Students lead global enterprise by organizing hackathons


CC BY 2.0

Daniel Lin

While some students were enjoying the hot summer afternoons with their friends at the beach, studying for standardized tests and attending summer programs, juniors Shiv Ansal and Avik Jain were taking on a different endeavor: organizing hackathons around the globe.

“So we’re part of SecondGen,” Ansal said, “and we entrepreneur globally, and we held an international hackathon in different cities. So we were both on the development team and the overall board for running the hackathon. We all created the websites and operations for the behind-the-scenes of each hackathon at each location. Some places we had the hackathon was like India, Houston, Dallas, New York, and etc. I think we’re projected to have 30 cities but only ended up having 12 or 13.”

In a world connected by social media and rapid transfer of information, it wasn’t surprising when Jain stumbled upon a Facebook post one day asking for volunteers to organize the local hackathon IncubateSF. Responding to the call to action, Jain, passionate in app and web development, went an extra step, approaching the hackathon organizers and letting them know that he was interested in the technology side of running hackathons.

“Basically what happened is we were the main tech people and realized we could be useful at a global level,” Jain said.

In the matter of weeks Ansal and Jain were involved in the global hackathon organization SecondGen. SecondGen is an organization which caters to students’ interests in the fields of business, computer science and other areas of focus by holding various hackathons around the world, including India, Houston and New York.

“So in the first few weeks what we did was we built a website for the San Francisco hackathon,” Jain said. “And then they realized that they basically had to spend time doing that for every event, we what we had to do was create a system that one template site, for like San Francisco for example, every change that we make on that can be reflected on sites for every single city. And basically we had to make it do that automatically. None of them has websites, so that was actually my job. I was leading that and Shiv was working on a lot of design stuff, branding, as well as the website. So then we basically ended up doing all the website stuff for the entire hackathon.”