HackTJ 7.5 to be held online


Due to its seventh iteration being cancelled this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic, HackTJ has created HackTJ 7.5, a virtual version of its normal hackathon. “I’m excited to see what hackers will be able to do with the event moving online,” publicity coordinator and junior Samhita Vinay said.

Nathan Mo, Team Leader

HackTJ, Jefferson’s own Hackathon, announced the opening of HackTJ 7.5, an online version of its normal event, on Friday, Oct. 30. Although the event had been announced in mid-July, registration for the event had been closed until recently.

HackTJ judging lead and junior Sumanth Ratna hopes that the event will be able to make up for the experience which competitors would have had at HackTJ 7.0.

“The HackTJ team knew a lot of people were looking forward to 7.0, so we wanted to host a smaller event so that the people who missed out would have something to look forward to,” Ratna said.

The shift online comes with unforeseen benefits, such as more flexibility both for event planners and attendees.

“Because HackTJ is now online, we need less money from sponsors and we don’t have to worry about venue selection from a team’s perspective,” Vinay said. “From a participants perspective, there will be more flexibility because hackers can hack from the comfort of their own homes.”

However, these benefits haven’t come without a tradeoff.

“The team had already already purchased a lot of merchandise for 7.0 and we needed a way to convert all that to 7.5, so we had to be more creative with our marketing,” Ratna said. “Logistics have also been very difficult because it took a long time to get HackTJ 7.5 approved.”

Despite the new challenges which the online environment has brought, Ratna ultimately hopes that attendees will be able to have the same experience as they would at the in-person hackathon.

“The experience of hanging out with a lot of people is really exciting, and we can’t replicate that in an online environment. I just hope that event goers will find ways to make the most out of this experience as if it were still any other HackTJ,” Ratna said.

HackTJ 7.5 is slated to be held on Dec. 12 and 13. Registration can be found on the HackTJ website here.