Hackathons and a Seidenberg Sweep

Many of our students in Seidenberg enjoy participating in Hackathons, either for learning, the fun of competition, or a range of prizes. Just recently, Seidenberg students Sal Torcivia, Daniel Rings, and Zahid Mahir participated in ‘Hack Upon a Cause,’ a hackathon powered by XO Group, Inc., to develop apps for charities. The three, on two separate teams, placed first in their two different categories.

Sal Torcivia, pictured right, is a junior Computer Science major and ‘Hack Upon a Cause’ was his second hackathon. He mentioned that this was his first time working with strangers, whom he paired up with at the event. Not knowing the people on his team beforehand was an obstacle at first, as they all took time figuring out how they worked best together, but in the end Sal says he enjoyed getting to know other developers.

The hackathons are most often competitive and can last overnight if not longer. ‘Hack Upon a Cause’ was a 24 hour event geared towards creating apps, programs, or websites for four different charities; each charity had multiple teams and would produce separate winners. Sal’s team worked on the website for ‘Wish Upon a Wedding,’ an organization that helps provide weddings or vow renewals for the terminally ill. Sal paired his skills as an experienced WordPress developer with the skills of his other team mates to create a code ad hoc for the charity.

From the other team, Daniel Rings, a senior Computer Science major, spoke of the success he shared with his team mate, Zahid Mahir. The two worked on an app for ‘DayOne,’ an organization that works towards ending abuse in relationships. Daniel worked on the front end and Zahid on back end; the two came as a prepared team, ready to divvy up their work in respect to their fortes. ‘Hack Upon a Cause’ was Daniel’s sixth hackathon. He heard about it through Professor Scharff, who introduced him to the world of hackathon-ing in the first place. Daniel mentions the biggest benefit of competing in hackathons: learning a lot in a concentrated amount of time. All participants leave with new knowledge and a sharper skill set in whatever is what they worked in.

Many of the hackathons around NYC can be found by searching ‘hackathon’ on Eventbrite, or checking in with AlleyNYC.  These hackathons are mostly free and occasionally have an entrance fee, but placing well in a competitive hackathon would be worth a small entry fee.

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