By Natnael Mekonnen
On February 1 – 3, I participated in the HoyaHacks hackathon at Georgetown University. Hackathon is a competitive creative zone where student teams learn and create a project within 36 hours. One of my team members, Nelson, had an idea to make laser tag with robots, and we took on the challenge. Most of us were new to C programming and working with hardware material so we had to teach each other the first time. The hackathon hosts also provided workshops to help us get started.
As it was my first hackathon, I was adjusting to the environment, but I also learned a great deal from working in teams to setting career goals. Fortunately, I had Rajashow Parajuli, a fellow Hillman student, and other friends from Montgomery College that I teamed up with to work on the projects. Our project involved learning programming C language and using small computer called Raspberry Pi. We researched and helped each other understand the concepts despite it being difficult. On the second day, we were able to apply what we learned to the Raspberry Pi and got it to work successfully.
Besides the projects, I had the opportunity of talking to the sponsors which included Amazon, IBM, and Google. Ryan is the software engineer that represented Amazon, and he gave me an understanding of designers and shared his career path. After I shared my resume and talked about my personal project in web development, he suggested that I apply for the summer internship program they are opening for the participants. We also shared our LinkedIn, and he offered to help with my personal project and application process. I had and amazing experience from my first hackathon and built a few networks, and now, I am excited to take part in another.