A Public Safety Codeathon Beginner’s Survival Guide

Six tips to know if your first codeathon is the Tech to Protect Challenge.

A codeathon is an event focused on bringing together a diverse group of people to solve real-world challenges using data, technology and creativity. If you’re new to the coding world or haven’t attended a codeathon, this may seem a little foreign. In reality, codeathons like the Tech to Protect Challenge are an opportunity for you to team up with others whose skills complement yours and impact your community in a BIG way. Entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, students, researchers, scientists and emergency responders are all welcome to join our mission of advancing public safety communications technologies.

If you are new to codeathons, we wanted to share these six tips to help you prepare for the Tech to Protect Challenge this fall.

Come as you are!

Don’t let the name fool you. Codeathons aren’t only for coders. Multi-disciplinary teams at these events include designers, storytellers, business development professionals, artists, topical experts, and anyone willing to team up with others and create for a cause.  The Tech to Protect Challenge is an opportunity to participate at one of 10 in-person codeathons, or join the online contest, with no minimum skills, no minimum years of experience and no pre-existing knowledge of public safety required. That said, we do recommend you bring (or have ready) your laptop, notebook, favorite writing utensils and any other tools you normally use to do your best work!

Create something meaningful.

The Tech to Protect Challenge helps emergency responders—including EMS, firefighters and police—accomplish their mission to serve and protect our communities nationwide. Check out our contests and you’ll find 10 coding challenges focused on how we can use a variety of approaches to drive innovation in public safety communications. Get your ideas churning and see which ones excite you the most. Remember, the projects you create have the ability to improve the safety of your communities and make a big impact.

Bring friends, or make new ones.

The Tech to Protect Challenge welcome individuals and teams with diverse skills and experiences. Each of the ten contests provides an opportunity for participant experiences to be adapted and leveraged to make a meaningful contribution to the public safety mission.  Codeathons encourage collaboration, whether with friends who sign up with you for an online or in-person contest or new connections you meet along the way, can yield unbelievable results. Share our video about Tech to Protect with your community to get others on board. You never know who’ll want to contribute.

Share your strengths.

At the Tech to Protect codeathons, each participant  will arrive ready to contribute, whether helping come up with a relevant idea, building code with a language like C++ or Python, designing a practical interface, or perfecting the project presentation. There’s always a way to add to your team’s success! Check out the rules to read the judging criteria and get a better sense of what tools you can use from your toolbox to code for emergency responders and compete for  prizes in the process.

Learn while doing.

While a codeathon is a chance to share your strengths with your team and community, it’s also an opportunity to learn from the diverse skills of others. Codeathons are all about tinkering and exploring together, not just as a team but across teams. Pre-event bootcamps will precede the Tech to Protect Challenge codeathons to help get you up to speed, and the codeathons themselves will be designed to optimize your opportunities to pick up new tips and tricks along the way. Public safety professionals and emergency responders will also be on-hand to tap into as a resource for both online and in-person contests. 

Have fun.

The Tech to Protect Challenge codeathons this fall are a chance to advance the future of public safety communications. They’re also a chance to collaborate with others who share a common interest in making a lasting impact in the cities they call home and across the country. While each participant is eligible to win prizes for their work, being part of Tech to Protect isn’t only about individual prizes; it’s about building a better world alongside friends, new and old, and a community coming together to do good – something everyone can recognize as a win.

Impact public safety.

Each and every day, women and men across America dedicate their lives to keeping people and communities safe. Their daily response—from natural disasters to daily incidents—is selfless and inspiring. They require secure, reliable and innovative communication technologies to fulfill their mission, and that’s where you come in! Be part of this movement to help those helping save lives nationwide. Register for an in-person event happening this fall or submit your solution online today at www.techtoprotechchallenge.org.