A Sneak Peek Into The Technical Extravaganza : HackNITR 2.0
The goal of organising HackNITR is to grow our local community and give hackers an unforgettable experience.
HackNITR, one of the largest hackathons in India's eastern region, is a kind of hackathon that endeavours to bring and integrate talent, innovation and creativity under one roof to build solutions for real-world problems using the latest technologies. Organised by a bunch of tech enthusiasts from Developer Student Clubs (DSC) NIT Rourkela in collaboration with OpenCode, Opensource community, registered under the technical society of Student Activity Centre (SAC), NIT Rourkela.
HackNITR 2.0 saw a total of 1180 individual registrations and 83 teamed-up submissions, making it the largest hackathon in the history of NIT Rourkela. The hackathon being pretty welcoming to newcomers, helps them get involved in an activity to grow their tech community involvement. Having mentioned that, a lucrative prize worth $2200 was for the best All-girls hacker team at HackNITR. To the underrepresented yet highly potential community in the tech world, such a boost must have helped them.
Sessions were held by varied personalities in the tech field a week before the hackathon (10th - 19th March 2021). The aim behind having talks is to motivate the participants and encourage them to use new technologies learned through these talks in their solutions. Having Devfolio, AWS user group India, GitHub and SashiDo as the Gold sponsors, the event was highly successful.
Timeline of the hacking festival
The hacking festival saw a plethora of reputed guest lectures being delivered throughout the course of the festival. Some of them were -
With Hackathons' rise, the tech-world has been inundated with a plethora of projects born out of the minds of young and ebullient innovators. "What is a Hackathon? How to be best at it?" by Aditya Oberai, Pragati Verma and Yash Khare. This session was highly helpful for first-time hackers. Through their numerous experiences, the speakers gave a complete overview of a hackathon and even key insights on how to be best at what they submit.
The first session of the coding marathon started with a sneak peek at Google's ideology on maintaining their dominance for upcoming users under the heading "Building for the Next Billion Users". Hackers witnessed Nikita Gandhi, community manager at Google Developers, delivering an interactive and insightful talk. It touched upon the actual questions one needs to ask oneself before thinking about any product idea. The session ranged from the process of design thinking to a complete overview of product development.
The day ended with a fun competition of a typing race between the hackers.
With an experience of 50+ hackathons in various roles, Hackers witnessed Siddharth Dayalwal, AngelHack Student Ambassador, who gave insights on his hackathon journey. He described why to participate in hackathons and the importance of being in a closed knit community. The workshop was more of a Q&A session where the hackers asked various questions from different domains. He effortlessly and generously kept on answering and cleared all their doubts from ground basics and instilled a sense of contributing to the community.
HackNITR was pretty well organised on Discord and the discord bots even helped in providing a seamless experience to the participants. Having an introductory workshop on making bots gave the hackers insights on making their bots and automating their daily tasks. Nimit Savant conducted this workshop, the Hack Club lead of Navarachna University (NUV), on the ABC of bot-making.
The 2nd workshop of the coveted HackNITR 2.0 event was delivered by Sanket Singh on Unacademy Platform. The event kicked off at 8.10 pm with around 100 viewers. The event was based on the topic "Headstart to Competitive Programming". In a short yet insightful session that lasted for 2 hours, Sanket gave the viewers various aspects of Competitive Coding.
He enlisted the reasons to the viewers on why one should practice competitive programming, which were-.
It gives you recognition in the community
Helps in interview preparation
It is a fun sport.
He even focussed on several points like "Prerequisite of Competitive Coding", "Competitive Coding vs Software Development, "Famous Coding Competitions" and many more. A Quiz session too was conducted in the session where Ahan Anupam emerged as the winner. Sanket even solved a problem live on the CodeChef platform. The session ended with a QnA session that lasted for 10 mins.
A fun mini session was conducted the next day, i.e. 17th March 2021, named "Kahoot Quiz". The event was streamed on Youtube as well on Airmeet. HackNITR conducted it in collaboration with BitBox (another Hackathon by DSC JIIT). The event kicked off at 10 PM and was a session that saw 50+ participants. There was also prize money worth 500 rupees cash prize and Github Mona Figurine. The participants were provided with a set of MCQ where participants had to answer those questions.
The session on Thursday kickstarted at 6.10 pm on the Airmeet platform. Suman Debnath (Principal Developer Advocate, Amazon Web Services (AWS)) was the speaker for the session ‘AWS for Developers’. It was a fun-filled event that lasted for more than an hour. Suman gave the viewers an in-depth idea of ‘Cloud -Computing’, ‘Amazon Web Services’, ‘AWS's products and services’. Suman also demonstrated hosting a website on AWS services.
A fun event, ‘Among Us’, marked the end of the events for the day.
The opening ceremony of the much-awaited HackNITR 2.0 kicked off at 5.10 pm on Airmeet. The hosts of the evening Astha Nayak and Ritesh Patil introduced everyone to the event and gave the viewers an insight into what had happened over the past few days. This was followed by a short speech by the Vice President of Technical Society, SAC. In his short speech, he mentioned the importance of automation in our daily life. He also said that this event would be a great medium to learn new concepts and wished it to be a grand success.
Then the hosts gave an idea about the various prize and the tracks (i.e. Social Goods, Open Innovation, Fun and Entertainment and Old hacks). The hosts gave a surprise to all the participants, which was an additional bonus, i.e. the winner of each track could additionally get a cash prize of 2000 rupees. This was followed by a brief video message by the SAC President, Prof Seemita Mohanty.
The next session was one of the flagship sessions conducted by Gaurav Sen on System Designs for Hackathons at 6.00 PM. Gaurav is a software engineer and has a Youtube channel on system design and algorithms with over 300k subscribers. He is also the founder of InterviewReady, a platform to prepare for system design interviews.
The interactive session lasted for 35 mins which were followed by a short Q&A session. This was followed by a session on “Building DApps using Tezos" by Mudit Marda.
An extremely resourceful and engrossing session on ‘What excites me to be a Software Developer?’ was delivered by Michael Paulson, Senior Software Engineer, Netflix, who even owns the famous Primeagen Youtube channel. It started with what excited him to be an engineer in the first place and went on with a story about how his passion for coding was born in a linked list class.
Treating tasks to do as opportunities rather than mere chores was his advice on staying motivated throughout software development. Michael mentioned several other instances of his life which any software enthusiast could relate with, along with some gems of advice on dealing with slumps and highs in life in general and the field of development in particular. With one of the most dynamic speakers of the event, the session ended with a highly interactive Q&A round.
Logan Kilpatrick, a software engineer at Apple and Julia language community manager, delivered the session regarding Julia, a high level, high-performance language, which finds numerous applications in diverse fields like numeric analysis and computational science. The session was quite enriching with discussions on the significance of the language, concerning students, real-world projects like Climate modelling and Energy optimisation, Personalised medicines in partnership with UMB, etc. The session moved forward to Julia's quick and simple demo, which reflected some of its similarities with Python and finally concluded with some interactive Q&As.
A workshop was conducted by EchoAR, one of the event sponsors and a Mini event was conducted by the team.
The tedious yet innovative 48 hours of the hackathon came to an end. A keynote session by Siddhant Agarwal, who is in charge of DSC programs in India, is part of his role at Google. Keeping the community engaged in the online mode through placing special focus on the content, keeping things short and crisp and in the process, being part of a chain reaction that leads to the overall growth of the community, was one of the subjects discussed in the session. Other related queries like the importance of interpersonal relations, the differences between community-driven event and event-driven community and which to choose were brainstormed.
A submission demo was to be presented by the participants with valid submissions.
A session on Exploring Tech through communities, by Juan Pablo Flores, Student Community Manager, GitHub formed the last event of the hacking festival. GitHub was the centre of discussion throughout. The presenter took participants from profile building to the contribution during the session. An interactive Q&A session followed. In the end, the names of Mini event winners were declared. This marked the end of the weekend of innovations.
Anisha Mohapatra, one of the freshers of NIT Rourkela who took part in the competition, had to say this-
I got my first chance to showcase my technical and managerial skills by building my first hack project. We were given 36 hours to build our hack. I, with my teammates, worked day and night to complete the project along with presentation and video where we learned a lot of technical stuff on our own using Google, Youtube and reading documentations etc. Not only this, we also attended great sessions, mini-events and workshops conducted by renowned expert personalities from all corners of the world. Overall it was one of the best experiences of my life. I got exposure to the oceanic world of technology. I would like to thank the team of HackNITR for conducting such a successful and enriching event.
To all the technology enthusiasts and problem solvers, the hack submissions and winning projects can be seen here.
Vishal Reddy Chintham, winning team member of the project named ‘Old Care’ from Vellore Institute of Technology stated:
It was a great experience and I loved the community a lot. The two things that I have learnt from it are, Just keep working till the end and try to be as innovative as possible. I have to say that the hackathon organised really well and I loved the energy of the speakers and mentors!
Let’s hear it from the Organisers
Vedant Raghuwanshi, one of the Lead Organisers of HackNITR 2.0 was elated at the grand success of the event and expressed:
An exhilarating and learning throughout. I worked on a lot of stuff from Technical to Public Relations and Management. I am pretty delighted that we had 1100+ applications, 83 submissions from various institutions across the country. I am pleased that we served our purpose of inclusivity as we had a large number of first-time hackers and active participation of freshers from our institution. We had a super awesome team and a lovely discord server with great sync. It was wonderful interacting with industry experts and their sessions were quite insightful. Felt quite satisfied and happy after seeing the quality, sheer innovation and creativity of submitted hacks. Felt home :)
Regarding plans in store for HackNITR 3.0, he stated:
I am delighted with the hackathon’s outreach and we plan to increase the scale of HackNITR to make it even bigger and better. We can achieve this by becoming a member of events of good organisations and a lot more.
Harish, one of the Lead Organisers of HackNITR 2.0 gave a detailed overview of their journey in organising a hackathon on this scale:
We started preparing for HackNITR 2.0 around the month of November, which was 4 months before the event. The ride was filled with ups and downs, rejections and approvals from Sponsors and Guests gave us mixed feelings. In the end, I was really glad that the organizing team has given its best efforts to make HackNITR 2.0 a fruitful event. Even organizing a hackathon has its own problem statement, the goal of organizing HackNITR 2.0 was to give encourage students to build innovative solutions. Gaurav Sen turning up to HackNITR 2.0 is one of the finest moments of the event. By organizing HackNITR 2.0 I have definitely learned a lot, the experience wasn't that smooth. We had SpeedNetworking and Mini Events to encourage hackers to interact and bring them together. Though we had a pretty good response from the hackers, it could be improved to encourage a larger crowd. Made a few mistakes, but mistakes make us strong.
Team Monday Morning congratulates Open code and DSC NIT Rourkela for successfully organising ‘HackNITR 2.0’ and hopes such events are conducted more often for the benefit of the student developers community.