HackFest Nepal

6 Janaury 2021, Kathmandu

In conversation with the lead organizer of Ku Hackfest 2021

For the first time in Nepal, Kathmandu University Computer Club (KUCC) is organizing a 48-hour long Hackfest approved by MLH (Major League Hacking), starting from February 19 to February 21 which allows more than 300 students, National and International, to compete with each other in a virtual environment. This thrilling event provides an astounding opportunity and a grand platform for tech enthusiasts to quench their thirst for challenge and knowledge. To understand more about it we requested an interview with the Lead Organizer, Sagar Uprety, and here’s what it’s all about.

How are you preparing for this upcoming Hackfest?

Every year KUCC used to organize IT meets with many different events, hackathon was one of the events among them. But this year being physically present for events is proven to be difficult because of the pandemic. So, around October, we decided to separate the hackathon, scale it up to the international competition and rebrand it the first-ever digital, MLH approved, Ku Hackfest. Everything from financial planning to selecting the dates as February 19-21 was accomplished. After getting approved by MLH in December, the registrations have been opened from December 28th to February 3rd.

How do you select the participants?

You can register for the Hackfest using Devfolio. Your application, your GitHub profile, and your resume will be reviewed and around 300 students are selected from the pool to participate. In order to participate, you must be 16+ and must be affiliated with an educational institution. Freshly graduated students can also apply within 12 months of their graduation.

What actually happens during this Hackfest?

Ku Hackfest 2021 is a virtual platform where a large number of students gather around in teams with creating a product that can be beneficial to society as their end goal. The product can be in any of the fields specified on the official website of the Ku Hackfest. It could be a simple web or mobile application or could be products specializing in data science, IoT, and/or AR/VR. The judging criteria for the Hackfest is a bit distinctive, rather than a polished product, this event focus on products that could be beneficial to society. So, instead of being dejected about not being able to compete with tech experts, you can look at this as a chance to make your own unique ideas shine. Apart from the main challenge, there are sponsor challenges to look out for. Every sponsor gives some specific criteria to meet for their own challenges, if not for the hackathon itself, you can still win the sponsor challenge. As for prizes, there are cash prizes, goodies, swags, certificates, API gifts, and a lot more. The exact prizes will be disclosed on January 10 and it is something to look forward to.

What would you say is the desired outcome of this Hackfest?

The objective of this Hackfest is not just to compete and win. Considering that this is a platform where both national and international students get together to collaborate and clash their innovative ideas, this can only be seen as an opportunity for each and every student present to express themselves and learn from others. Apart from the Hackfest itself, there are workshops and speaking panels from Nepal’s leading figure from the tech industry. Overall, this Hackathon can be quite beneficial for the participants who can take proper advantage of the resources provided to them.

Any messages you’d like to share with the participants?

As an encouragement for the participants, the lead organizer, Sagar Uprety says, “As this is the first digital MLH hackathon, we encourage everyone to participate. Don’t be discouraged thinking that you are not good enough or your CV is not good enough, we prioritize enthusiasm more than anything. So, come along and participate as this could be your cornerstone as you step into the tech industry. We are also very excited to help you and make this competition worthwhile”.

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Mina Aryal is a Nepali tech journalist and media expert. She is currently the chief editor of ICT Frame, a leading online tech media outlet in Nepal that covers topics such as technology, business, and entrepreneurship. Aryal has been involved in the field of tech journalism for over a decade and has covered various topics such as internet governance, cybersecurity, e-commerce, and startup ecosystems. She has also been involved in organizing and promoting tech events in Nepal to bring together tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and investors to discuss and collaborate on various topics related to the tech industry. Aryal is considered one of the most influential tech journalists in Nepal and has been recognized for her contributions to the field.


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