Development doesn’t stop with #SS19Hack for young geeks

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Tiyani Nghonyama, COO and CTO of Geekulcha.
Tiyani Nghonyama, COO and CTO of Geekulcha.

Now that the dust has settled following the #SS19Hack on 28 and 29 May, what is next for SA’s young coders?

The third annual security-focused hackathon, sponsored by PwC, was held alongside the ITWeb Security Summit 2019, in conjunction with Geekulcha and Snode Technologies. Themed ‘Protecting connected citizens in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, #SS19Hack saw 13 teams competing for cash prizes sponsored by Micro Focus and MTN.

All the ‘Capture the Flag’ challenge winners have been awarded their prizes, as have the Summit’s Choice Award winners DeepHacks. In addition, the bursary fund that was awarded to Nchaupe Solomon Setshedi has been organised.

But that isn’t where it ends, says Tiyani Nghonyama, COO and CTO of Geekulcha, adding that post-hackathon development is important too.

Nghonyama, who has been involved in the hackathon since its inception in 2017, says over the next 40 days, Geekulcha will be meeting with six of the participating teams, including the top three, to offer them technical, business and commercialisation support.

“We will also be driving some aspects of the SS19Hack security judging [methodology] onto the youth VacWork programme that is taking place at Carnarvon High School in the Northern Cape, from 24 to 28 June,” he says.

Geekulcha’s mission is to address the country’s skills challenge, and to groom future geeks. Its programme is made up of three pillars aimed at skills development, and exposing learners to the working world - mentorship, community outreach and the VacWork programme

Nghonyama says several organisations are participating. Eight participants will be doing VacWork at PwC, while Snode will take up to three. In addition, he says Cisco is looking for graduates to employ, and Geekulcha will be sending them a list of potential candidates that includes the #SS19Hack participants.

Finally, Cisco is hosting the ‘Summit Choice Award’ winners DeepHacks on 24 to 28 June on a VacWork programme, mentored by Cisco engineers.

Finish what you started

On 28 June, teams from the Security Summit Hackathon will be afforded an opportunity to finish what they started. The Minister of the newly-formed Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, will be hosting the ‘Living 4IR Hackathon’, which will focus on the commercialisation path of the solutions.

#Living4IRHack is a one-day hackathon inviting local geeks to showcase and complete their unfinished projects, particularly ones from previous hackathons. These solutions are set to be the ones that will help ease the transition into the 4IR.

“Skills capacity has been identified as one of the greatest challenges for South Africa, and this is why Geekulcha is so passionate about developing skills among SA’s youth, and helping them become tomorrow’s problem-solvers,” concludes Nghonyama.

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