Hack CC brings a marathon of coding to community college

Hackathons are long, rigorous events that test the limits of computer programmers' minds. These events call for creativity, passion and of course, knowledge of coding languages like Ruby and Java. Filled with tech and engineering sponsors, prizes, workshops and lectures, these are the places to be in the world of computer science. Hack CC, the very first hackathon for community college students is no exception. Taking place in Santa Monica's Cross Campus on Colorado BoulevardĀ and 10th Street, the project was founded by Ahmed Sayed, Sidney Eubanks, Joshua Wallace, and Casey Spencer. The 36-hour event challenged computer scientists to create software that ranged from detecting expired food, to programming video games.

There were tables upon tables of laptops, food and fuel ranging from energy drinks to bread and cereals, and sleeping bags strewn all about. It was a devoted yet accessible atmosphere, almost like the proverbial programmer's room in his mother's basement.

A surprisingly perfect blend of hip-hop and ambient soundscapes flooded the hall, accompanied with murmurs of programming lingo and casual chatter. Announcements of computer language workshops and company "tech-talks" were announced as the day progressed.

It may have seemed like a relaxed get-together, but there were enthusiastic participants and devoted organizers throughout. Attendant America Lopez said of Hack CC, "It's a perfect learning environment. There are developers walking around, asking if you need help or anything."

And it certainly was a learning environment. Novice programmers were constantly working on refining their skills, referring to veterans and their own determination to solve any errors, while seasoned engineers designed remote-controlled cars and cameras from scratch. "We wanted to make every community college student creative and to build their own projects," Ahmed Sayed said.

Despite the hackathon's atmosphere, the field of computer science is a very competitive one and requires perseverance. Dedicated students stayed at the conference, sleeping on couches or in corners of the room. The work is very difficult, as noted by attendee who had given up out of frustration.

Regardless of difficulty, Sayed aimed to, "Make students more valuable and ready for the market," something that was realized with the many outlets of help and knowledge available. The field of computer programming is rapidly growing, with just as much innovation as demand at hand.