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Feel like hacking away in Harare next week? Here’s an opportunity (Updated)

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Alpha Media, one of Zimbabwe’s largest media houses has announced that it will be holding a hackathon for developers in Zimbabwe next week (26 July to be exact) at a venue to be advised. The event is expected to attract about 15 individuals or teams of developers to, for 12 hours, hack away and produce some innovative apps.

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Not much information is available at the moment in terms of prizes for the winner, the exact problems that developers will work on or the technologies (and APIs) for the hackathon. In our communication with Alpha executives running the event, we were assured that details will be released shortly.

The hackathon, according to the announcement, is part of Alpha Media’s first step in “creating a technology innovation hub in Zimbabwe that will nurture young talent and create entrepreneurs who will help drive the economy”

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Here’s the full text of the announcement below. We will be posting any updates to the information as we get it.

Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), publishers of NewsDay, The Standard and the Zimbabwe Independent, will next Thursday hold the first ever hackathon in Zimbabwe, bringing developers from around the country to participate in a digital application development challenge.

A hackathon also known as a hackfest or hack day is an event in which web, software and mobile developers, as well as others in the field of software development, collaborate intensively on software-related projects.

At AMH, apart from reporting news and empowering the public with information, we are passionate about providing thought leadership, innovation and inspiring this great country, AMH chairman Trevor Ncube said.

We are happy when Zimbabweans succeed and are ready to celebrate this success.

The AMH hackathon seeks to provide a platform and space where young and talented Zimbabweans brainstorm, collaborate and compete in innovating for the future.

Technology will play a huge role in Zimbabwes future and we want to help nurture and cultivate that talent for the benefit of us all.

A total of 15 developers, working individually or in teams, are expected to come up with and develop innovative applications (apps) and tools in a limited period of time.

This event will go on for 12 hours and winners will be selected upon completion.

Winners will receive prizes and these new apps may be adapted by AMH to illustrate innovation across its digital platforms.

The AMH Hackathon is the first step in creating a technology innovation hub in Zimbabwe that will nurture young talent and create entrepreneurs who will help drive the economy.

It will also help identify the talent, recognise and encourage its growth and showcase it to the world.
We want to help talented young Zimbabweans build applications to solve the problems that we encounter in business and our daily lives.

The AMH Hackathon will be a space for creativity, collaboration, competition and inspiration, Ncube said.
Companies that have previously held such events are Facebook, Yahoo, BBC and LinkedIn.
New York City State recently held a hackathon for purposes of reinventing its website in April.

Hackathons are an integral part of Facebooks product development process. In a TechCrunch report, founder and Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg said: The word hacker has an unfairly negative connotation from being portrayed in the media as people who break into computers, he wrote.

In reality, hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done.

Like most things, it can be used for good or bad, but the vast majority of hackers Ive met tend to be idealistic people who want to have a positive impact on the world.

Facebook hackathons are a chance for employees to work on half-baked ideas and turn them into real products that eventually get shipped.

Everything from Facebooks chat system to an early version of Timeline called Memories have come out of hackathons.

Update:

We have posted the details of the Hackathon in an event posting on this site. Click here to check them out.


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11 thoughts on “Feel like hacking away in Harare next week? Here’s an opportunity (Updated)

  1. This is ultra-cool and brings us to pace with popular tech-culture…and most importantly, very rapid development!

  2. An idea with good intentions certainly, but what exactly of substance are you going to hack/develop in 12 hours, serve for a few lines of code to contribute to already widely available APIs. But if the sponsors promise free beer and T-shirts, I might be tempted to go!

    1. They should provide free food and snacks for the whole day and a bus ride to and from the venue. Maybe throw in a flashdrive and a T-Shirt….

      People will come.

    2. Free beer! lol. By the time you get to stabilize your code your thought process will be looping!

    1. Mfana Taps, you are one of the sharpest thinkers around. This is a brand promoting event. In other countries such events are meant to be for real time hackers or security pros working on testing and displaying their hacking skills around the trends in technology, apps and ICT infrastructure. I can give you examples such as Defcon, BlackHat etal.

      1. @Lon The “hacking” they refer to, isnt the media-hyped distortion of someone who is malicious. But, as clearly stated in Mark Zuck’s quote, it is the traditional hacker who seeks to build and better a system or find clever innovative ways of making it work.

        Not in the security sense.

        @t_api_wa:disqus Thanks for bringing that angle….I do get your concerns about hackathons. They have their merits and unpleasant side too. Its a form of cheap exploitation of labour. But then on there is the other side of the coin…there are people who may never get the opportunity or exposure to showcase their skills, and this could be the opportune time to do it.

        Another thing to note is that these hackathons are also recruitment events. FB has recruited dozens of people at these events. Some of which today lead entire branches of the company

        I have observed that in most of these hackathons, the each coder has his own notebook. I could be wrong but it means their intellectual property (as-in code, is protectd)…though there’s not much one can say about the idea once it has been presented

        What will be good to hear is the Terms & Conditions that this event has when it comes to intellectual property.

        AMH should address & respect Intellectual Property. Terms like

        – No code produced by a participant will be used by AMH or its associates without prior consent or agreed reward to the participant

        – Should a participant not win a prize and should their code/way-of-working be implemented by AMH, AMH will seek consent or agree to a reward with that participant.

        Not sure what the convention is, but am sure the topic has been covered in those Silicon Valley companies.

        It would be nice for TechZim to do a piece and prod the AMH guys on this issue.

  3. I am in! I want to know how to enter into the competition! People who are not technoprenuers dont understand this. Well collaborated development can bring about a very useful piece of software in a very short time. Particulary if it is competition. I believe that anything is possible given the challenge, resources and money.

  4. I dont get the negative comments at all – to me it is more “about time”! OK so it is a private company – and so is Google who really use this kind of events. Yes it is not “Random Hacks of Kindness” (search for it) but so what? Gotta start somewhere

  5. hmm.. reading from the AMH announcement, they say:

    “A hackathon also known as a hackfest or hack day is an event in which web, software and mobile developers, as well as others in the field of software development, collaborate intensively on software-related projects.”

    and

    “A total of 15 developers, working individually or in teams, are expected to come up with and develop innovative applications (apps) and tools in a limited period of time.”

    to me sounds more like a day for devs to come up with cool applications, as they dont mention much about code security and exploitation at all. suppose when more info comes out, we’ll know for sure what this day is about.

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