Reflections on dsmHack 2017

Reflections on dsmHack 2017

Last month I had the privilege of attending dsmHack for the first time. dsmHack is a charity hackathon providing assistance to central Iowa non-profits and growth opportunities for technologists.

This year’s hack was March 2-4 at Gravitate. The hackathon begins with each of the non-profits giving a presentation on their proposed projects followed by a “speed dating” session to ask questions of the non-profits and to form teams. I ended up working with a team primarily from Principal along with myself and one developer from Workiva on building a site for the Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa (RACI).

Over the course of 48 hours, we built a Wordpress-based site for RACI, including features like a responsive design built off of Bootstrap 4, automatic translation, and card designs for all of the various agencies and partners that they work with. We also got them set up on Twitter at @RefugeeCI as well.

It was great that they brought in a number of refugee case workers to talk through their needs with us, and we even had Bosnian being spoken in the room on multiple occasions since one of our team members was a refugee from Bosnia herself. RACI was so appreciative that they even gave each of us one of their “I am Iowa” t-shirts from Raygun, which has turned into one of my favorite shirts!

It was a really great experience to participate in dsmHack. I found it really rewarding to work on a project that had such a tangible benefit for a cause I support and I look forward to attending again next year!