Coding for the Future

 In Software Development

On the weekend of June 26-28, @SolTechAtlanta and @TheIronYard partnered for their fourth Hackathon together. Six teams, totaling over forty student developers, endeavored to deliver a functioning piece of software in less than forty-eight hours; starting with nothing more than an idea and a fresh pot of coffee. SOLTECH volunteers supplied the app ideas and technology mentoring, while the Iron Yard crew supplied the coding skills and competitive drive to deliver the best possible solutions.

 

And they’re off…

After a little dinner and socializing, it was time for the hackers to get their assignments. The SOLTECH crew officially opened the event with an introduction to the three application concepts that teams would be tasked with tackling (Angry Magical Man Hours, Comic Book Maker and Map Route Provider). The students were divided into six teams, comprised of a mixture of back end, front end and mobile skill sets. Each application concept was assigned to two teams, a brief Q&A was had, and then it was time for each team to head to their work areas and get to it.

The Iron Yard staff and Hackathon volunteers were on hand throughout to assist with requirements definition, project planning and technical guidance (and more coffee).  Along the way, there were challenges and obstacles, but the hackers persevered.  Ultimately, all six teams produced working applications that adhered to the concept requirements and had a blast doing it.

Providing Real World Experience

Hackathon_2One of the fun moments for me, as a mentor to the Hackaton, was helping a team who was working on the “route provider” app.  This team had chosen to use a JavaScript framework called Leaflet to aid with route determination and mapping, but had never used it before.  Neither had I.  While the rest of the team prepared the final presentation, their front-end teammate and I focused our effort on getting the map working.  We were fighting the clock to get it to work.

Ultimately, that experience turned out to characterize many others that weekend.  Students came up against technical challenges they had never faced before, but instead of allowing the challenges to derail their efforts, they figured out what was needed, and pushed through.  That is such a valuable skill to learn as there are always new technologies that you don’t know and  a deadline that has to be met.

Hackathon Results

Hackathon_1Sunday afternoon the teams made their presentations, our judges deliberated and the winner was announced. The Comic Book Maker concept app (requirements shown below), dubbed “Zero Issue” was deemed best-in-show. Despite the challenging Hackathon environment, the team managed to deliver a working and integrated solution with back end, front end and mobile components that met requirements, delivered an informative and entertaining presentation and had a great time doing it!

A big shout out to all the students who volunteered their weekend time to gain hands-on experience and to further their professional growth. Every student demonstrated a tremendous amount of dedication, creativity and true problem solving abilities towards crafting a software application solution in an impressively small amount of time, which is something to be proud of.  The experience will certainly pay off as you continue to grow as engineers.  In my humble opinion, you all did great and produced some killer apps!

Comic Book Maker Requirements

Users should be able to take images (including photos taken on a handset) and combine them with other creative elements, such as word balloons, sound effects, etc. and storyboard them together into a strip. The resulting strips should be able to be manipulated on the Web and potentially shared with friends via social media sites.

From the photos they can add:

  • Capes
  • Masks
  • Weapons ( Light Sabers )
  • Laser Zappers
  • Word Balloons
  • Sound Effects ( uploaded by user)
  • ​Static Sound effects (ZAP, BAMM, BOOM, etc.)

 

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