Hack Pack crack the code at Leeds event

Organiser Dom Hodgson presents prizes.
Organiser Dom Hodgson presents prizes.

A website ranking tool, pasty munching arcade game and crisp packet quiz were among the creative ideas developed at the North of England’s biggest hack day, held in Leeds.

The fifth annual Leeds Hack saw around 100 coders, professionals and amateur enthusiasts, gather at Leeds City Museum for 24 hours of digital adventures.

The not-for-profit event was sponsored by Sky and follows hot on the heels of the news of Sky’s new world-class technology hub at Leeds Dock, opening later this year, that will create up to 400 tech jobs.

Willie Lok, Recruitment Partner for event sponsors Sky, said: “With Sky expanding its technology function in Leeds and creating 400 new tech jobs which include developers, it made total sense to me to come down and get into the mindset of a developer. Now I understand more about what they do and what makes them tick.”

Working in teams or alone, the digital enthusiasts gathered at the museum to share skills, using different technologies to come up with inventive new apps, games and sites.

Delighted organiser Dom Hodgson said: “The event is all about having the opportunity to try technology and learn from those around you.

“Whereas some hack days are extremely competitive, we’re all about collaboration. Every person in the room had a different skill set and we had a hashtag, chatroom and intranet for people to ask for help. So everyone pitches in and helps each other; if you don’t know the answer, you can bet there’s someone in the room who will.

“Considering we can’t accommodate the under 18s overnight, we had a great response from younger people. There were two brothers who had never coded at all before and created their first website at the hack day; that’s very special for me to see. The young coders thrive off events like these, I have parents asking me every year when the next one is as the kids just can’t wait another year. That’s why funding is so important, to give the younger generation as many chances as possible to get their hands on different technologies and see what they are capable of with it.”

Teenage coder Giles Turnbull loved the experience. The 13-year-old pupil of Silcoats School, Wakefield, says: “I’ve been coding for about two years, I tinker a lot at home and have helped at school making their systems more secure.

“I love coming to the hack as it’s great to be around people who have the same interests as me. It’s useful to learn from other people who have more experience or different skills so that I can work my way up to their level.

“I’d like to have a career in coding in the future, so being with people who work with this technology already is really helpful.”

At the end of the 24 hour event, prizes were awarded for Most Entertaining Hack, Making on Demand TV Social and Most Over-Engineered Hack.

The winners included a point and click adventure game, a Top Trumps for websites, an ‘impossible’ quiz and a YouTube doodler which allows the user to annotate videos at timestamps.