Eastern Michigan University students have the opportunity to test their computer-programming and code-writing skills over a 24-hour period in a “Hackathon.”
The event will take place Saturday, Oct. 10 through Sunday, Oct. 11. During the Hackathon, students will work towards solving a problem by collaborating and sharing ideas. The event is meant to be fun and competitive.
Anna Wendt, a senior studying information assurance, is one of the student organizers of the event. She told university communications, “We are targeting the computer science department, as they have the highest concentration of students with programming skills. The event is beginner-friendly, but students should have some programming experience.”
Any Eastern student is able to participate in the Hackathon—organized by computer science and information assurance students and faculty members. Up to 75 students can be a part of the event.
“We are quite excited to have the Hackathon here at EMU,” William Sverdlik, professor of computer science, told university communications. “Hackathons require many skills that students will require later in professional situations, such as collaboration, organization and working under time constraints. In addition, we will have judges from industry providing valuable critiques for student work. It’s a win-win situation for all students involved.”
Students wanting to take part in the Hackathon are able to sign up individually or with a team. Teams can be as small as three people and up to five. Besides team and individual sign ups, there is also the option for duo groups. Teams of three or four will be able to add additional students to their team.
The competition has three levels of competition: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Students choose from multiple problems at each level. Before the Hackathon, each team gets to decide their level of difficulty and their problem. During the event, teams have the option to change their level and/or problem. However, no extra time is given.
Student mentors, faculty, local business members, industry recruiters and graduate students will be there, along with executive members in Women in Computer Science and the Information Assurance Student Association. A panel made up of these community members will make up the judging panel, which will select the winning teams after the groups demonstrate their projects.
The details for the judging criteria are still being decided. Right now, the top beginner level team will receive 32 GB USB wristbands. The best intermediate team will receive $25 ThinkGeek gift cards, and the best advanced team will receive a Raspberry Pi for each member. Winners also go home with a t-shirt or hoodie with the Department of Computer Science engraving.
“Computer science jobs are consistently ranked among the highest paying and highest rewarding jobs out there,” said Augustine Ikeji, professor and department head of computer science, in a press release. “We prepare our graduates to work in different areas of computer science including mobile apps development, web programming, e-Commerce, big data and games programming.”
The Hackathon is an opportunity for students to practice the skills they’ve learned in class. Teamwork and utilizing code-sharing software are an important aspect of the event. Both of those are required in major software development projects.
The Computer Science Department is sponsoring the Hackathon. More information about EMU’s computer science programs can be found at https://www.emich.edu/compsci/programs/undergraduate.php