Last March, with a pile of candy and a team of enthusiastic mentors, Martello helped students at every hour of the night to develop a solution for their CU Hacking challenge. Carleton University’s Hackathon, CUHacking was an extraordinary experience in mentoring that also brought back nostalgic memories of our university life! Fast-forward to today, and we are excited to once again be sponsoring CUHacking. This year’s hackathon, with more than 1200 applicants, will be held at Carleton University’s Residence Commons on March 31 to April 1. We’re honoured to present a new challenge this year which students will have 24 hours to hack. Many of Martello’s developers are former hackathon participants, and we encourage students to participate in CUHacking. It offers a fun approach to developing skills that are not taught in class while gaining the experience of building a solution to a real problem.

The initial steps in solving a hackathon problem are comparable to building your own startup company. Like a hackathon, every startup begins with a real challenge that people are facing. It is the developer’s job to solve the challenge better than anybody else in the market. Here are some ‘inside’ tips on how you should think through Martello’s CUHacking Challenge: Take our API for a Test Drive and Bring Data to Life.

Visualize the Customer

Developing a solution is a great achievement, but if it is not designed for the right customer or end user, the product is impractical. Ask questions like: Who are we developing this solution for? How does this application or web server benefit the users? How will this solution change the user’s life? You need to obtain a strong understanding of your persona and design a solution that will fulfil their needs and address their problems. Once you have nailed this step, continue gathering feedback, improving user experience and providing new services that will keep your customers happy.

Build your Problem Statement

Before you start coding, it is essential to build your problem statement. What is a problem statement and why is it critical? A problem statement is a concise description of the selected challenge, and it defines how you and your team plan to solve the problem. Drafting out the problem statement will help you stay focused and use your time efficiently throughout the hackathon. After piecing your code together, ensure that all of the components of the solutions align with your problem statement.

We are eager to see how students will interpret Martello’s CUHacking Challenge – the most impressive solution will be awarded a Martello Hackathon Starter Kit containing a raspberry pi kit, Amazon echo dot, multi-colour RBG keyboard and a $50 Amazon gift card! Be sure to check out our Cleaner Better Modular Scalable CSS Workshop by Martello’s Senior Web Designer, Paul Grant and follow us on twitter for day-of-event pictures and updates.