At Sabio Coding Bootcamp, current fellows and graduates are encouraged to participate in as many hackathons as possible. Hackathons are sprint-like competitions where programmers and designers collaborate to create new software tools during a specified time period. Some hackathons have themes around a certain industry or a specific problem that could be addressed with software.
Hackathons are important because fellows immerse themselves in an environment where they are tasked with quickly creating something and presenting its features before a panel of judges. This exercise exposes fellows to working with more seasoned developers, gives them practice explaining what it is they are creating and justifying their choice of tools, and provides them with additional real-world experience.
Sabio has sponsored three hackathons during the past year starting with the WeHack/Southeast Cities Hackathon in January, the VetsHack Hackathon over Labor Day weekend, and most recently, the Sabio SoCal Code Camp Hackathon this November.
“We encourage and support our Sabio Fellows to participate in hackathons because they provide another opportunity to work on building software to address real world problems with a tight deadline. Sabio Fellows have so much success at hackathons in the past three years that Sabio has insisted that it’s hard to keep track of all of the wins,” Liliana Monge, Sabio’s co-founder and CEO said.
“A hackathon is really great opportunity to get real world experience even before entering the job market. It really gives you insight on building something from scratch, helps you develop team building skills, and allows you to compete with developers with much more experience to see where you stack up. It’s an exhilarating 24-48 hours, and I absolutely love doing them,” said Nicki Klein, a Sabio Fellow from Cohort Two, who is now the Co-Founder & CEO of Betagig.
“I now have four hackathon wins on my résumé, and employers notice,” says Julia Wells of Sabio’s Cohort One. “The experience of participating in a hackathon is valuable enough, and after it’s done, being able to say I’m an ‘award-winning’ developer guarantees a job interview every time.”
Some of the notable hackathon wins include Sabio Cohort Eight winning the AT&T Mobile App Hackathon in July 2015, Sabio fellows winning first place at Techweek LA last November, Nicki Klein and Melissa Hargis bootstrapping their start-up with hackathon wins, Ken Nnaoji who won $10,000 at a hackathon in April, and Billy Martin who won at VetsHack in September.
Sara Inés Calderón was only seven weeks into her training in Cohort Four when she won her first hackathon with her all-female Sabio team. “It was an incredible experience at the time,” she said. “What is now even more amazing to me is how much the experience of working on a hackathon project translated into working at an actual jobs — in terms of planning, collaboration, pivoting, bug fixing and delivering the final product.”
Hackathons will continue to be a crucial element to the success of Sabio fellows. We will continue to put our money where our mouth is in sponsoring such events to give developers and bootcamp attendees new opportunities to learn, network, and win!