From two recent conversations I’ve had with Engineering students, I’ve come to suspect that they think hackathons are only for Computer Science students. This is a problem for a few reasons that I’ll list out here:
- With the rise of sensors and big data, engineers are now required to code. So they had might as well get good at it. Hackathons are a rich informal learning environment for this
- Hackathons build confidence. Conceiving an idea and building a prototype of it in 24-48 hours is worthy accomplishment
- Hackathons are a great place to meet and work with people outside of your discipline. They encourage silo-busting
- Many great solutions to problems emerge from hackathons. And we need a diverse set of people participating in this problem solving
- Hackathons often put you on the path to bigger and better things: entrepreneurship, grants, competitions, accelerators
So the next time you hear about a hackathon with a cool theme, Push through the habitual response of, “That’s for other people and not for me.” If you can code, even at a beginner level, then you ought to try it out.
Awesome:WiC at RIT