Student led hackathon plans to get teens involved with coding

December 11, 2013 — by Minu Palaniappan and Miles Albert

This spring, Paypal's San Jose Headquarters will be packed with high school developers programming in languages like HTML5 and Java. Sophomore Spencer Yen has been recruited by the hackathon to raise interest among other students.

Yen is planning to take most, if not all, of the Application Developer’s Club to the hackathon, since it is directed more to beginners.

He believes this hackathon is more of a learning experience than a competition, since only high school developers are attending and most will be amateur programmers.

“Basically, you can go to the event not knowing how to write one line of code and come out of the event knowing how to make a simple app or a simple website,” Yen said.

The hackathon, which will last for 24 hours, expects more than 500 attendees, according to event organizer Shrav Mehta, a senior at Monta Vista High. 

“Our goal is to introduce as many people to computer science as possible with our hackathon,” said Mehta. “We are here to provide the mentorship and training needed to become a great developer.” 

The event has garnered many high school representatives from Harker, Cupertino, Lynbrook, Monta Vista, Saratoga and many other Bay Area high schools. 

The hackathon has also received a sponsorship interest from big-name companies in the Silicon Valley such as Yahoo, Github, Gunnar Optiks, Udacity, the CK-12 foundation and Google X. As a result, winners of the hackathon will receive impressive prizes and internship opportunities with Yahoo and several start-ups based in San Francisco. 

“I can already tell you, the speaker list is going to be awesome,” Mehta said. “We have some impressive tech celebrities ready to speak.” 



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