Hackathon – for some this word may sound mysterious, for others it is a magical event, full of creativity, innovation and intense work. To dispel any doubts and learn the secrets of hackathons, we conducted an interview with Adam Majcher, a young enthusiast who can already boast of his first scientific successes. What is a hackathon? How to start? Learn about Adam’s story and be inspired by his achievements!
What is a hackathon and how to take part in it?
Hackathon is usually an event where programmers, graphic designers, designers and other enthusiasts of various creative fields meet to make something amazing in a short period of time, often in 24 hours. It’s all about creating solutions to real problems. To participate in a hackathon, most often all you need to do is sign up – there are no special requirements, other than the desire to learn and create. You can sign up alone or with a team.
How did your adventure with hackathons begin?
My adventure with hackathons began with an invitation to the local edition of the NASA Space Apps Challenge 2022 hackathon in Rzeszów, where my friends and I said our famous words “we just came here to look around” – the result was beyond our expectations, we won second place that day, and a special prize. I was 16 years old at the time.
How did your interest in space originate?
My interest in the cosmos began in childhood. I was fascinated by the stars, planets and all the mysteries of the universe. I always asked myself, “How huge is the universe?” As I grew up, my interest only increased, and participating in NASA hackathons was a natural step.
What was the idea that earned you the first place?
My idea, which won the prize, was to create a model to match open-source NASA projects with students, based on their interests, preferences and skills. I wanted to help other young people, like me, find the projects that would be most interesting and rewarding to them.
What did you learn from this project?
Thanks to this project, I learned that no matter how big the challenge is, you can always find a solution. You just have to be patient and never stop searching. In my case, I used currently available knowledge and very popularized AI, the appropriate use of which was appreciated by the jury.
What were the biggest challenges you faced throughout the project?
The biggest challenge for me was getting into the role of a student and learning about their gripes in the process of finding projects and getting involved. Only when we thoroughly understand the need of the target group we are creating a product for, for me a solution easily appears in my head, it’s like a magic spark – it appears and I already know what to do.
Why should one participate in events such as hackathons?
Participating in hackathons is an amazing opportunity to learn, I myself during a hackathon acquire a huge amount of knowledge directly from the latest articles and studies from NASA, and meet interesting people who are passionate about news from the world of knowledge, science and technology. It is also a chance to gain valuable experience that can help you in your future career. (Apparently, recruiters greatly appreciate hackathons in resumes).
What are your plans for the future? What will you use the award for?
My future plans are invariably related to science and technology. I’m not slowing down, I plan to invent and implement more projects with an even higher bar raised, and as you know you need funds for that. I’d like to spend the prize on a trip to some interesting conference abroad, and I’m sure I’ll spend a large portion on currently planned trips to events and hackathons around Poland.
In today’s economic world, young people are an incredibly important resource, and their engagement in initiatives such as hackathons not only develops individual skills but also builds social capital, which can have a significant impact on the development of the job market and the innovation sector in Poland.
Let’s hope that we will hear about Adam’s further scientific successes in the near future!