Hi everyone! English is not my first language so please ignore any spelling or grammatical error. 😊
For my first blog post ever, I thought it was the perfect time to talk about my experience doing hackathons!
Last year, I anxiously sent out an application to participate in Hack for Sweden, Swedens biggest annual hackathon. Hack for Swedens mission is to increase the awareness and use of open data and is organized by government agencies. Last year, I entered the hackathon solo and was match-made with a group of strangers. It turned out to be one of the best experiences ever, we even made it to the finale!
Fast-forward to this year, me and a friend of mine decided to apply together as a group. This year, Hack for Sweden was bigger than ever, doubling the number of hackers since last year.
A couple of weeks before the hack, the challenges were released online. Each team had to pick 1 challenge and 1 problem to solve. Since this hackathon is organized by government agencies, we had to use at least 1 government open data source. During our brainstorming session, we looked at all the open data provided by swedish government agencies. The challenges consisted of 6 categories:
- Business Sector
- Health Sector
- Labor Market
- Education & Science
After the brainstorming session, we went ahead with mobility. The problem we were solving was
How can we make personal transport safer and simpler with a clear sustainable perspective?
This year, Hack for Sweden was held at Stockholmsmässan. The registration was quick and simple. We got our badges printed and were provided with H4S t-shirts to wear during the hackathon. Inside the venue, we were provided with a hackers-kit consisting of earplugs, pens, papers and last but certainly not lear, strong wifi!
There we lots of inspiring talks in the opening cermony, but my favorite was
astropreneur Karin Nilsdotter. Karin talked about the future of space and all the new and exciting things that are happening in space technology.
Once the countdown started, the hack was official on! Over 400 hackers sat in the venue and started coding. There were more girls this year than before, which I was very excited about! 👩💻
We were provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as free and unlimited coffee and snacks!
We also met so many amazing and smart people that were ready to help if any team had questions.
40 hours later, the pitching started. Preparing for the pitch was nerve-racking. We had 3 minutes to pitch and 2 minutes to answer questions from the jury. We prepared a keynote presentation as well a demo of out solution. Our jury consisted of:
- Sara Selldahl, Head of Nordics Marketing, Google Cloud
- Annica Wallenbro Stojcevski, Business Group Lead Data & AI, Microsoft
- Elias Arnestrand, Project Manager Mobility, Nordic Innovation House Silicon Valley
- Fredrik Lemon, Senior Advisor IT, Swedish Transport Administration
- Fredric Skargren, Digital Strategist, Swedish Transport Agency
- Jesper Johansson, Sustainable Mobility Expert, Swedish Incubators and Science Parks
The pitch went really well! We kept it at under 3 minutes and answered the jurys questions.
Our team made it to the finale and was nominated as the top three in our category!!! 🎉🎉 Although we did not win, we had so much fun!! 🎉🎉
Doing hackathons was always something I thought would be very scary. I didn't know if I was good enough, or I was creative enough. Making it to the finale twice showed me how I don't have to fit into the hackathon stereotype to be good at it.
I can just be me! 🧕🏾
My name is Farhia and I'm a junior developer from Stockholm, Sweden.