VandyHacks II Stats and Recap

The entire VandyHacks team had an amazing time planning and hosting VandyHacks II this past October (2015.) It was incredible seeing everything come together to produce an unforgettable hackathon. This article seeks to provide some insights into our growth over the last couple of semesters and to share some statistics from our most recent event.

Applicants

We’ve seen an incredible amount of growth since we began in November of 2014. Since our last hackathon in March 2015, we’ve seen a nearly 70% growth in number of applications, from roughly 650 to 1,100 applicants. We’ve tried our best to scale with this growth, and were able to host 272 hackers for our Fall 2015 event. This represents a 72% increase in participants in two events separated by just 6 months. This time around, we had students representing 22 schools, a large increase from the 10 schools at our first event. A huge thank you and congratulations to the entire VandyHacks team for pulling this off while maintaining our premiere quality of food, resources, sponsors, prizes, and other amenities. The entire VandyHacks board deserves praise for their efforts: Bradley Faskowitz, Carolyn Zeng, Daisy Zhang, Danny McClanahan, Harrison Stall, Hunter Manhart, Jeff Gao, Mark Karle, Mitchell Gordon, Robby Cohen, Sam Pepose, and Win Wang.

Applicants and Participants (Spring 2015 vs Fall 2015)

Gender

We strongly believe that it’s crucial for hackathons to remain a diverse place. A diverse hackathon better facilitates the opportunity for everyone to broaden their intellectual and social horizons. We ended up having 54 females and 218 males. There’s still a lot of room to improve here, so we are dedicated to continuously improving diversity at future events. At VandyHacks II, Girls Who Code hosted a tech talk, and, in the future, we will be seeking other initiatives to encourage underrepresented groups in the tech industry to be involved with our organization. Diversity awareness will play an important, constant role in our planning for the next event.

Gender Distribution (Spring 2015 vs Fall 2015)

First-Time Hackers

There were 175 first-time hackers and 97 veteran hackers at VandyHacks II. We offered some introductory workshops on Oculus Rift and Project Tango, as well as a few intermediate tech talks with Node.js and iOS SpriteKit. Tons of hackers used Project Tango hardware for their projects and we suspect that that is due to the introduction these workshops provided. For our Vanderbilt participants, we also offered Web Programming 101 a week beforehand. Next time, we’ll be offering even more resources to help participants get up and running from scratch in iOS, Android, Web, and hardware. As a result of our marketing and workshops, we had a nearly 5% increase in first-time hackers from last season.

First Time Hackers (Spring 2015 vs Fall 2015)

Graduation Year

There were 84 freshman, 67 sophomores, 72 juniors, 40 seniors, and 9 graduate students in attendance. We’re extremely happy with this distribution and are aiming for a similar spread at our next event. There was a decrease in sophomores by percentage, but that just means that we had many more seniors in their place. We’re still too young of an event to understand this trend with any certainty.

Grades (Spring 2015 vs Fall 2015)

First-Time Hackers by Year

It’s interesting to look at the number of first-time hackers in each grade. As expected, a large majority of the freshman class was comprised of first-time hackers. Surprisingly, the number is roughly equal between sophomores and juniors. This goes to show that first-time hackers are not necessarily the most inexperienced engineers!

First Time Hackers by Grade (Fall 2015)

Results

We couldn’t have been happier with the quality and dedication of the hackers at VandyHacks II. Their efforts yielded 36 projects, which can be viewed here. However, we did notice that many incomplete projects were not submitted. We encourage everyone to submit a hack, regardless of whether or not it’s finished! By submitting and presenting at the expo, you’ll have the chance to improve your presentation abilities, meet others who might take an interest in your idea, and possibly gain insight on how to improve your technical skills.

Next Steps

To all of our hackers, sponsors, and partners, we really enjoyed having you! We hope you had a great time, and we look forward to seeing you again next year. Our team learned a lot from this event, and we’ll be back better than ever at VandyHacks III! If you have any questions about this article, please comment or shoot us an email at info@vandyhacks.org. You can find pictures from the event here.