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28. February 2017 Martin Sova

A shift to professionalism and a newfound passion for Hackathons

The beginning of year 2017 marks a new era of my student career and a shift towards a more professional outlook on life. It was not until term 2 of 2nd year of university that thinking about potential careers became a reality, rather than just a topic of interest with my family, friends and personal tutors at school.

Although I had continually been completing projects over the last several months that contribute towards my overall experience as a programmer, choosing a specific area of computer science to pursue after my studies is an entirely different problem to think about.

The challenges I had approached as a computer scientist student at University of Exeter has definitely shaped my understanding of what this field of work entails and given me a rigorous insight into various subfields that I can pursue. I had taken upon myself to explore further in my free time by participating in extracurricular activities that further bettered my understanding of software engineering, which is one of my top picks for a life career, or at least my field of choice for a first job. One of the many projects that helped me improve my vision for the future was participating in my first so-called Hackathon about 4 weeks ago, and several more Hackathons since then.

Hackathons are events hosted by various organisations that select participants based on their professional skills and previous experience. They are becoming hugely popular around the globe because they are a great way for like-minded computer scientist to work in teams for 2 days and produce some wonderful software based on specification by coding for a total of about 24 hours at once. Last December I had applied to a Hackathon called Code For Good, which was hosted by J.P.Morgan at the Canary Wharf Island in London. This particular Hackathon was exciting because four non-profit charities worked in collaboration with J.P.Morgan at this event to give each team a task to produce software that would help each charity to resolve existing challenges, or to find innovate ways to help improve each charity.

My team had chosen to work with Alzaheimer’s Research UK. We had worked for 24 hours to build an application for this organisation that would spread awareness of this particular disease, and simultaneously educate its audience about its dangers. During this task we were assigned development roles; I was able to show my confidence during this event as a leader of the application development.

This has been an eye-opening experience for me for two reasons: it was one of the first time that I was able to apply my skills as a computer scientist at a professional level, and I was also able apply my knowledge to build efficient software that can largely benefit people in need. This event, and many others that I have taken a part in after that, made me realize that I want to pursue similar work in the future, and since then I have applied to multiple companies that would allow me to do that.


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