Women Rock the Howard University- AT&T Hackathon - Clearly Innovative | Web and Mobile DevelopmentClearly Innovative | Web and Mobile Development


Clearly Innovative Team Wins the 1st place prize for the best use of the Bluemix technologies


It has been long known that women in the computer science field are vastly underrepresented. The percentage of women in computer science is a staggering 12 percent (NPR article). There has been a big push to combat those numbers and help to get women excited and into computer science.
Helping raise that percentage AT&T partnered with Howard University to hold the AT&T & Howard Mobile App Hackathon DC – [for]Women in Tech. I immediately signed up and encouraged some of my fellow Clearly Innovative team members to do the same. Gene Chorba, Ade Ogunyale and myself (Anita Hall) participated in the AT&T & Howard Hackathon over the course of two sleepless nights.
The objective of this hackathon was to create a space where women would be encouraged to code, with special prizes for a team lead by a woman and the best all woman team. We arrived to a table full of all the greatest foods in the world, candy and drinks. We were all very excited to work together to create an app as a small 3 person team. Once everyone finished registering and raiding the food table, we all gathered into the auditorium for presentations from the various companies offering prizes for best use of their API’s. Outside of the ATT API’s there were 3 other companies; Bluemix, M2X, and Vuzix. After the sponsor presentations people without teams went to the front of the room did a short introduction about themselves and then were placed on a team to begin hacking away for the night.
There were multiple mentors and Sensei’s (people from the sponsor companies who knew how to use the software) present all night for questions and help when needed. Our team decided to focus on the use of the  Bluemix platform to create our app, TextToDo. TextToDo allows the average busy professional to organize their lives on the go using the Twillio API to text tasks to your to-do list, which is stored using the Bluemix API.
With noticeable sleep deprivation we presented our app to the judges most of which were women, and crossed our fingers for the best. Overall we won the 1st place prize for the best use of the Bluemix technologies. We all walked off Howards campus feeling great about the opportunity we all had to participate in this hackathon. As a woman in particular the experience made me want to learn more. Participating in a hackathon forced me to learn quickly about something I knew little about, and I came out knowing more than I did before and excited to learn and build more. It was an experience I encourage everyone to try especially those who are interested in coding but just haven’t had the push to get over the scariness of learning something new, a hackathon will definitely kickstart your eagerness to learn.