48 hours to create a project from scratch. Sounds impossible? Not at all. Programming students showed they could not only work in teams, but also launch their own projects on a selected topic. They participated in the hackathon SpinOffHack at Lviv Polytechnic University, and implemented their own ideas connected to the Device Mesh.
Teams consisted of three or four students who had two days to launch a project. In the beginning of the hackathon, they got a theme, Device Mesh, which influenced the ideas for the projects. The next step was teamwork. Creating a complete product in such a short time is difficult, especially for students who do not have a lot of practice; therefore, participants had to spend 48 hours together to bring the idea to its implementation. The mentors, experienced IT specialists from Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa and Lviv, helped to develop the products.
The winner was a team HardCode consisting of the students from Polytechnic University, Ukrainian Catholic University, and Lviv University. The students created a project Life Wire to promote safety of motorcyclists on the road. The winners will go to Dnipropetrovsk for the final, national round of hackathon.
“We have offered our students to join the organization of the hackathon, and it’s hard to believe how many freshmen and older students joined it,” says Yuriy Yatsuk, organizer, an assistant professor at the Department of Computerized Automatic Systems of Lviv Polytechnic University. He adds: “The number of students who organized the hackathon was much greater than the teachers, so it was really an event by students for the students!”
According to Yuriy, the event enables the students to meet new people and gives them an opportunity to generate and implement the idea of a prototype in a very short time. “Members of different teams helped each other with their projects showing it was not merely a competition where every team cared only about itself, but a real team game!” says the organizer.
“Hackathon allows students to have a glimpse into the “adult” project development,” says Oleksii Molchanovskyi, teacher at Ukrainian Catholic University, and organizer of the event. According to him, students in universities often lack the project teamwork, so hackathon is an opportunity to try it out and test the idea through communication with mentors and jury.
“Participants will have a more profound perspective on project creation and business models, and the winners will get a month for improving their idea to a more realistic design to present the project before potential investors,” continues Oleksii. He believes it can push the students to create their own startups.
Hackathon is an important event for the programming students and universities because it shows that it is possible to do something new than the standard academic courses. Oleksii adds: “Through the hackathon, the university can find business companies as partners, or make connections with the representatives from the IT industry and business.” According to Oleksii, although this hackathon is the first one on the selected topic, the organizers plan to make it regular and bring the event to other cities.
“Device mesh is one of the most important IT trends focused on the interaction between applications, information, and people. It includes a variety of devices such as innovations from the field of the Internet of things, wearables, sensors, smart devices: that is, everything worth watching and learning about because this trend will only get more valuable in the future,” says Stepan Veselovskyi, Lviv IT Cluster CEO and the jury at hackathon. According to him, the theme is very important for future developers because it enables them to monitor and work with the essential tendencies as well as improve the skills the IT companies are looking for.