Activate tech conference kicks off Thursday, teams participating in hackathon

    Tech enthusiasts will converge on the Louisiana Technology Park this week for the second annual Activate Conference, a three-day event that aims to bolster interest in tech careers.

    The conference starts on Thursday, and features separate student and professional tracks, on where participants can attend sessions on game development, SQL, Java, deciphering data, bridging the gap between design and development, and more.

    This year’s conference also includes a hackathon, in which student and professional teams use the Open Data BR portal as a data source to develop applications to improve how the city-parish works.

    The hackathon, taking place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, is expected to feature at least 10 teams, says Activate co-founder Quinton Jason. One student team and one professional team will be chosen as winners. They’ll receive gift cards and recognition in post-event press releases. The top professional team will be spotlighted in a feature story.

    “One of the things that excited us most about this hackathon is that the winning application may be adopted and integrated into the city’s code base,” says Ralph Melian, president and CEO of Antares Technology Solutions. “This gives young, emerging tech talent an opportunity see their application used in real life to the benefit of their city. It’s a tremendous resume building opportunity for them as well.”

    Activate and Antares are partnering with the city-parish for the hackathon. Melian says they share a common desire to improve the local tech workforce.

    “Hosting the Activate Hackathon in Baton Rouge is the perfect way to build internal competition,” he says. “It will help to drive up our base talent level and make Baton Rouge more competitive with highly respected tech cities around the U.S.”

    General admission is free to the conference, but spots are limited. VIP admission costs $25 and includes a kickoff dinner, a t-shirt and swag bag. Get more information.

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