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7 problems, 8 teams, 5 hours, 1 Hackathon @ Pentalog Moldova


Wikipedia says “Hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development and hardware development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects”.

This is the most classical definition, and is very similar to what we do in the IT sector on daily bases. In the same time, it is good to train the set of skills that is not bothered by your daily JIRA tasks. You are asking yourself, what am I going to talk about ? Before I answer that question, I suggest you, to take a minute and make the list of 5 skills that are in list of ‘non-bothered’. Hopefully you have the ‘algorithmic mindset‘ skill on your list, if not, add it and now the list is complete 🙂

Being involved in the process of technical validation of experts and new-comers in our company I found out an interesting fact, 90% of people that graduated from an IT university are noobs in basic algorithms and data structures. The simplest example is: ‘How would you sort an one-dimensionas array using two for loop statements ?’ ? this problem is solved by, at most 20% of specialists. It’s a well-known fact that there are already all algorithms implemented in most of the programming languages, but there are cases when a specific problem cannot be solved using a standard approach, and you feel like a ‘wheel inventor’ solving and an ordinary problem from algorithmic point of view.

By the end of the 2015’th I planned to organize an internal event that made my colleagues and friends to feel like students that are passing an interview for one of well-knownIT giants. We call it PentaHackhaton. It’s an event organized in one of the weekends and it takes up to 5 hours of algorithmic problem solving. This year, the event was organized in its second edition. Eighteen brave developers tried their mind power in solving a list of seven problems from the following domains ? recursion, dynamic programming, “Divide Et Impera”, graphs theory, tree processing algorithms, elementary math topics, sorting algorithms. In order to make the event more social, random teams of two developers each, had to provide as many problems solved as possible in that time-box.

I was expecting to see at most 4 problems solved by the champion team, but what a great surprise we had, two teams that solved five and more problems each. I’ve noticed an excellent collaboration between team members. First milestone on their way to success was to consolidate the team and start the communication process. The second milestone was the concentration on the topic and identification of the required algorithm. And the third one was a good spirit the will to win.

It wasn’t difficult to gather those bright minds all together for this event. I got even some reminders from my colleagues like ‘When is it planned the next PentaHackhaton ?’, and I felt that it would be FUN.

These questions are for each bright mind that reads this article ? What event did you visit during last month ? How did you improve your life after it ? How many people did you trigger for a discussion ? And, the least but not last, what do you remember from that event ?

Most of you can answer: mhhhh…., or I don’t quite remember…… or it was a party and mhhhh… I don’t remember that it was that specific. Yes, I agree, that there are those of you, at least eighteen who can proudly say, that they’ve had an entertaining event during the weekend.

Do you have difficulties with your IT project? Pentalog guys can help you, we can organize a Hackathon for you and solve all your technical problems! Interested? Contact us to learn more!

Pentalog has built up a talent pool of over 750 people (80% of them are based in nearshore locations, 10% in offshore locations and 10% in Western Europe and America) specialized in a dozen verticals and technological expertise areas (e-commerce, software, M2M, etc.). Check it out! 

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