Interview with a Hackathon participant, team leader

Recently, we had one of the world’s biggest digital product development Hackathon held in India.
The event was held in 26 cities across the countries and a whooping 10,000 students participated in it.

One of them was my cousin Akash and his team stood 7th among 89 teams who had participated from Nagpur. *Applauds*

First of all, I would like to congratulate Akash and his team for such a wonderful achievement. And also thank you for making time for this interview.

I mailed Akash a set of questions for the interview and he very gladly answered them.

Can you tell us more about the event?

Name of the Event – Smart India Hackathon
This event was held in 28 centers all over India on 1st and 2nd April 2017. Initially we were asked to submit the synopsis of your project that we had selected and then they had a selection process for selecting interest ideas.
Our Center- Nagpur(Ramdeo baba college of engineering)
Department – Ministry Of Road Transport and highways.
Hackathon is basically an event where various teams are given certain task to perform(technical task) in a given time span.
This event was different as we already knew our topics but they projects where so huge and complicated that we could complete them in weeks prior to the event.
So we were ask to create a prototype and then judging panel will instruct us some changes in it and those changes we have to perform in 36 hrs.

How were you informed about the event?
One of my college friend informed us about the event and rest of the information was available on

What was your and your teams approach about the event? Or how did  you form the team?
It was basically new experience for all my mates. We didn’t know we would get selected for the report. We all worked extremely hard for making just a 20-30 page report (We were selected of our report).
I personally contacted students who were interested for this event and ready to do the hard work required. Initially we decided to form two teams, but some students backed off and we were able to form only one team.

Can you tell us more about your team?

Team Members –
1. Akash Kulkarni (myself) – team leader
2. Sarvesh Nerurkar
3. Shubham More
4. Aditya Thanekar
5. Pratik Deoolwadikar
6. Prasad Vishwakarma

Team mentors
1. Sachin Malave(H.O.D)
2. Amol Kalugade(Asst. Professor)

I think our team was very well-balanced. As we had one professional Android developer(Aditya), he has been learning android from 3 years.
All other members were Familiar with Java, SQL, database connectivity and project management techniques.
Our two mentors were also extremely supportive in the whole process.

I hear you were the team lead? How does that feels? 😉
I was very happy as well as nervous when I was elected as a team leader for the particular event. I never had experience of leading a technical team before.
All of my team members and mentors were supportive and respected my decision at each and every step. I always like new challenges and I accepted this challenge with no problems and regrets. In fact this was first time our college for present at a national event and me being the leader it was a proud moment for me.

What was the environment at the event?
I must say environment was very enthusiastic as well as very much competitive.
Two days before the event all teams were residing in a hostel.
All students from different colleges, states and culture coming together for great event was very much interesting.
During the event initially all teams and students were pretty nervous but as time passed by all teams started interacting.
Competing for 36 hours is not an easy job but it was so much to learn from.

Was Mr Modi, our prime minister, present at the event?
This event was held at 28 different locations simultaneously, so practically it wouldn’t have been possible for honourable PM Mr. Narendra Modiji to attend the each site.|Narendra Modi acknowledged each and every center for 10-15 mins via webcam.
His words of wisdom were nothing but inspiration to us.

I have read in the news that there were 598 problem statements from 29 different government departments.
So how did you get yours?What was the procedure?What was it?
Yes there were total 598 problem statements for 29 different ministers and department.
We all knew our strength and weakness, so we didn’t select the problems which were not feasible to us at current moment because the submission day for report was 31 st January 2017 and we came to about the event on 23 rd January. So we had less time to think and create an interesting report.

Problem Selection –
As we had an excellent android developer, we decided to select an app base problem. We also thought of selecting a problem which will help masses directly.
So as we were exploring the problems in Road and transport ministry, we found online toll payment app problem and then selected it.

Procedure –
Create project synopsis and submit on website with college permission.

How was that experience of coding with your team for 36 straight hours and in that environment?
Again it was an amazing experience, very exhausting though as we slept for only 2 hours during an event and also had many sleepless night before the event just like last-minute submissions night out in college.

Any funny/memorable incident?
Had one during night out in the college. While we were working and decided to take coffee break, we just went out of room and suddenly there were bats all over the passage of the floor, flying blindly. We all were really panicked, and then one of the friends went shirtless and attack those bats until they ran away.
Our whole 3 months span was fun and exciting.

Did you have performance pressure? 🙂
At first we didn’t have any pressure and soon when we started going into depth of the project we realised that it is not an easy one to execute.
Plus Whole college was very positive about the going.
Literally had meetings with H.O.Ds of all department, our principal Sir were also very much interested in our work.
So slowly pressure of performance started to build up and I am very much happy to say that none of us was beaten by the pressure but instead all started working more harder.

What did you and your team take back with you from this event?
We literally learned millions things from this event and not only from the event but from the whole Process. On very first day we all decided “For us it’s not winning it’s about learning”.
We learnt that there is always a scope for improvement and never keep your search is narrow space, always think of bigger and impossible things, if we do that then we realise nothing is impossible.
For those 3 months about 10000 Indian students thought about problem faced by India and why India is behind, not only they thought they gave their priceless efforts for solving it.
Instead of mocking and blaming the Government for all ill things happening we young people should work harder and create better things for own people and for own country.
Why should we outsource our problems if we can tackle it ourselves?
Make your people proud, and think logically always.

Any feedback, good or bad, you would like to give about the event?
Off course a great Event. I certainly want to be part of many more events and learn something

I think my first interview went quite well 🙂 Altough Akash took a little longer to reply the questions, but he is still in time!
Once again, thank you for the time. And I wish Akash and each one of his team members very good luck for your future endeavors.

I am starting a new series on my blog, where I will take interview of people I already know like my friends, family or acquintances. This will give them me an opportunity to know more about them and learn about their experience. It might also help them to think about their experiences and think a little louder 🙂 I hope that the readers to find it interesting. Do let me know what you think about it.


About Dhanashree

I am a newly married wife, in my late twenties. Software Engineer by profession, I am quite a tech-friendly and I love to read and write. Maths was my favorite subject at school :) Now, I am working on my vocabulary and drawing skills. I am totally a family person!
This entry was posted in Blogging, Interview and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Interview with a Hackathon participant, team leader

  1. Megala says:

    Great work!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s