Getting kids into coding: JHack 2016

160 Auckland teens are in fierce competition to design and build their own computer game, as part of a junior hackathon organised by MIT and Microsoft New Zealand on 24 September 2016.

Working in teams or individually, mentored by industry experts, the 12-17 year olds have one month to develop their game – which they will present to their peers, friends and family, as well as Mayor Len Brown, industry leaders, and an expert judging panel.  

Watch the video from JHack 2015.

JHack aims to encourage teens to consider a career in the IT industry, which accounts for 8% of NZ’s GDP and saw a 7% increase in jobs in 2015 , yet is facing major skills shortages over the next decade .  

Edwina Mistry, JHack organiser and Industry and Community Engagement Manager at MIT’s Faculty of Business and IT, says the competition is “an opportunity to give the next generation a taste of what IT is about.”

“It’s a wonderful chance for the kids to learn from respected industry mentors, and allows them to develop their ideas and learn about IT in a way that’s fun and practical.”

Mistry says the competition goes beyond coding: “The teens also have to design and market their game. It requires creativity and imagination, as well as technical skills.”

“It’s the first step in a pathway from school, to a tertiary qualification, to a career in IT,” she says.

The 25 industry mentors represent tech-savvy NZ companies, including Vodafone New Zealand, Xero, Air New Zealand, Orion Health, Auckland Council, Tenzing, Neotek, Fusion, Nyriad, and Davanti.

50 teams and 17 individuals from 21 high schools across Auckland are participating; including Aorere College, Kelston Deaf Education Centre, Epsom Girls Grammar, Ormiston Primary School, Henderson High School, Papatoetoe High School, Somerville Intermediate, Tamaki College and Whangaparaoa College

IN BRIEF:
What:  JHack, organised by the Manukau Institute of Technology
When:  Saturday 24 September, 10.00am-5.00pm, prize-giving from 3.20pm
Where:  MIT Manukau, Davies Ave, Manukau
Who:  160 Auckland high school students + 25 industry mentors

Code Camp