Hackathon: What It Is And Why The Greater Bangor Region Needs One.

The following is a guest post by Garrett Wilkin.

A hackathon is a positive, creative event that can serve as the catalyst to turn ideas into prototypes, products, or even companies.  Think of it as a computer programmer’s conference.  A hackathon would be attended by software engineers, builders of mobile applications, and other tech-savvy types.  At a well rounded event you would also see graphic designers and entrepreneurs.  Some people would come with only a vision of a product they would like to create, or a challenge they would like to overcome with technology. Everyone works together at a sprinter’s pace to produce a new website or application by the end of the event.

There are already many people in Maine that work remotely for companies located out of state.  I am one of those individuals and I keep meeting more people in my situation.  I have been programming professionally for 6 years now, and recently decided that I needed to refresh my understanding of the industry.  Attending my first hackathon, I thought, would be an excellent step toward that goal.  Back in November, I took that step with my cousin as we drove down to Music Hack Day Boston.  It was an adrenaline filled weekend of high energy, nerdy collaboration.  I got a taste of the excitement of creation and the agony of failure.  All in all, I got to connect with a lot of passionate programmers, try out some new technology, meet with several companies in the digital music space, and I learned quite a lot along the way.  It was a transformative experience.

This first hackathon has inspired me to create one right where I grew up: in and around the towns of Veazie, Bangor, and Orono.  As far as I can tell it would be the first of its kind, but I know this area is ready.  It’s my instinct, or perhaps naive belief, that there are a lot of nerds around here, and if we could only connect with each other we’d be able to create something great and do it locally.

If you share this belief or would like to see a positive technology focused event take place in our region, please join our group on Meetup.com.  Our first meeting is this Tuesday @ 12:30pm downtown at The Bagel Shop.  If you’d like to participate but can’t make that one, there will be another (same time, same place) on Tuesday March 20th.  I’ve created a second group that is just for the programmers.  That’s called Hacker Club and you can also follow us on twitter.  The first Hacker Club meeting will be held at Books-a-million (BAM) Tuesday night at 6pm.