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CSULB to host their second collegiate hackathon

BeachHacks invites students to build programs during 24-hour period.

Graphic by Stephanie Hak

Graphic by Stephanie Hak

Connie Ojeda, Staff Writer

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Laptops, coding, food and 24 hours of turning ideas into reality — these are the elements of Cal State Long Beach’s second collegiate hackathon, taking place April 22-23 in the University Student Union.

Beginning on Saturday at 2 p.m., students will have the opportunity to come together during the 24-hour BeachHacks event and either make projects or learn various skill sets in computer science and computer engineering.

During the event, students will be encouraged to build any project – ranging from desktop applications to game applications for either IOS or Android systems – which can be entered in a competition to be judged by a panel of judges for a winning prize. Winning prizes will consist of medals, scholarships and Raspberry Pi computers.

Jaylen Wimbish, a 23-year-old senior physics major and computer science minor, said the event was created as an effort to show companies that students at Cal State Universities are just as good at computer programming as other major schools are.

“I want to say that because we are a Cal State and we are one of the few Cal States actually throwing a hackathon, it’s saying we are just as good as UC’s as well,” said Wimbish, who is also an organizer for BeachHacks.

The second annual hackathon was made possible through funding secured by Associated Students, Inc., the College of Engineering and Major League Hacking, who provided the software for hackers to work with during the event.

The event allows students to compete against other programmers and will offer the opportunity to network and share ideas with attendees specializing in majors across fields, because skills in marketing, coding, design and business are essential when creating a product.

“At BeachHacks, we can expect students from diverse backgrounds in technology to come together under one roof to work on projects in their own unique and creative ways,” Wimbish said. “BeachHacks is like a hacking party where individuals are able to network with each other, share different ideas, learn from another and build something awesome together.”

Although organizers encourage students with diverse majors to participate, those who have just decided to attend will have to wait until next year, as the application process for this year’s event has already closed.

Michael Botsko, a 21-year-old computer science major and director of BeachHacks, said students must go through an application process so organizers can ensure that everyone attending is a student as well as to assure that enough meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — are provided.

Aside from learning and networking, BeachHacks also advocates the importance of building side projects, as Wimbish said projects made at hackathons are elements, which can be added on resumes, showing a skill set other than what is learned in school.

The event, which is expected to draw more than 400 attendees, is expected to be more successful than last year’s event, as Botsko said more preparation, planning and effort was put into this year’s hackathon.

“I think it’ll be more successful than last year’s event,” Botsko said. “Speaking as the person who founded BeachHacks, it has been a lot of work just getting the school to allow us to have the event; just getting it approved was a big success for me.”

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