Friday, July 26, 2013

GAME ON!

Just about every other month in a office near the Main Train Station in Krakow you will find a gathering of programmers and web developers competing for the ulitmate bragging rights to proclaim that his favorite programming framework is the one that will rule them all.
The Sponsor:
HackKRK takes place in the offices of the Base, a firm providing CRM services to medium size firms and is growing rapidly. The company is based in Chicago but they have their R&D division based here in Krakow. You might have seen their recruiting adverts before your favorite Youtube videos. The lead organizer is Piotr Nedzynski, a operations manager at the company.
The Event:
The premises is that developers and programmers using such framworks as JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, PHP, Clojure and Django gather and are given a set of tasks to write coding for. There are two ways to win, first to 10 points or most points by the end of the night. Did I mention free beer and food. One participant said that it would be the "perfect party for students".
That Escalated Quickly
Since its launch in January 2012, the event went from less than 10 participants to over 100 as of the latest meeting. The idea for such an event came from the many coferences attended by the organizers. Roman and Mariusz, employees of Base and members of the orgainzing committee said that they were involved in various competitions and decided to bring the idea as well as the collaborative atmosphere it created back to Krakow with them. They wanted to show that coding and programming is not only for work it can be a platform to socialize and have a bit of compeitive fun at the same time. At the moment, this is the only event of its kind in Krakow.
They Come from Far and Wide
During the event I talked to many very interesting participants and asked them how did they involved and their impressions, here are a sample of some replies:
  • Xava, a web developer from Argentina said that he found out about the event during a phone interview with Base and was having a good time while programming with Kohana.
  • Adrian, a computer science student at AGH Univeristy of Science and Technology, got the idea from a school forum thought the event was a revolutionary way to turn the IT community into one that cooperates through competition.
  • Natalia, a back-end developer and a coach for Webmuses, would like to see more girls involved in programming and coding. She just decided that it was something she wanted to do. She felt that it would be great if more girls would break through the traditional societal roles and get into IT.
  • Jeffery, a graduate IT student from Taiwan found out about the event through a IT website, thought it would be a wonderful way to network and to learn more about the IT life in Krakow.
  • There was even an eco-living collective from Studzionka, a village about 100 km from Krakow. Their motto is "Your Framework is Doomed!". The quartet thought the event would be a fun way to meet people and experience programming in a collaborative and competitive atmosphere.
My own Impressions

Overall I thought the event was a wonderful way to see the Start-up community from a more technical point of view. There are other meetings where a competition was the main program. Here, the competition was only part of the program. It was nice to see people so passionate about a certain framework that they would even do it in the after work hours. I think that is one of the more unique aspects of the Krakow Start-up community. It is more organic and collaborative.  

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