IronGrads organize national online hackathon

We recently caught up with IronGrad Sarah Swift, who is leading the charge on producing a national hackathon for Iron Yard friends and family this weekend. Sarah graduated from our Rails course in Houston in September and hasn’t stopped since. A former lawyer, she’s focused on solving problems and has infused that passion into the hackathon. Read on for more!

How did you come up with the idea for the hackathon?

Caitlin Flattery, Conner Clifton and I participated in the Tech For Justice Hackathon a few months ago. It was a virtual hackathon, but we all worked together from the Houston ‘Yard. It was such a cool experience for us to collaborate with each other, iterate quickly, and develop ideas with legs.

I was looking around for another hackathon to get involved with, and finding none, I decided it would be really fun to start one for The Iron Yard, nationwide.

Why did ya’ll choose to focus on bringing together Iron Yard students and grads specifically? What do you hope to achieve?

My hope is four-fold:

1) create opportunities to do good

2) facilitate relationships between TIY’ers of various vintages/campuses

3) create opportunities for us to show off our work

4) create avenues for people to connect w/ mentors

5) oh…and have fun

How did you come up with the theme?

It is kind of an anti-theme, in that it is pretty general— find a problem and fix it. We wanted to provide some focus (public data, for example), but hold space for people to bring their passions/interests/areas of expertise. Without getting too political, I have the sense that a lot of people are grieving the sense that that their votes/voices aren’t heard. So, this is a way for us to create impact within our communities and focus on the issues that we want to see changed.

“I can’t wait to see what comes out of this first annual event, and I hope that it becomes a celebrated Iron Yard tradition.”

What made you decide to go to The Iron Yard after completing law school?

I went to law school on a lark, because I wanted to get some technical skills for my toolbelt. But I really chaffed at the lack of space for whimsy, creativity, empathy, and all the other things that make me thrive. It took a few years, but I finally figured out that software was a technical field where empathy was the special sauce. And I was absolutely delighted to discover the bootcamp model, which allowed me to hone those skills (without having to suffer through another degree program).

To learn more or sign up, check out the Iron Nation Hackathon page here.

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