By Cosette Nunez and Jhacquelle Swaby
A five percent higher than usual female attendance in last weeka��s Hack@CEWIT hackathon marked a success for the first and longest weekend hacking event at Stony Brook University. Twenty-five percent of the participants during the 43-hour long February 17th to 19th hacking marathon were female, compared to the national average of 20% female participation, registered by the University of MichiganA�and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
a�?Usually if you go to a room where any tech company are, ita��s guys everywhere and thata��s an unfortunate part of our industrya�? Michal Wallace, Software Developer for 1010DATA said. A�
Softheon is one of the eventa��s main financial sponsors. The company hosts hackathons to get ideas for future software development. A�a�?We just want to see what comes out of it,a�? Vassili Bolotnikov, Softheon representative said. a�?It’s like throwing meatballs against the wall and seeing where it goes.a�?
Students entered the building with a laptop, sleeping bag and energy drink in preparation for the 43-hour weekend hack. A�Hack@CEWIT offered students region-wide a total of $5,000 cash prizes. A�One of their missions is to bridge studenta��s software solutions with industry relevant ideas. A�
Industry trends have estimated that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computing jobs available. A�Female U.S graduates are on track to fill just 3 percent of these jobs according to Girls who Code (GWC) , a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women in computer science.
1010DATA offers a platform for data management, analysis and application building. The company attended the hackathon to scout for talent in real time. A�Stand-out students could be offered an internship for the summer Wallace said. A�
a�?1010 is disruptive, we hire talent regardless of sex. A�If you have the right fit you are a part of the familya�? Daniel Yount, 1010DATA project manager, said.
Hack@CEWIT featured hands-on workshops, interactive speakers and opportunities for recruitment. A�a�?It’s a platform for young people to grow their ideas outside of an academic environmenta�? Iassogna said. A�
Hackathons provide the unique opportunity for students to receive feedback from a business perspective Iassonga said. A�Ita��s about merging innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship. A�Men still outnumber women at many hackathons where internships, money and recognition are all possibilities.
Hack@CEWIT was Hannah Kima��s first hackathon. A�a�?I wanted to learn how to assemble thingsa�? she said. A�Kim coded in a room reserved for females however she was the only one inside. A�
Disinterest for women in computer science occurs mostly between the ages of 13-17 according to GWC. A�Some females may feel less smart than their male counterparts before they reach adolescence Yount said. A�a�?Ita��s an unfortunate stigma of our societya�?.
Hackathons offer many academic and career benefits in an economy where computing skills are in demand. A�In 2016 only 24 percent of women are in the computing workforce according to the U.S Department of Labor.