That’s a Wrap: The #TappSquad at Polihack 2021

5 min read
Article by Tapptitude

December might be the busiest month of the year, for all of us. There’s shopping to be done, gifts to be wrapped, Christmas trees to be decorated, and vacations to be taken. There are, however, also hackathons to attend. 

The #TappSquad kicked off the month with a bang, by participating in the 12th edition of Polihack, a coding hackathon organized by the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. The event took place during the first weekend of December, and this year, we may have had a hand in making it the best edition ever. We like to think we succeeded in this mission, but don’t just take our word for it. Let’s go over everything that happened at Polihack 2021, and why we think it was a terrific event! 

First of all, what is Polihack and what was this edition about?

Let’s talk about Polihack for a minute. Organized by students at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca (OSUT), Polihack is an annual programming competition that brings together high school and college students who are passionate about web and mobile app development, as well as embedded technologies. 

This year, Polihack attracted more than 100 participants working in 26 teams, who came up with innovative ideas and products and pitched them in front of a judge panel. They had just 5 minutes to present and answer questions! Honestly, there were moments when we were more nervous than the teams.

Tapptitude at Polihack 2021
Tapptitude at Polihack 2021

Participants worked with 15 experienced mentors from some of the top IT companies in Cluj-Napoca, and also learned new things during two special training sessions. 

Brightening the future through green solutions

This year’s theme was revealed at the start of the event: Brightening the future through green solutions. You could tell from that moment onwards that wheels started to turn in order to come up with the best idea to win the hackathon. Working in teams, participants had 48 hours at their disposal to create a working minimum viable product (MVP) for their innovative idea. They also got valuable feedback, support, and insight from their mentors, ranging from defining the business, to getting the code off the ground. On the last day, the teams got to show off their work through a technical demo.  

Tapptitude at Polihack 2021
Tapptitude at Polihack 2021

Then came the most intense part of the competition: pitching the product idea to the judging panel, which included Tapptitude’s Gabriel Dombri, Victor Dinică of Inventiff, Adrian Boțan of Salt & Pepper, and Darius Bogdan of Linnify. With 3 minutes to present and 2 minutes to answer judge questions, the teams definitely felt the pressure to leave an impression. The teams with the best products got a chance to move on to the next phase of Polihack, namely a two-week, bootcamp-style mentoring program that will take place next year. 

So, what did Tapptitude do at Polihack 2021?

We’re not here to toot our own horn, but we think we did a pretty good job at Polihack 2021. We’re proud to say that this year, Tapptitude was a Platinum Partner at Polihack, and we were fully committed to making this edition one of the best ever. 

Tapptitude at Polihack 2021
Tapptitude at Polihack 2021

But what exactly did our team do at Polihack this year? For starters, Tapptitude CEO & Product Strategist Gabriel Dombri was selected to be on the judging panel, and that was a great honor. Moreover, eight members of the #TappSquad served as mentors to the teams participating in the hackathon, offering support and insight on product definition, design, fullstack, Android app development, and iOS development, among others. Let’s give a quick shoutout to the 8 mentors who shared their time and knowledge at Polihack: Tudor, Rareș, our Product Consultant, Erika, Ioana, Alexandru, Catalin, Ariadna and Rareș, our Full Stack Developer!  

I didn’t get to participate in a hackathon when I was a student, so being a mentor was a first for me and a worthwhile experience. I really appreciated all the participants for their focus, for wanting to find that perfect idea to win the hackathon, for keeping up their spirits under the time pressure, even when they struggled to figure out a piece of code or a bug. I look forward to what they’ll achieve in the future.

Alex Hadar Android Developer

But wait, there’s more…

Besides offering support and insight to participants during the actual competition, Tapptitude also hosted one of the two training sessions that took place during the event. Our Product Consultants Rareș and Tudor walked the participants through the Lean Canvas Model, where they provided key insight into what makes a startup successful. The other training session revolved around pitching product ideas, and was hosted by Salt & Pepper. 

Last but not least, our team had the pleasure to give out a special award during Polihack 2021. We awarded a Special Prize for Best Mobile Experience, valued at €400, to a personal assistant-style mobile app that encourages environmentally-conscious behaviors. We also gave out two Traction Model Workshops. All in all, we had a lot of fun, and we hope all the participants did, as well. 

Tapptitude at Polihack 2021
Tapptitude at Polihack 2021

Parting thoughts after Polihack 2021

Polihack 2021 was an intense, yet fun-filled event where participants, mentors, and judges got to share their love for digital products that make a difference in people’s lives. The theme of the event was especially poignant, as we all feel the realities of climate change in our daily lives. 

And the results of the hackathon were awesome: participants came up with projects on sustainable habits and behaviors, and on managing carbon footprints at a household or business level, to name just a few. Other ideas tackled issues such as sustainable agriculture, sustainable water consumption, waste management, energy, and mobility. 

Polihack was an ideas incubator where many passionate Computer Science students and high-schoolers came up with inspiring and creative ideas for a more sustainable future. What I enjoyed the most was the creative atmosphere, where all the participants worked with dedication, patience and perseverance to bring their ideas to life. I hope all participants had fun during this experience and inspired each other to continue developing their sustainability apps.

Ioana Coste Fullstack Developer

In the end, the event made us hopeful and excited to see what the next generation of developers will bring to the table. So far, the future looks promising.