HackDay to Gather Top IT Creatives for Innovation Competition

ASTANA – On May 10-11, Almaty will host hundreds of top IT professionals and creatives from around the region for a 24-hour completion of creativity and innovation known as the 3rd International HackDay at International IT University.

In Kazakhstan, Hackday was first held in April 2011 at International IT University, which is the main organizer of the event. More than 500 people attended the first Hackday in 2011 with that number nearly doubling to 900 in 2012. This year’s competition is expected to draw more than one thousand participants from all regions of Kazakhstan and abroad: young developers, emerging directors and professional media producers.

Over 24 hours, participants will create IT projects, applications, services, commercials and movies in what has become known as an effective platform for discovering new talent. Participants generate ideas and implement them as team projects in a matter of days.

“Hackday is a creative laboratory for participants with an appetite for victory. We channel that creative impulse. We anticipate a creative boom and to attract a large number of professionals,” said International IT University Public Relations and Marketing Director Mayrash Taykenova.

Many of the projects produced during last year’s competition were very interesting. For example, the winner of Hackday 2012 in the IT section was the team that produced a project called “Interactive Video – Application for Windows.” They came up with an application for the deaf, which, with the help of the Kinect, scans their body movements and gestures and translates those into words. They showed that it is possible to use the Kinect not only for entertainment and games, but also for more productive purposes.

“Five out of twelve projects that we have displayed at the innovative projects exhibition in Astana received serious interest and funding from investors. We hope this year we will have more investors to realize other useful projects,” continued Taykenova.

Hackday’s motto is “24 hours without sleep” because contestants often work through the night. Organizers help keep them going by supplying plenty of food and coffee.

As was done in 2011 and 2012, Hackday 2013 will include three sections. The first is “From the Idea to the Prototype.” This is a large section with more than 70 projects, which have been developed in the past. The second section, “Content and Media Development” is for those who want to open a website or to think up any new service. The third section, “Cinema and Video,” is where participants demonstrate their directorial skills as teams produce innovative video products. This year, teams will start to produce their videos from scratch without premises prepared in advance. Last year more than 50 videos on a variety of topics were created.

Guests of the event will be well-known bloggers from America, Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as the famous Internet-development team “Courage Bombay.”

The Yahoo Company developed the Hackday format in 2005 to stimulate creative ideas among its employees. The first public Hackday was organized in St. Petersburg by Yury Lifshits from Yahoo in September 2009. Today, the leading organizer of the Hackday format is a web development studio of Michael Kechinov.