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IT Sonix Hackathon - Review

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Last week, our first IT Sonix Hackathon took place. The event was aimed at students, recent alumni and trainees.

Under the motto "Keep us movin'", participants were able to put their skills and creativity to the test in the 24-hour hackathon. Everything revolved around the topic of sustainability and exercise. Since 2020, we have been planting one tree for every 1,000 kilometres covered in our „move IT“ sports competition with our partner PLANT-MY-TREE®. As an IT service provider based in Leipzig, it is important to us to have a positive impact on issues affecting society as a whole, and not just with our software solutions. This also includes our commitment to students and our long-standing networking with colleges and universities. Our first IT Sonix Hackathon is just one of many activities that contribute to creating attractive prospects for students in and around the IT region of Leipzig.

On 1 June, the time had come for our first IT Sonix Hackathon. Despite the high number of registrations, unfortunately not as many participants turned up as hoped and the agility of our organisational team was challenged. We quickly improvised and changed the planned team competition into a collaboration of all participants on the project. In this way we were able to continue with the original task and also offer a varied programme for our participants.

The participants were welcomed at our reception with a well-filled goodie bag and then accompanied to our X Lounge to prepare for the hackathon. A short presentation informed the participants about the preliminaries as well as our competition "move IT" and what we want to improve about it. Then things got started right away. In rooms set up for the hackathon, the participants grabbed a screen and connected their computers. In order to prepare the participants as best as possible for the implementation of the project, we provided them with a Git repository with helpful documents including documentation as well as a backend that made the essential "move IT" logic available to the hackathon team.

Afterwards the participants divided themselves up to work on different parts of the solution according to their level of knowledge in that area. Care was taken to ensure that there was a transfer of knowledge during the hackathon and that the participants had an opportunity to learn from each other. Among the participants were also students with UXD expertise who creatively tackled design issues. After the first intensive phase of work, there was a longer break and a small quiz duel between the participants and our Xperts to loosen things up. And yes, in this hotly contested IT knowledge battle we had to admit defeat to the young talents. Hard work has to be rewarded and therefore our participants were provided with tasty Italian specialities à la pizza before they continued to code diligently.

At 11:00 pm, it was over in our offices for the time being, but a few of the participants continued to work on the project until 02:00 am in a co-working space and the last commits reached us at around 05:00 am. The next morning we started punctually in our offices again and the participants coded on the project with small breaks including lunch until the presentation of the final result. They could always count on the support of our Xperts in case of questions or uncertainties.

The final result - a login screen including UX design, a functional area for weekly kilometre reporting and a display of the overall ranking - was presented by the participants to our organisation team and other interested parties, including our management. Despite little prior knowledge of React among the team members, they quickly acquired the necessary skills and delivered a remarkable implementation. This was followed by the award ceremony - all those who stayed until the end were awarded 200 euros and a certificate. Finally, we sat together with the participants in a relaxed feedback session and were able to make one or two further connections.

We are proud of our employees who made this first IT Sonix Hackathon possible, as well as the commitment of young, talented people from the region to whom we want to offer an attractive perspective with events like this.