Nova Scotia

Sydney 'hackathon' challenges techies

Cape Breton techies are building computer programs from scratch in Sydney`s first hackathon.
Two techies race against the clock Saturday. (CBC)

Cape Breton techies are racing to build computer programs from scratch Saturday in Sydney’s first hackathon.

The 30 hackers are not hijacking computers, but building new programs. Participants said it is a sign of Sydney’s emerging technology scene.

The programmers are spread out over several rooms and working in small groups to create the most original program. The work includes everything from video games to data-processing tools.

Jim DeLeskie owns a tech security company. He organized the event.

"The primary goal really is to have fun and try to introduce technology people in the area to each other," he said.

The hackathon runs for 12 hours, during which time the participants need to take an idea from concept to function.

`I think it`s awesome`

Gavin Uhma designed a program that lets him play an instrument by pressing a key — a function he just coded.

He's originally from Sydney, but lives in Halifax. He came home with nine other Halifax techies.

"I think it's awesome. Traditionally, it was always programming competitions and that type of thing that aren't really as fun. This is about building and learning working in teams, and presenting at the end of the day," he said.

Darren MacDonald said there are lots of benefits to the hackathon.

"Allowing us to network and really get to know each other, to see the skills folks have and see if there's opportunities to collaborate," he said.

DeLeskie and others said they hope this hackathon will continue to spark more tech business and products being developed in Cape Breton.