i_Hackathon - Masse

What would you do with access to government data?

A team of four used Ottawa’s open data database to win $200 during Startup Algonquin’s first hackathon. Ammar Khan, Anh-Quan Dang, Elim Tsiagbey and Chowdhury Anwar created an app that could be used to offer a resource to know and stay updated about all of Ottawa’s recreational activities.

Students who participated in Startup Algonquin’s hackathon from Nov 27-29 got their chance to contribute to society and test themselves against the clock.

A hackathon is generally a weekend of designing, coding and implementing ideas with a deadline to turn them into working products. The theme of this hackathon was government innovation. The participants had a choice of the various open databases available to public to use as the foundation of their project.

“Well, I had a fruitful experience at the hackathon. It was my first hackathon ever, and I learned many things,” said Shaktisinh Sodha, first-year entrepreneurship acceleration student.  “But the most important thing I learned from the hackathon was about team work.” Sodha discovered that knowing your teammates well could make a challenging weekend easier. His advice to newcomers would be to get to know your fellow developers well.

“(It’s) been so much fun,” said Godfrey Joekumar, an organiser of the hackathon. With 46 registrants coalescing into about ten teams submitting projects, most were first-time hackathon competitors.

Startup Algonquin interviewed and provided tech support throughout the entire event. Most of the team members had not worked together before, so they had to gauge each others skills before starting.

The hackathon was timed to coincide with the end of the Startup Algonquin week said Seaf Al-Munayer, CEO of Singularity XL. Singularity XL hosted a week of prep sessions that explained different aspects of what could be a difficult and challenging weekend. A speaker, Taisha Lewis of Labarge Weinstein law firm, joined the club during the week to introduce the intricacies of business structures and to incorporate.

Prizes were offered to the best technical, non-technical and a fan favourite submission. Startup Algonquin invited members of the Ottawa development community to be a panel of judges that have reviewed the submitted applications.

This is it for the Startup Algonquin’s fall 2015 activities, but more events, workshops and hackathons are planned for the spring semester.

“They provided a platform and opportunity for students to go out of their comfort zone and create something valuable,” said Sodha. “I would definitely suggest other students to take part next time.”