The Lasting Impact of GDI's Hackathon

n November, Girl Develop It offered our second-ever Hackathon with a challenge to participants to develop an app that solved a problem at the intersection of healthcare and tech. With our “Hack for Health” theme in mind, we created an event with hope to build on the energy and enthusiasm from our first Hackathon last year. We developed a schedule of events that would teach, engage, empower, and embolden our members to explore their skills. And wow, did the Hackathon deliver – and then some. With nearly 600 participants, we nearly doubled our first year’s involvement. All of our winning team members were first-ever Hackathon participants and the confidence and community they fostered during our week of events will empower bold new steps in their careers.

So, what happened at the Hackathon?

This year’s winning team developed an app that provides exercises, best practices, and hands-on tools for users experiencing a panic attack. This idea was lauded for its simple design and effective strategies to support someone through an event we are all too familiar with. For the members we spoke with, their first ever Hackathon proved more than inspirational – and not just because they won!

Winning team member, Tanya Thomas, shared that she joined the Hackathon because “I was hoping to find out what a hackathon is, and to put my knowledge to work outside of my prior employment - seeing what I can do in the big wide world.”

Did the Hackathon deliver?

“Yes! The people with GDI are amazing, and everyone that I worked with was very helpful. It helped me realize how much I already know and how much I’m able to figure out. I have made a lot of contacts, and being able to say that I've participated in a GDI hackathon is impressive!”

What’s next for our winners?

Tanya shares, “For my prize, I chose a year membership to GDI, so I have a lot of classes that I’ve already signed up for in the New Year.” Tanya isn’t the only team member who has been empowered by her experience in the Hackathon.

Lee Goullard, whose team developed a gamified community walking app, shares that their experience in the Hackathon surprised them.

“I was most surprised by how much I knew. I decided to enter the hackathon to test my skillset; I wanted to know if I had what it takes to get hired or if I needed more time to practice. I learned that I not only could hack it as a developer, but that I am also a great support to my team.”

How has this experience impacted their professional journey?

“For starters, this experience is huge for my resume and cover letter content. I have felt a surge of confidence heading into job interviews, and genuinely feel ready for employment as a developer. It is no longer an "IF" it is a "WHEN" in my mind. At the end of the hackathon, I presented our application, which also allowed me to dust off my old presentation skills. I felt such a boost of energy, inspiration, and confidence by participating in the hackathon. I left with a feeling of accomplishment and readiness to begin searching for jobs as a web developer.”

What about personally?

“Personally, I felt absolutely validated in my choice to close my business and get into development. I knew beyond a doubt that it was the best choice for me and my future, and I knew I would be successful, because I already succeeded in the hackathon.”

Have you been wondering if you’re ready to participate in a Hackathon? Here is what some of our first-time participants had to say:

“The people with GDI are amazing, and everyone that I worked with was very helpful - don't worry about what you don't know, just come, enjoy, participate, put in your contribution, and have fun!”  - Tanya Thomas

“I would say put your fear aside and do the dang thing. You will learn something either way, and it is a hackathon quite literally MADE for BEGINNERS. There were people on my team who had been coding for a week, and people who had been coding for years. If you want a seat at the table, you have to walk into the room.” – Lee Goullard

“Even if you can’t code, you can definitely find something else to do. You can do the presentation, you can write the text, find some resources, etc. There’s always something to learn!” - Tijana Jung

But you don't have to wait until next fall to develop new skills, build community, and gain the confidence to land your dream job in tech. Girl Develop It is offering classes all year to prepare you for the career you've been seeking, and we'll always have the community and the resources to support you.

See our full list of events on our site.

And if you're not yet a member, sign up now to lock in low prices to access to all of our events, speakers, classes, mentor programs, and cohorts at one price.

Rates go up on January 1st, so don't wait! We can't wait to see you on the other side of the screen in 2023!