Last weekend, we had the great opportunity to have several roles at the first Hackathon of 2019, Hackathon XIII at The Tech Garden in Syracuse. Groups of developers and engineers gathered from around Upstate NY to compete in building an application that would help solve a common, or not so common, problems that could be solved with a software app.
Hack Upstate put this amazing event together successfully, yet again as if we had any doubt of this. We were extremely lucky to be one of the many great sponsors for Hackathon XIII. The sponsorships allow Hack Upstate to run these great events for free and keep the developers, volunteers, and mentors fed and full of caffeine.
Not only did we get to sponsor this great event, our VP of Engineering, Doc, was a judge at Hackathon XIII. Plus, we had a team of our own talented engineers there that created their own project. Alice, Mikhael, and Sara created PictoBops. This app allows Spotify to generate a playlist based on an image. It uses AWS Rekognition, Datamuse API, Python, React, and Bootstrap. The app won the team honorable mentions and can be seen here.
This event was great to help a few of our developers work on other areas of their fields, much like PICO-8, and build a fun app. “I got a long overdue chance to brush up on my python skills, as well as learning more about serverless. I gained a lot of familiarity with some really interesting API’s that I’d like to use again in the future” Sara said she learned. Mikhael said “This project was an amazing opportunity to learn more about React development. I learned a lot about creating components and containers within the project, as well as setting up functions to interact with the Spotify and AWS Rekognition API data. This was definitely an amazing first hackathon experience, and I look forward to future opportunities to collaborate and create, as well as gain more experience with new languages and libraries.”. Participating in hackathons is not only great for newer developers, but it allows developers to step away from work to learn something new.
On to the main winners of Hackathon XIII. The grand prize of $1,000.00 went to Kevin Topper and Mark Simson for their app: American Py Language. The app was developed to help translate hand signals and sign language to written text. Second place of $500.00 went to Stephen Passero, Gary Passero, Linda Kovacs, Salvador Galarza, and Jennifer Tran, and Mark King for creating the app: Parking Assistant. The app was built using the Stae API and allows users to find out about street parking and movement by the time of day. We want to congratulate the two grand prize winners as well as the other winners of the specialty awards. Everyone who participated should be very proud to have put their best developer foot forward and build something new. Also, we want to give recognition to the participants from the recent Careers in Code class who were there. Awesome job and great job for keeping with it.
Events like this are possible due to sponsors. TCG Players of Syracuse was the presenting sponsor. Other sponsors for the event included: Thompkins Trust Company, Centerstate CEO, The Tech Garden, Onondaga County Office of Economic Development, Density, KPMG, The iSchool of SU, Stae, AIS, Wladis Law Firm, Upstate Interactive. We are very proud to be among these sponsors and look forward to future events with Hack Upstate and other area tech initiatives.