Stockton’s coders (software programmers) and business leaders are getting excited about local technology initiatives. In August, Stockton hosted several tech incubator events, including one featuring Jacob Kuczeruk, Vice President at Megabots and now Valley Hackathon is coming to town
Hackathons are common in the Bay Area and other technology centers around the country, but are still relatively rare in this region.
Valley Hackathon’s programming contests have attracted hundreds of software professionals and are quickly becoming the area’s largest technology events. Valley Hackathon-Stockton on September 23 will be hosted by the Huddle and sponsored by the City of Stockton, along with 50-plus other companies and community partners such as Robert Half Technology, Oportun, Bay Valley Tech Code Academy and the Small Business Development Center.
The one-day event will feature innovative software, good food and an opportunity to expand technical and business contacts for coders. Competitors will also have a chance to win more than $1,000 in cash and prizes for the day’s efforts.
The word “hackathon” is derived from the words “hack” and “marathon.” In this case, “hack” refers to utilizing software to rapidly develop a proof of concept or adequate interim solution versus the other definition of illegally accessing someone else’s computers. “Hackathon” was first coined in 1999 and, shortly after, organizations increasingly leveraged hackathons to quickly create new software startups or encourage innovative solutions.
There have been several examples of hackathon-derived startups sold in multimillion dollar exits over the past 10 years. Today, many hackathons are organized to solve specific corporate software challenges, or to inspire coders to further develop their technical expertise.
In addition to expanding their professional network, having fun and winning thousands of dollars, past Valley Hackathon winners are also turning their projects into startups. One team of finalists from this January’s hackathon in Modesto is now part of an incubator program, beta testing their mobile communication platform to target the nation’s thousands of CrossFit coaches and gym members.
“Valley Hackathon events offer a chance to increase awareness of the Valley’s amazing tech talent and are a key component in building a large, collaborative local tech community,” said Carl Schroeder, President of Geostrategies, a founding sponsor that continues to support the hackathon mission. Like Geostrategies, many companies across the state rely on strong tech talent but experience shortages in qualified applicants.
Local business and community leaders agree that developing a thriving technology ecosystem is an important step to building tighter connections with our Silicon Valley neighbors to the west and attracting higher paying jobs to the Central Valley. A strong pool of software talent will encourage tech companies to expand here and create marketing, sales, operations and finance jobs in addition to programming opportunities.
One prominent hackathon sponsor has developed into a roadmap for how to bring in tech companies and improve the local economy.
Oportun, a Redwood City-based fintech (financial technology) company that has attracted over $220 million in venture and private equity investments, opened a software development office in Downtown Modesto two years ago creating dozens of software development jobs with plans to expand significantly.
Several other firms have now also selected Modesto as a base for their software development units, creating jobs that are significantly higher paying than the area’s median household income.
This month’s Valley Hackathon-Stockton will be held at the Huddle in Downtown Stockton.
“We are thrilled to help bring this fun event to Stockton’s tech community,” said Matthew Amen, Huddle’s Executive Director. Valley Hackathon has started taking registrations for teams to compete in the upcoming contest.
The event will provide programmers an excellent opportunity to work on their passion projects or startup ideas. Participants can compete as individuals or as part of a team. The hackathon will also feature food from excellent local businesses.
“We had a great time. I would highly recommend that programmers of all levels join in on the fun and fellowship,” said Sally Gerbo from Gerbo Designs (gerbodesigns.com) who has competed in several events on the Inventaweb (inventaweb.net) team.
Hackathon participants will need to provide their own computers. Competitors can plan their projects in advance but cannot begin coding until the event kick-off that Saturday morning. For additional rules, visit valleyhackathon.com/login. Please be sure to register early as spots are limited. Event judges have not yet been finalized, but previous judges have included software development leaders from companies such as Twitter and American Medical Response.
Upcoming Valley Hackathon events in October and January 2018 will be hosted at ValleyWorx, Modesto’s new tech and digital design accelerator.
Useful hackathon links:
To sponsor Valley Hackathon:
For questions, please send email to:
Connect with Valley Hackathon on Facebook to get details on future events