Three members of AppHack at Appalachian State University students finished in third place for a bitcoin-integrated “Minecraft” game they wrote at the VTHacks competition at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia last weekend.
AppHack is an on-campus group that strives to increase tech entrepreneurship, savviness and and code literacy.
Senior computer science majors Nathan Hernandez and Jon Johnson along with junior computer science major Taylor King were three of 10 students from Appalachian State who competed in VTHacks.
Hundreds of students from various universities across the nation spent 36 hours attending workshops and creating computer programs at VTHacks. The first, second and third place winners received cash prizes ranging from $125-$500, and various sponsors gave away their own individual prizes.
Sina Tashakkori, founder of AppHack and computer science graduate student, said hack-a-thons such as VTHacks are trying to break the stereotype of hackers as malicious people who break into computer systems and social media profiles.
“There’s two different meanings of hacking now,” Tashakkori said. “Hacking traditionally was brought about as someone who is exploring a technology and approaching that technology at different angles. Somewhere that kind of became synonymous with some criminal who breaks into government databases and stuff.”
Johnson and King won third place at a previous hack-a-thon, HackNC, in October.
Tashakkori said the competition drives students to continue to grow and build new things; the goal is to learn how to code and how to work together.
AppHack is open to anyone who is willing to attend the events, regardless of their major, said Tashakkori.
“I think people get intimidated. I think they think it’s like you have to be world renown, hot-shot coder and we want, instead, to be a beginner,” Tashakkori said. “We always keep track of our first time members because that’s our success, that’s our value. Anyone can learn how to program.”
AppHack meets on the third floor of Anne Belk Hall and will be participating in BattleHack in Raleigh April 18.
Story: Molly Flinchum, Intern A&E Reporter