Hillsborough County to host 48-hour long Hack-A-Thon for computer programmers

04/03/13 Janelle Irwin
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Hillsborough County will host what they’re calling a Hack-A-Thon next weekend for local students and professionals to showcase their computer coding skills. Commissioner Mark Sharpe thought up the idea after attending a similar event in Tampa last year. At a meeting Wednesday, Sharpe said he hopes the weekend-long competition will lead to more tech jobs in the area.

“It really, truly is about getting your best and brightest together, your creative- the creative genius of a community and they come from all walks of life from every nook and cranny – to participate in really opening up civic dialogue and engagement.”

The Hack-A-Thon will kick off at 5 p.m. on April 12. Participants will work almost non-stop until April 14th at the Hillsborough Community College Brandon campus.

Helene Marks is the county’s chief administrative officer.

“The teams get to work with mentors and make solid professional connections strengthening the tech community that we already have in Hillsborough County. These relationships can and often do lead teammates to work together on current projects outside and hopefully maybe even build businesses that flourish in Hillsborough County.”

The weekend of coding could also leave the county with some good ideas on how to make public information more accessible on the website and on mobile applications. Lori Hudson with the county’s communication department said people will have about 10 gigabytes of county data to sort through ranging in topics from property records to a dangerous animal database.

That’s like 50 sets of the Britannica Encyclopedia. That’s how much we’re talking about. It’s vast, but it needs to be and it’s a wide variety of data because what we want to do is give this to the creatives and find out back from them, what do they want to know about county government? What do they see as something we need to advance to make information portable and mobile?”

The county has secured some outside funding sources. According to county staff, they’ve almost broken even already and hope there will even be enough funding to put some aside for another Hack-A-Thon next year. More information is on their website.

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