Embracing Innovation Through Hackathons

Embracing Innovation Through Hackathons

If there’s something Africa is known for in the tech industry, it’s innovation; and one of the most effective ways to innovate is via hackathons. According to Techopedia, a hackathon is a gathering where programmers collaboratively code in an extreme manner over a short period of time. Hackathons are at least a few days – or over a weekend – and generally no longer than a week.

And the benefits of hackathons cannot be understated.

By providing a fresh new ground for new ideas, hackathons are an interesting space for new ideas to be brought forth especially by outsiders who can bring a fresh perspective to the problem. They are also a great place for young minds to grow. Hackathons bring together a diverse group of people with different ideas and perspectives in the same field (depending on the theme of the hackathon), thus giving young people a unique chance to expand their knowledge, skills and networks.

Embracing Innovation Through Hackathons

One such opportunity is virtual initiative, Game of Learners (GOL). GOL is a multi-week hackathon developed by the Africa Development Centre to be executed by Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors –  global group of campus leaders who are eager to help fellow students, create robust tech communities, and develop technical and career skills for the future.

The programme that has been launched in Kenya in the form of a hackathon is a completely student-driven and hands-on with the overall objective being to
empower the students to develop impactful solutions that can help address some of Africa’s and the world challenges.

How it works

The GOL is structured as a 5-week virtual hackathon comprised of weekly sprints where, at the end of the 5th week, all participating teams will submit their final projects for judging.

There will be 13 volunteers from Microsoft to mentor the students throughout the 5-week engagement and judge each team’s final project submission.

All participants will have access to development resources throughout the competition.
Final project submission is comprised of a 3-minutes pitch video, code repo and a
shippable product for every participating team.

The Micrsoft Student Partners (MSPs) will define the challenge and each team lead will dictate the rhythm of the weekly sprints. All participants will have access to development resources provided by Microsoft throughout the competition. Winner evaluation and selection will be based on the following:

 Weekly sprint submission (25%)
 Judging of final submission (50%)
 Twitter voting of final submission (25%)

Upon completion, each standing member of the winning team will be rewarded with:
 1-year Azure credits
 1-year LinkedIn Learning vouchers
 Digital certificate and digital badge for winning
 1:1 mentorship from preferred professionals

Through the ADC, Microsoft is enabling digital transformation, bridging gaps in infrastructure, connectivity and capability while creating sustained societal impact on the African continent. The centre is recruiting world-class African engineering talent to develop innovative solutions that span the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge and the hackathon complements ongoing efforts to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, unique to Africa.

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