Hackathon. 

On February 16-17 the University of Reading society R U Hacking has held their second Hackathon in the Henley Business school, which was attended by nearly 75 students from UK universities.  Hackathon is a programming marathon, where teams of 2-4 put their ideas together to create something in 24 hours. It gives teams of hackers a chance to turn their ideas into reality and present them.  

I spoke to Ludmila Cerne, the society secretary, and to Andrejus Kostarevas, the president, about their society and organizing hackathon. This Hackathon is the second one for the society, and the first one after joining the Major League Hacking, the official student hackathon league. This year the outreach brought more participants, and in the same time committee has managed to get more sponsors, resulting in a £10,000 event budget. Among the sponsors there were BMI, Reading Buses, Investec, and CodeWizards. It was possible to interact with the sponsors, including talking to them about jobs and internships. 

I have noticed that there were more males than females amongst the hackers, but according to Andrejus the number of the female attendants of the event is quite high. Women constitute around 10% of the computer science course in the university, and 30% of them were registered for the Hackathon. Ludmila hopes that next year there will be even more women, as they try to specifically target this audience during Hackathon media outreach.  

For Andrejus, organizing the Hackathon in Reading is giving back. Just the last year he has won the prize at his first hackathon for developing a chat bot. For Ludmila, this is an invaluable experience as she is hoping to organize similar event in her own school of chemistry. To her, Hackathon is a place to learn how to work in team and something to put into a CV. 

For the hackers, Hackathon is the place to bring their ideas to life at with the opportunity to borrow some devices and components like Fitbit and learn new skills at the workshops that covered Git, Docker, and Twilio basics. They were not even distracted due to hunger as the event was wellcatered, with pizza, sandwiches, snacks and drinks.  

If you want to join the R U Hacking society or know more about similar events, be sure to check their website https://www.ruhacking.me/. 

About Taz Usher

Print Editor of The Spark Newspaper.

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