On 21st of April, the Yarl IT Hub conducted its first meetup for the year. For those who are wondering what it is, here is a brief intro. Yarl IT Hub is a community that works with the vision of making Jaffna the next Silicon Valley. This meetup hosted a series of sessions and the launch of the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 Juniors – a hackathon aimed at school students.
Cutar’s discussion session with teachers
Cutar aims to increase the number of female participation in the tech community. As such, they had a discussion with the teachers from different educational zones in the Northern Province. This discussion was to explore why girls don’t choose tech related subjects at school, and why there are few female participants at hackathons.
While exploring the reasons, they also tried to understand what could be done to empower and encourage women to explore opportunities in technology or become entrepreneurs. Mathuranthaga Selvarathnam – lecturer at the University of Jaffna, Kilinochi Campus, highlighted the importance of having female participation in the technology industry and Aranya Thanabalasingam – an entrepreneur in Jaffna shared her startup journey.
The launch of Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 Juniors
The latter part of the day was allocated for the launch of the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 Juniors. The meetup began with Virthurshan Raveendran – a student of Uki taking the stage. He shared with everyone how to protect themselves from hackers. Afterward, we saw Samantha Tharani Jeyakumar – a member of the Yarl IT Hub take the stage.
She shared how one could make a basic mobile app and participate in the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 Juniors. The final session that followed was about bitcoin. This was conducted by Archchitha Kanagarajah – a 3rd-year student at the University of Jaffna. She introduced what blockchain is and how it’s affecting the world.
With the final session, it was time for the big moment: the launch of the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 Juniors. Abarnah Kirupananda – a member of the Yarl IT Hub took over the stage for this. She announced the launch of the competition and shared that it will be conducted in partnership with the Education Department of the Northern Province.
And then she introduced the format of the competition.
The Yarl Geek Challenge Juniors is a hackathon aimed at school students. The goal of this competition is to foster desire and skills to explore technology in the youth. A team of three students can participate in the hackathon in one of three categories: hardware, mobile apps, and web apps.
The deadline for applications for the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 07 is the 19th of May 2018. Until then, the Yarl IT Hub will be conducting seminars in all 12 zones in the Northern Province. These seminars are aimed at introducing the hackathons to students across the province. After the deadline, the Yarl IT Hub will be conducting technical sessions explaining different technologies and concepts.
The initial rounds of the competition will take place on the 2nd and 3rd of June 2018. These are the zonal level competitions where teams will demonstrate their apps. The winning teams from all 12 zones will move onto the next stage. This second stage is the hackathon, which will take place on the 16th and 17th of June 2018.
At this hackathon, the teams will work on refining their apps with their mentors. At the end of the hackathon, the overall winner will be selected alongside winners in the three categories. Additionally, the best teams from each zone will also be recognized.
For more details about the Yarl Geek Challenge Season 7 click here. If there’s someone you feel should be a part of this hackathon, click here to find the application form. If you want to check out the ideas from last year’s Yarl Geek Challenge Juniors, click here.