It is a busy few weeks ahead for computer science lovers and Trent University’s Computer Science department, from crucial competitions to hosting the first ever Hackathon at Trent. I met with Matt Barnes and Dexter Fichuk, 4th year Trent Computer Science students, and Alex Mackenzie, 2nd year Trent History student, to find out more on what this month has to offer.

The first ever Hackathon is to be hosted at Trent University this week.

Electric City Hacks is a student run, not-for-profit, 36 hour event complete with invention, creativity, networking, teamwork and fun! This November 4-6, students from Trent University’s Computer Science program will host one of the most unique, biggest events at Trent, with over 400 students from across Canada coming together to craft the next great software or hardware innovation.

A Hackathon is a collaborative event where students design, create and demo; it allows a venue for self-expression and imagination through technology. Electric City Hack’s event provides local food to embrace Peterborough’s community, a science fair open to the public, opening and closing ceremonies, numerous beneficial workshops, opportunities to network in the tech industry and designated sleep areas to rest up between hacking.

The Hackathon is an exciting chance for students to showcase their talent to other participants and the public. Despite its “tech” theme, the event is inter-disciplinary and open to anyone from any major. There is no experience necessary, just a willingness to learn and think outside the box. Fichuk, president of TCSS says, “Tech can go with any major. We love to see students from other majors. It’s an opportunity for everyone to immerse themselves in tech and learn something new. We’re trying to change the culture at Trent, to encourage students from all backgrounds to go out there, take their skills, and build something new.”

Mackenzie, who studies history, is about to participate in his first Hackathon. He tells me “We need to erase the stigma about hacking. As someone who’s not from a computer science major, you see technology and you’re overwhelmed by it, but I’ve realised it can apply to anything and be really beneficial. I’m amazed by the ideas produced; even if they’re not successful at the end of the Hackathon, they just blow my mind. Seeing ideas put together and the creation of projects is inspiring.” In past Hackathons, students have created phone apps, games and even alarm clocks.

The number one goal of the event is to make memorable, meaningful connections between students and the industry. Electric City Hacks is sponsored by many enterprises, with some sending representatives to help participants and lead workshops. Barnes, who alongside Fichuk won first place in the Best Use of Amazon Web Services category and honorable mention for Life Hacks at Hack Western, says “Not only do you get all the students together, you make connections, you get companies and professionals who receive your resumes and portfolios, and you can potentially be interviewed and hired out of these events!”

Electric City Hacks are currently looking for volunteers to get involved at the event. Check the “volunteer” tab at the website 2016.echacks.xyz to learn more.

Despite applications being closed, the event organizers are still accepting Trent students who wish to participate. Simply register at Gzowski College at 6 pm on November 4th.

Alongside this, the Code/Design to Win competition takes place on Tuesday. The competition, by Communitech, an industry-led innovation centre that supports, advances and celebrates companies at all stages of growth, asks Trent students with a passion for computer science, programing or design, (UX/UI) “Want to make $5k in one day, legally, plus free pizza?”

After writing the preliminary exam on November 1st at Gzowski college, the top students will be invited to the Communitech Hub in Waterloo Region on January 21, 2017 to participate in the finals, meet with some great companies, and potentially take home $5,000. Even those who don’t win the huge cash prize are in which a chance of taking home other, runners up cash rewards.

Learn more about the Code/Design to win competition and register at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/code-design-to-win-2016-preliminary-exam-trent-university-tickets-28060319170