WINNING IDEA: ISU Students Do ‘Hackathon’

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Some Iowa State University students recently pulled an all-nighter. Not to cram for a test, but to develop a new game, app, or website to help people improve their finances.

“The goal is to create a winning idea… an idea that maybe get a kernel of a start here and we have some resources that can take that idea and run with make it bigger, make it something we can push out to the university,” says Clinton Gudmonson.

Over the weekend, the students spent 24-hours straight creating a game that would be addictive, simple, and get people to make a difference in their financial behavior.

It was called Money Game Jam. Teams were made up of student entrepreneurs, designers and developers.

Senior Cassidy Williams was part of the process, called a hackathon. She says that’s when a group hacks together ideas to create something.

She’s been involved in many hackathons before and says anyone should jump at the chance to be part of one.

“I think you should just go for it. Because a lot people just say, ‘Oh I’m not very good at that, I wouldn’t win or anything,’ but I’ve lost several hackathons in the beginning before I got a little more successful at them. So even if you are a newbie, you just got to keep working at it and keep trying because you’ll learn a lot,” says Williams.

She even landed a job as a software engineer talking about a past hackathon she was involved in.

Williams says hackathons could even replace career fairs one day in technical fields, as employers want to see how potential employees work.