FLEMINGTON, NJ – The organizers of Hunterdon’s annual hackathon are casting a wide net to attract technologists from all over the northeast to participate in this year’s event, which will be held on June 9 and June 10 at Hunterdon Central High School.
HackHunterdon is a 24-hour tech-product-creation competition for innovators. It is organized by Hunterdon County Economic Development, Flemington Community Partnership and the Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce.
A hackathon is a competitive event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development – including graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, and subject-matter-experts – collaborate intensively to build a software project in a limited period of time. The goal of a hackathon is to create usable software.
Another goal of the event is to identify local talent with exceptional ideas so that their innovations can flourish.
“Last year’s hackathon brought together a diverse amount of area talent with some exceptional ideas,” said Sam Napolitano, Sr. VP of Engineering at Viacom, who also serves as a judge and team mentor for this year’s hackathon. The HackHunterdon effort is designed to help provide them with the partnership they need for success, he said.
Last year’s hackathon saw dozens of technologists compete for about $10,000 worth of cash and prizes. This year, the top team will share a $5,000 grand prize for its efforts. There’s also a potential for career opportunities for participants.
“We hired a technologist directly out of the 2017 hackathon,” said Michael Castle, a partner in Bond Andiola & Company, an accounting firm based here. “Participants in the 2018 event likewise have the chance at some real career and partnership opportunities.”
Personnel from a wide range of local and international technology companies are a part of the HackHunterdon effort.
Judging the teams’ projects this year will be Napolitano, Eric Herbel of Integrated Clinical Systems, a Hunterdon County-based IT company, and John Goodwin, an engineering manager at Facebook.
In addition to the prizes and recruitment opportunities, organizers hope participants will form relationships with each other that lead to future projects with market potential.
Hunterdon has been actively seeking to partner with its tech community and continues to explore and develop additional ideas, such as a business incubator and the Chamber’s emerging entrepreneurial center.
“The event provides a platform for talented individuals to come together and explore real opportunities, and to have a lot of fun doing it,” said Goodwin.
Last year was Hunterdon’s first Hackathon. Organizers considered it a success, and one result is a monthly meetup, where technologists gather to exchange ideas and learn about new developments in the field.