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EngHack 2019: An Open Opportunity for All
In the midst of midterms, assignments, and co-op interviews, many students already feel like they have plenty on their plate. However, that isn’t the case for Ike and Nick, who choose to keep themselves involved by organizing EngHack, an annual hackathon that welcomes hackers from all faculties and different skill thresholds.
“[EngHack] is a great opportunity for firsthand experience in building new things,” said Nick, a 2B management engineering student. He’s one of the lead organizers responsible for the financial and sponsorship aspect of the event. “It’s an Engineering Society based event, so there is definitely a huge emphasis on engineering design and engineering science. However, we’re more focused on building a solution rather than bringing forth a virtual solution.”
“EngHack is different from other software oriented hackathons: we value the hardware of things, and that is our thematic push,” Ike explained. He’s in his 3A term studying computer engineering and is EngHack’s lead organizer in all things design, tech, and hacker experience.
The organizers want this to be a great learning experience for everyone and anyone who is interested, and for participants to potentially develop into mentors.
Ike said he got involved with EngHack because “compared to Hack the North that is more huge in scale, I wanted to be involved in something that everyone can get involved in.”
Although hackathons usually consist of engineering and computer science students who consider this a part of their professional journey, Ike encourages everybody to take a peek at what the tech scene is like.
“I think that tech is going to mesh into every other field of work. It is advantageous for people in other fields to be in the know by exposing themselves into the tech industry,” he said.
EngHack is a part of Major League Hacking (MLH), a company that provides support for student-run university hackathons in North America and allows anyone to participate. Diversity in skills is important as there are several components to a hackathon, and no individual can do it all.
“This is a good entry-level hackathon! There will be a lot of workshops planned to help people who aren’t as technical, and even if you just show up for that, it’s still a good opportunity to immerse yourself [into the industry],” said Nick.
For new hackers, Nick and Ike reassure that it’s okay if you don’t create something that’s presentable. In fact, it’s all about the experience: meeting sponsors and organizers, learning a new language, the high caffeine rush, staying up for the whole 36 hours, and trying to fit in as many power naps as possible.
While applications for this year's EngHack are now closed, Nick encourages anyone thinking of applying to EngHack or any other hackathon in the future to show that you are interested.
“What is your experience? What is a problem you want to work towards or want try? We want to see your drive, so show passion and answer the application truthfully,” he said.
“There are so many different hackathons that happen at Waterloo; so definitely align the hackathon [you apply to] with what you want to do,” Ike added.
EngHack is taking place from June 21 to June 23 in Engineering 7, and you are definitely encouraged to drop by the first floor to see what the culture is like. There are also day-of openings for those who haven’t been accepted to participate, so come by and see if you can check in. Happy hacking!