HU to host CODE4PA Hackathon

Does data give you goose bumps?

Is computer code your second language?

Then Harrisburg University of Science and Technology has just the challenge that will thrill you and any other computer Hacker!

To help promote transparency and efficiency in government, Harrisburg University has teamed with the Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania in support of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Office of Data and Digital Technology to host the CODE4PA Hackathon at the University’s main campus in downtown Harrisburg, and at our newly expanded Philadelphia location Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The Hackathon will take place simultaneously at both locations.

Who Can Participate?

Programmers, developers, designers, project managers and all others interested in working with data to help promote governmental transparency, while competing for cool gifts and prizes, don’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind event!

We are searching for anyone who loves to dive into data and can work with a team to develop prototypes and/or apps that present local and state government data to the public in a clear and concise manner.

The data you will work with is information found on the state’s Open Data Portal. It could include anything from recidivism rates across Pennsylvania to the number of car crashes that occur each year across the state. You can access the ever-expanding list of data sets ahead of the event by clicking Here.

Teams can consist of one person, or up to six people can partner to develop a product. Teams need not assemble before you arrive. There will be plenty of Hackers just like you looking to form a team to boost governmental transparency. And first-time Hackers also are welcome! You will be competing for a grand prize to be announced in August! Other prizes will include free reservations to Think Tank space, tickets to local events, recognition with Gov. Tom Wolf and more!

What to Expect

Friday night, you will enjoy snacks and cocktails as teams are formed and state agency leaders speak with participants about the data needs within their departments from 6-9 p.m.

Saturday, the real Hacking begins!

Technology leaders, agile methodology experts and guest lecturers will help guide teams as they set out to develop the perfect public data resources from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to keep the creative, technical fires burning throughout the day.

Sunday, Hacking events will continue, and we encourage networking with sponsors, public agency leaders and mentors who helped guide your team along the way.

Speaking of mentors.

If you’ve launched a tech startup, worked in app development, have startup legal experience, know how to position a new app or business in the marketplace, oh… and you love data, we could use your help mentoring teams. Event sponsorship opportunities also still are available. So if you are interested in guiding our teams so they are ready to submit their products by the end of the business day on Oct. 30, or if you would like to become a sponsor of the event that provides your group a great advertising opportunity, while supporting open government, let us know Here.

Product pitches and awards will take place at Harrisburg University’s main campus on Nov. 4. Each team will be given five minutes to present their idea, prototype or model to our judges during this wrap-up event.

Why two locations?

Code4PA is working with the well-established civic hacking group CodeForPhilly. Expanding the event to two locations also allows us to grow crowd-sourcing resources, and it will give more Hackers an opportunity to participate in this unique event. Not to mention, it will give us a chance to show off HU’s new, fully renovated 38,000-square-foot location in Center City Philadelphia! Use the same LINK to register for the Hackathon. Just be sure to sign up for the right location. The Harrisburg campus is located downtown at 326 Market St. HU’s Philadelphia location is at 1500 Spring Garden Street.

What Should I bring?

Please bring an ID and other items you will need throughout the weekend: Laptop, charger, phone and other basics. If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to us at


Friday, Sept. 29, 6-9 p.m. Excitement Kickoff (cocktails and snacks available)

Generate project ideas, form teams, network with sponsors and technical pros. Come with your own team, or form one here!

Saturday, Sept. 30, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Hacking Kick-Off (breakfast and lunch provided)

Let the Hacking begin. Today is the day the real Hacking starts as technology leaders, agile methodology experts and guest lecturers help your team develop your project.

Sunday, Oct. 1, 8 a.m.-Noon Hacking and Networking Continues (breakfast provided)

Continue chipping away at your project, working with mentors and networking with experts during the final day of the weekend event.

Saturday, Nov. 4, 8 a.m. -Noon Product pitches and Awards

This is the day you have worked for. Your team will have five minutes to pitch its idea, or product, to a panel of judges. Awards will be given out during the event.

Visit this Link to Register.

We also would love to hear from anyone interested in volunteering to help make the Code4PA Hackathon a success. We could use talents and skills in all types of ways!

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private non-profit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields to a diverse student body. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email,