Co-authored by Rajan Panchal
“Most times, the way isn’t clear, but you want to start anyway. It is in starting with the first step that other steps become clearer.” — Israelmore Ayivor
“Apna Hack Aayega” roughly translates to “My hack will come” — it did and it was EPIC! HexaHive, the brainchild of Uniphyd. a student community of Computer Science Students at Parul University was a 24 hours hackathon that ran from February 9th to 10th. This post is how everything went down.
The hackathon was a long time coming (pun intended), a relatively young community at heart, Uniphyd. (yes, with a period) always wanted to have a hackathon because why not? Hackathons are fun right?
Sorry, Rajan :p
Comprised of mostly pre-final year students — the HexaHive team had no prior experience organizing hackathons or anything close in magnitude. That didn’t stop us though, we started with weekly video chats to put everything together and as things progressed we started to meet in person more often.
The in-person meetings were always memorable. I have no idea how it happened but over the course of six months, we turned a group of 10 strangers into some of the best of friends.
After getting everyone together, we had to decide what our hackathon would stand for, to decide what we wanted to achieve.
Who we are and what we embody 💭
We are all students, or at least I know I was when I was writing this. A lot of people think Hackathons are hard and are only for experienced programmers, we wanted to change that. We wanted to get people excited about innovating and draw a diverse group of new hackers. We wanted to give hackers a space to solve some of the biggest problems they face as students and also to empower the institutions that are shaping them up to be who they need to be.
We came up with two themes:
- University hacks
- Student hacks
When we got this done, the next task was sponsors…
We talk more about them at the end! With sponsors in the bag, it was time to let everyone know about the awesome thing we were doing.
We sent out our marketing team to tell students in the region about our event. They traveled far and wide spreading the message and gosh did they do an amazing job! We had more than 20 teams and 200 registrations with 87 participants and 22 teams making it to the offline hackathon. We had folks from all over. Literally! The best thing was the diverse nature of our participants, something we’re very proud of.
I mean we got registrations and all but I was genuinely shocked when hackers started to pour in team by team. People were interested in attending our event — something that a few months ago did not exist. It was such a great feeling tbh. Registrations went on smoothly and we handed out swag bags to each team. It really felt amazing when the whole auditorium was buzzing with the sound of fingers hitting keyboard keys, developers exchanging their thoughts on some weird function, and sharing a laugh as they played Jenga.
24 hours can be a long time to keep hackers awake, engaged, entertained and fed. It is by no means an easy task. For that we have our wonderful group of volunteers to thank for their amazing hospitality and service, also luckily we had Jenga.
Our goal was to get as many first time hackers as possible and change the perception that hackathons were only for pros. To do this, we would need to create an environment where they felt comfortable asking for help and most importantly getting that help. To add to the long list of things we were blessed with, we had amazing mentors! Girish and Sagar from KiwiSpecs, Harshil, Jogendra, Manas and Adeen — the GitHub Campus Experts graced us with their awesomeness, not forgetting Pranshu and Pratik from Mozilla and Microsoft respectively. Plus we had the extra guidance of our department professors. Needless-to-say help was all around!
24 hours can go by really quick when you’re having fun. We had hackers present their projects to a panel of judges and damn did we have excellent hacks. Each team had close to 5 minutes to share their idea and at the end, we had some “winners”. At events like this, when people spend 24 hours turning coffee and pizza into code, solving a specific problem pestering society and creating something to positively affect lives — literally everyone is a winner!
- Our Most Active Twitter Fan 🐦
- Our Best Girl Hack 👧
- The Best Student Hack 👏
Looking back 👀
Looking at the goals we set when we were coming up with the theme and objective of the hackathon. I feel like we exceeded our own expectations. If I got a dollar every time someone walked to a volunteer to thank them for hosting the hackathon, or to tell them it was their first hackathon I would have enough money to organize another one (because exchange rates 💁) lol
I cannot end this without saying we could not have done this without the MLH Hackathon Guide… it’s an absolute gem of a resource for anyone organizing a hackathon. Like I told the team countless times, the first hackathon is the hardest and the guide got us through. A few honorable mentions include my University, Parul University for hosting us, GitHub Education for guidance and the whole organizing team for literally making it possible.
We were lucky enough to have a lot of people working very hard to secure sponsors (shout out Sahil 🙌).
GitHub, our primary sponsor is a web-based hosting service for version control using Git. It is mostly used for computer code. It is also commonly used to host open source software projects.
Quiknode is a fast & easy way to run your own Ethereum node. It provides fast, reliable, fully-synced Ethereum nodes — ready in under 10 minutes
Hasura offers instant realtime GraphQL APIs on any Postgres application, existing or new.
.tech is a domain service offering you various ranges while buying a domain
JetBrains is a software development company whose tools are used by developers all around the world
Sketch is a vector graphics design toolkit built to help you create your best work — from your earliest ideas, through to final artwork.
Estimote solves indoor location with bluetooth beacons and mesh to add real-world context for your apps.
Digital Ocean provides developers and businesses a reliable, easy-to-use cloud computing platform of virtual servers (Droplets), object storage (Spaces) that help to deploy and scale applications that run simultaneously on multiple computers
Hackerearth provides enterprise software solutions that help organizations with their innovation management and technical recruitment needs
Girlscript is one of India’s largest tech communities, it is open for all, although it supports diversity and wants to bring equality in tech, therefore, reserves 50% of seats for underrepresented groups including women, LGBTQ etc.
Kiwispecs — an emerging startup which gives technological solutions to various brands.
Microsoft develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services
Elastic the company behind the Elastic Stack — that’s Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash.
Balaji Wafers make crispy wafers with a touch of India’s finest spices.
Capturing Happiness specializes in custom and event merchandise, it also has an online platform to buy gifts.
It was by no means an easy task acquiring the sponsors we did, but without them, the hackathon would not have been what it was and we thank our sponsors for the role they played in making it possible ❤️
APNA HACK AA GAYA 👏