Bangalore, India, 2014

Grace Hopper was a computer scientist and a US Navy Admiral who is credited to several laurels in the field of computers alone that she was nicknamed ‘Amazing Grace’. Amongst her computer genius, is her invention of the first compiler and the idea of a machine independent, high-level, programming language which ultimately led to the development of COBOL.

To celebrate Grace Hopper and her achievements, the Anita Borg Institute holds the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing partnering with ACM India. It is India’s largest gathering of Women Technologists. This year, I got the opportunity of attending the Grace Hopper Celebration Hackathon at Bangalore.

A women’s hackathon provides ample opportunities that allow women to escape boundaries, that, have in the past constrained their activities and their individuality. One such women’s hackathon was the Grace Hopper Conference Hackathon at Bangalore, India, which was a great opportunity to meet like minded women from all around India.

It was a mecca of ignited minds where women, students and young leaders in computer science came together, explored computing and become producers of future innovations. Along with fun, it provided a safe and encouraging environment where I was able to put my thoughts together. My team mates and I contributed our unique perspectives towards solving challenges that the world faces today.

Two main issues raised at the hackathon were of security and health. A general consensus stated these as the major challenges faced by Indian women. At the hackathon I was able to exchange ideas with other inspiring technosavy women. All this and being away from the hackneyed routine of college, increased my creativity and enhanced my performance. I am quite sure that all the knowledge gained from this congregation will enable me to produce paradigm-shifting results one day.

This was my first hackathon that continued for over a month and had people simultaneously committing code from different geographical locations. Being in constant communication and up-to-date with the latest code commits was in itself a challenge. Soon after classes, every day, I would find myself peering over new email threads, modifying the code base, optimizing algorithms and deploying the existing code.

Kaam Hai?, Hackathon entry

Our team developed the winning hackathon entry, ‘Kaam Hai?’, a web based app that connects low skilled job seekers with potential employers. This app can also be used by Non Governmental Organizations to extend their services in finding a job for other people.

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25 November 2014