Gone are those days when events in colleges were just about dance or singing competitions or a fashion show. These days, an increasing number of colleges are going the hackathon way.
And BITS-Pilani Hyderabad is gearing up for its tech fest Atmos, which itself features four hackathons.
It also has a hackathon organised by Microsoft, the second hackathon as part of PM Narendra Modi’s Digital India initiative. “It’s a really important event as students get to know about corporate world ideologies. There are experts coming down who will mentor the participants and help them better their ideas and that adds a lot of value,” says Naveen Jafer, a third-year student at BITS-Pilani, Hyderabad. He adds, “We have a minimum of four hackathons each year.”
Another college in the city organising regular hackathons is IIIT-Hyderabad. Parth Laxmikant Kolekar, a third-year BTech CSE student says, “IIIT Hyderabad hosts a fair number of hackathons. In fact, it would be difficult to provide an accurate estimate on the exact numbers each year. In my first year at IIIT Hyderabad, there were about five hackathons I recall participating in.”
Talking about how it helps, he says, “In my opinion, because hackathons have strict deadlines and with the pressure to deliver a practical demo for an idea, it is helpful for college students. You get a real feel of what you can and cannot create. It also bridges the gap between an abstract idea and a working demo.”
From Muffakam Jah College of Engineering and Technology, Aarshad Devani, final-year student and the chairperson of Computer Society of India, MJCET chapter agrees. “There are many benefits to hackathons. You get to learn and experience from these events. For many fourth-year students who want to get into entrepreneurship it’s an ideal platform. They get to turn their ideas into reality. We are organising one in our college in October-end,” he says.
Aarshad was also part of the three-member team that won the recent XtreamIT Hackathon. And he says that winning a hackathon looks great on the CV too. “Students learn to work under pressure. Within 12 hours, you don’t have to just come up with an idea but also work on it, design, code and then present the final product. It helps us build confidence. In the future we will be given a longer time to work on a project but we’ll know we can handle it,” he says.
Parth, meanwhile, adds the only the demerit of hackathons: “It’s a race type of event, think quick, code quicker. And while further development does happen on hackathon cooked ideas, it usually starts with a dump of all the Hackathon code, and a fresh clean start. Time wins in the (quality vs. time) race.”