Q: What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is an event in which programmers, graphic designers, content strategists, interface designers, and project managers collaborate intensively on projects. [source]

Or as we like to call it: an event where people work together to find new (sometimes inelegant) solutions to a problem. [source]

Q: Who should attend?

If you’ve ever taken a Girl Develop It or Women’s Coding Collective class, dove into an online tech tutorial, or attended a PyStar or Hacktory workshop, this is a great opportunity to take the skills you’ve learned and apply them to a collaborative project working with like-minded individuals.

Even if you haven’t attended any of these events or participated in these groups, you’re still totally welcome! Beginners and the tech-curious are especially encouraged to attend, as are experienced technologists who are interested in sharing their knowledge and skills while working on projects that they are passionate about.

Q: Can I propose a project to work on?

Absolutely! Any participant can propose a project idea for a team to work on prior to the event. We only ask that project leaders be present at LadyHacks for both days of the event. Friday evening will be our brainstorming session, and project leaders will have the opportunity to present their idea to the group at large. Participants can choose which projects they would like to work on then.

Q: Why a women-only* event?

We realize that it seems ironic that a group aiming to promote inclusiveness is holding an event that seems exclusive. The gender gap in technology has increased in recent years to the point where women only make up twenty percent of CS undergrad degrees awarded, and this has created environments that are indeed exclusive – to women. LadyHacks exists not to fight fire with fire, but to provide a means of breaking the current loop. We want to see more women attending hackathons, and we see LadyHacks as a launching platform, not a destination. We’d like nothing more than to be put out of business by seeing gender equity achieved in the STEM fields!

Q: Why is there an asterisk on women-only*?

LadyHacks acknowledges the complicated nature of the word “women,” knowing it may not work for many, and can feel unwelcoming or alienating for some. We recognize the imperfection of language and seek to use the asterisk symbol as an umbrella for inclusiveness. LadyHacks chooses women only* to specifically and intentionally include cis women, trans, genderqueer, intersex, and queer people who identify as women.

Learn about our safe space policy.

Q: Can men come?

Participation is for those who identify as women only. We welcome hackers to invite any friends and family to the demo portion of Saturday.

Q: What is the Mentor Group?

Mentors are experienced folks who are comfortable working with groups to find solutions. Members of the Mentor Group will be available to all participants and groups. Mentors may assist with:

  • Brainstorming
  • Scope — what can be done in the time frame allotted
  • Problem-solving or troubleshooting
  • Hands-on development
  • Getting groups to the finish line (working prototype)
  • Other

Interested? Become a mentor!

Q: What should I bring?

Whatever you feel you need to work. A laptop with the ability to get online via wireless is highly recommended. Notebook, pen/pencil, business cards, power strip may be useful.

Oh, and an eagerness to learn and try new things!

Q: Will there be Internets?

Yes, our venue will provide wifi access!

Q: I can’t make both days. Can I still come?

Yes! If you can only make one day and want to come, you should definitely come. Unfortunately, we cannot give you a refund for the day you can’t attend, but your dollars go to a good cause.

Q: Do I need to work all night to participate in a hackathon?

While some hackathons are all-weekend affairs, LadyHacks is meant to give you a taste of what a hackathon is like without being as intense. You are encouraged to go home and get rest between the two days. See our schedule for further detail and times.

Q: Where does the registration fee go?

LadyHacks is a fundraiser! One hundred percent of the participation fee goes to Girl Develop It, a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development.

Q: Can I volunteer?

Absolutely! Women interested in volunteering should get in touch! Volunteers help with set-up, sign-in and breakdown during the hackathon. Volunteers also have their fee waived, and are free to work on projects when their shift ends.