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Our 2023 Hackathon Wrap-Up

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

“Thank you, SheSharp, for letting me take the first step"

Participants of the hackathon working together.

SheSharp and Reaktor just finished holding our signature Hackathon 2023 event on 9-10 June 🎉 The event was one of SheSharp’s most ambitious events to date with over 100 signups, 19 volunteers, and a 24-hour flurry of coding and community both onsite in Amsterdam and remotely. We’re so grateful for everyone who joined to make the hackathon a success!

Read on to learn about what went into Hackathon 2023 behind the scenes 👀

Event stats

We had 112 people register for Hackathon 2023, 85% of whom identified as an underrepresented gender in tech ✨ 40 people joined us in the office in Amsterdam, with the rest participating remotely mostly from Europe, the US, Africa, and India. We even had one person from New Zealand 👋🏻 🌏

There were 20 onsite and remote teams of 2-4 people and 26 folks participating solo. Around 40 total individuals contributed to a submitted project across 17 final submissions. We saw projects across all of our supported tracks — front-end (the majority), backend, and data analysis — as well as a few mobile submissions.

It was great to see so many diverse folks working together for the first time and completing work in just 24 hours 💪🏻

A whole team effort

SheSharp and Reaktor started planning Hackathon 2023 in March-April, and met every two weeks to stay on track. The event was designed by Alex Siega (SheSharp), Sara Gerion (SheSharp), and Sjoukje IJlstra (Reaktor). Sasha Nechaeva and Soph Lavinas made the onsite piece super special — it was all because of them that the hackathon in Amsterdam felt like an all-inclusive vacation 🍹 Shoutout as well to other SheSharp organizers and volunteers who lent their talents: Mariah Laqua (who created two of our boilerplates!), Gabi Tang, and Georgia Demetriou.

In addition to organizers, we also had 10 mentors to support participants during the hackathon:

  • From Reaktor: Ilze Hibbers, Tlou Rammala, Akos Szokodi, Claudio Dettoni, Niko Kettunen, Daria Artemova, Vinnie Voet

  • From elsewhere: Alicia Bargar, Victor Garrido, Mike Siega

Two of our mentors also gave lightning talks: Daria on web accessibility and Alicia on technical roles in machine learning. Hackathon participant Ornella Friggit Konaté gave our third lightning talk on static websites ⚡ You can watch all of the talks on our YouTube channel here.

Overall, we spent about €4000 on the event; special thanks to Reaktor for sponsoring the hackathon and making it one of our most polished events ever ❤️

Feedback from the event

We love feedback and data at SheSharp 🤓 We got 17 responses from hackathon participants: 10 remote, 7 onsite. The average happiness score was 4.5/5 🥰

We were aiming for an inclusive hackathon focused on well-being, and our feedback showed that we succeeded. Here are some snippets of form feedback that we loved:

“I love the cause of the hackathon. As a woman in tech I've always felt a bit intimidated coming into [a] mostly men dominant field. And it's really nice to see so much encouragement, I think it will help a lot of young girls and minorities to be less afraid.”
“Good vibes! I participated in hackathons with male developers where everything up to the color of a button is a discussion. This was waaaay more aligned and relaxed. Also good food and welcoming people from Reaktor and SheSharp.”
“I liked that it was easily accessible thanks to the resources provided, and it helps to really get into it and not get blocked with no idea where to start.”
“I got a lot to learn from my team member and all the mentors. I liked how everyone was gentle with us. Being this my first hackathon, I didn't know what to expect and do. Thank you SheSharp for letting [me] take the first step. I was extremely nervous when the hackathon kicked off, and now I'm satisfied with the insights I gained.”

Of course, there is always room for improvement. From participants’ feedback and our event retrospective, we highlighted these areas to revisit next time:

  • More support for remote participants: If we host a remote or hybrid event next time, we’ll explore having a longer event to accommodate different timezones and someone dedicated solely to the remote experience. We’ll also be more explicit about mentor availability in Euro timezones, since we can’t easily provide round-the-clock mentorship.

  • Team formation: Have more stable teams going into the event. If we assign teams, have them confirmed the day before. Otherwise, have people find their own teams via our Slack channel.

  • Technical challenge: Ensure that the API (or other challenge materials) can support hackathon scale ahead of time.

What’s next?

SheSharp only holds signature events like the hackathon once or twice per year, but we already have other coding-focused events on the horizon:

  • TypeScript documentary showing: Georgia (our Events Coordinator) is working with OfferZen to set up a formal showing of their new documentary on TypeScript. Think red carpet, popcorn, swag galore, and the chance to meet women from local tech communities. (Amsterdam)

  • Hacktoberfest 2023: Sara (our Director of Tech) is currently exploring setting up an open-source generative AI project for SheSharp in October. Let her know you’re interested in our #devs channel in Slack! (Amsterdam + remote)

If you’re based in Amsterdam, we also have a number of social events coming up, like our borrel on July 20. RSVP on Meetup

🛣️ Check out SheSharp’s public roadmap to see what we’re planning and give feedback on ideas for new events and programs:

Thanks all for a memorable Hackathon 2023! See you next year ✌🏻

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