Pune: ThoughtWorks, Pune, a global IT company recently hosted ‘Hack Reaction’, a first-of-its-kind, hackathon for school students aged between 14 and 19 years. What made this event so unique was the fact that it was organised by the students, for the students of the same age group.
Over 100 students from different schools across the city including Bishop’s Junior College, St Mary’s School, Dr Shamrao Kalmadi Junior college, DAV Public school and Nowrosjee Wadia College, participated in the two-day hackathon which concluded this Sunday, August 7. Students who organised themselves as groups had one single goal – to come up with ideas for how software can solve an important problem for people in India. And all this was to be done within 36 hours by writing codes to get the ideas to a working prototype. Said Chirag Doshi, office principal of TW, “It was very energising and simultaneously humbling experience for us at ThoughtWorks to see youngsters’ passion and knowledge about software development. I think more companies should try to bridge the gap between academics and industry using such initiatives.”
ThoughtWorks played the perfect host by offering students ample space to indulge in fun activities inside the premises. Students also had a great time working in the informal yet very productive work environment which TW is known for. Students brainstormed, used the whiteboards, hashed out their ideas on large screen monitors. When they needed, they took chai and coffee breaks and even played PS3/XBOX, table tennis, carrom and football.
Sharing the experience, one of the student participant said, “We coded, we played, we ate and repeated the same, I wish my life could be just that and I wish I get to work in a office like this.”
After one and half days of coding, the judges interacted with each team to understand their idea, thought process and the final outcome. Students also presented their ideas and prototype in front of everyone. The judges Nazneen Rupawalla and Nikesh Shetty, who work as developers at ThoughtWorks had a hard time coming up with the final winners.
“I was amazed at what these students came up with given that they were all below 12th grade. I remember, my first engineering project, it was nothing in front of what these young minds made in just two days,” said Quazi Mohd, who coordinated the event on behalf of ThoughtWorks.
The final 3 winners of the hackathon are:
1. Automating the home lighting system via voice command. The team impressed the judges as well as the fellow students with by showcasing the use of IOT to control the lighting system in a very simple yet effective manner. One of the potential building blocks for the smart city
2. Easing the frequent dilemma around the college selection process. Their prototype showed great potential by showing list of colleges that could be applied by the students based on their score. Also, they have modules which can help students with reference material and timetables.
Left to right – Neehal Sharma, Gaurav Verma, Nishal Kulkarni & Ritika Bhatt from The Bishop’s School, Kalyani Nagar.
3. The team implemented the brilliant idea of managing all the events based on different categories at a single place.They planned to ease out the hardships of an organizer to go to different places to host the event idea. The team included Agrima Agarwal & Deepanita Gupta from DAV public school and Kavina Patel & Roshita Bhosle from The Bishop’s School, Kalyani Nagar
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