When I moved to Atlanta a few years ago, I decided to level-up my skills by enrolling in a coding school. To test what was learned, instructors suggested that students in my cohort consider signing up for a hackathon. This introduced me to a concept I had heard of before, but had not given much thought to — hacking. That experience thrust me into Atlanta’s rising entrepreneurial and tech ecosystem, and changed the trajectory of my career.
The first hackathon I ever participated in was Goodie Hack — a hackathon designed to solve problems for underserved communities. Teams were challenged to come up with tech-based solutions to address issues for local non-profit organizations. Another hackathon I’ve participated in is 48 in 48, a two-day event where designers and developers build websites for nonprofits in need of a website or online presence makeover to further their missions.
Since then, I have been hooked on hackathons. However, after attending several of these events now, I have not seen a lot of black and brown designers, in particular, compared to other technical talent. I find this to be somewhat perplexing, considering that several of these events are focused on issues affecting the very communities in which we live, and they’re always looking for diverse perspectives to inform the conversations. Yet, there are not that many of us sitting at these tables that have chairs with our names on them.
Here are some reasons why more black designers should consider participating in hackathons.