Last year, the Montclair State University Computer Club had a simple request: it wanted to hold a hackathon.
On March 30, the club got its wish. Nearly 200 people gathered in the Student Center to participate in the Club’s first hackathon, HawkHack – a 24-hour coding marathon in which computer programmers, graphic designers, and project managers collaborated intensively on software projects.
Sammy Samkough, the Computer Club’s project manager, said the idea was to build up the IT community both on and off campus by bringing people together, enabling innovation and driving competition through the creation of new computer programs.
Organized by the Computer Club and its faculty advisor Dawei Li, along with College of Science and Mathematics Dean Lora Billings and Department of Computer Science Chair Constantine Coutras, the hackathon drew a packed room of students and other people from the region, who came to create new programs, test their skills and make new friends.
For some, like Emily Gorelick, it was the first time attending a hackathon. A high school student from Wayne, who has always been interested in math and science, Gorelick said the idea of the hackathon intrigued her, because “you can make something out of nothing.”
Montclair State sophomore Hope Diamantopoulos, a computer science major who spends part of her summers teaching kids how to code, said the hackathon provided real-world experience that supplemented what she was learning in her classes.
Hackathons provide opportunities for networking and Saturday’s was no different, with representatives from Google, UPS and Netflix on hand to answer questions, conduct workshops and meet prospective interns. Laser gun and cup stacking competitions also helped to keep the mood upbeat for anyone needing a break from the screen.
HawkHack is just one of the many ways Montclair State is cementing its reputation as a regional leader in computer science programs and innovative technology.
This semester the University announced three new master’s degrees in Information Technology. The Master of Science in Cybersecurity will enroll its first students in fall 2019, answering an increasing demand for skilled workers in the field. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, research shows that there will be as many as 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity-related positions by 2021.
The Master of Science in Computational Linguistics, which will launch in the fall of 2019 pending state approval, is a two-year program focused on helping machines process human language and helping linguists understand language through computer models. Computational linguistics is considered one of the most commercially viable branches of linguistics, with major technology companies such as Apple, Facebook, Intel, and Microsoft all employing computational linguists.
The Master of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in Applied Information Technology is an innovative graduate degree providing advanced training in the study, design, development, implementation, testing and support of applications of computing and communication technologies. The courses include human-computer interaction, web development and cyberlaw.