In 2012, TES and Hacker Lounge united to hold one of the first university hackathons at the University of Texas at Austin. Today, HackTX is just one of many events around the world that inspires students to build, learn, and explore something new using technology.
HackTX is a small part of a global community. Since HackTX started in 2012, hackathons have grown at an exponential rate. More and more students are recognizing their desire to explore new skills and technologies. Whether you're learning to build mobile applications, getting your feet wet with Arduinos, working your data-crunching muscles, or diving into unfamiliar territories with interactive design, hackathons are there to provide the necessary mentorship and collaboration needed to push your limits and create something new.
The following timelapse shows a history of hackathons recorded on Hacker League and Devpost since 2011. Hover over a point on the map to see information on a hackathon in that area; click to view all of the hackathons that have occurred in that city in the past four and a half years.
In 2012, hackathons grew to accommodate over 10 times as many hackers across the globe. Since then, they've spread to countries in six different continents, propelling communities in colleges and nations that are otherwise lacking in technical resources.
Nearly 2000 hackathons have been recorded over the past four and a half years. Many of them have come from student organizations that are empowering their peers to build, program, design and experiment with technology regardless of their academic backgrounds. Here's a small taste of what these communities have had to say:
Over the course of 24 hours, students built everything from bathroom accessibility apps to virtual reality Flappy Bird workout tools. Over 100 projects were demoed, ranging from the lighthearted and nonsensical to the technically impressive, playfully useful, and socially impactful.
We provided everything from Myos and Oculus Rifts to Leap Motions, Spark Cores, and bucket-loads of energetic love and affection. A large variety of mentors were around to help hackers with springboarding their ideas, planning their projects, troubleshooting hardware issues, and teaching them about web development, mobile applications, data science, design philosophy, and a million different tools and resources to get the most out of their projects.
Since our first event in 2012, we have focused on the quality of our event and the satisfaction of every student that walks through our doors. We have maintained the intimacy provided by smaller hackathons and the energy of larger 1,000+ student hackathons, and we hope to continue catering to each of our hackers while engaging them with a diverse community and an infectious attitude for building.
Last year, 60 percent of attendees were first-time hackers. These weren’t just underclassmen — these were freshmen, seniors, and graduate students who had never been encouraged to venture outside of the classroom and apply their knowledge in the real world.
All years were represented in equal portions, with no one class standing out in terms of sheer presence. We reached out across UT and the state of Texas to encourage students from all walks of life to join us, and each student found their niche at HackTX, whether they were first-time builders or nutty masterminds.
Attendees came from 17 different universities, traveling from as far north as the University of Michigan and as far south as Tecnológico de Monterrey. We hosted 13 Texas universities and colleges, and our long-term commitment to helping the Texas scene has encouraged both high school and university hackers to host their own hackathons, including School’s Out Hackathon, TAMUHack, and HackDFW.
Last year, 17% of HackTX attendees identified as female, on par with the percentage of women in UTCS, and 27% identified as hispanic, far above the national reported average for students in computer science. However, we are endlessly striving to see people of all gender identities, ethnicities, academic studies, interests, and skill levels at HackTX, and we are heavily expanding our efforts to provide a safer, more collaborative environment for creatives, designers, coders and mentors to learn from, teach, and inspire one another.