Florida’s largest hackathon is back this week: 5 things to know about ShellHacks

By Krysten Brenlla

ShellHacks, Florida’s largest hackathon, has brought together thousands of hackers from across the globe to compete, learn the latest technologies, build innovative projects, and witness Miami’s booming tech ecosystem. Since 2017, Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), Florida International University’s only student-run technology organization, has run ShellHacks, and for the past several years, ShellHacks has only seen a virtual screen.

Now, with FIU fully back on campus, the ShellHacks team is bringing the hackathon back to a hybrid in-person and virtual setting, with several big-name recruiters like Google, Meta, and Microsoft in attendance. The team is also expecting thousands of hackers, both in-person and across the globe, all with refreshed projects and excitement.

Refresh Miami sat down with UPE alumni advisor Cesar Villa-Garcia, Product Manager at Microsoft Azure IoT, to learn more about this year’s ShellHacks and what you need to know to prepare:

1. ShellHacks will take place on September 9 – 11th and will be accessible both in-person at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus and virtually.

Participants will have access to ShellHacks in both an in-person and virtual setting this year. The in-person event will be held at FIU Biscayne Bay Campus’ Kovens Center, “a great venue for students to get the Miami feel, participate in outdoor activities, talk to sponsors, and hack,” explained Villa-Garcia.

ShellHacks’ advisors have seen participants from across the globe, like Europe, Canada and India, in the virtual hackathons throughout the years, which really drove their decision to bring the hackathon to a hybrid model for the first time.

“This year is the first time that ShellHacks is a hybrid hackathon, and one thing we learned from doing it virtually is that we do have a lot of students that can’t attend, but want to be part of the event, and we want to make sure we provide them that opportunity,” said Villa-Garcia. “With the virtual component, we’re opening it up to anyone from around the world who can participate and meet sponsors virtually.”

2. You don’t need to be an FIU student, expert, or hacker to participate.

ShellHacks is extremely beginner friendly – you don’t even need to know how to hack, let alone be an expert to participate. The hackathon is open to any and all students who want to participate, with the in-person event targeting students from FIU and Miami Dade College who can travel to the Biscayne Bay campus, and the virtual event targeting students from across the globe who are interested in learning more about hacking and #MiamiTech.

3. ShellHacks isn’t just about hacking.

In addition to hacking, participants can also expect different workshops in tech, web development, machine learning, and cybersecurity, on Friday, Sept. 9th, and Saturday, Sept. 10th, hosted by ShellHacks’ partners and sponsors. “Anybody who wants to get into tech and explore the field can attend the different workshops, work on projects, and find their true passion in tech at ShellHacks,” continued Villa-Garcia.

4. Have your resume’s ready to meet tech recruiters from across the nation.

This year, ShellHacks is hosting a career fair with close to 50 sponsors, such as eMerge Americas, Microsoft, Xbox, Kaseya, Google, Meta, and their title sponsor, local consulting firm Lab22c. Recruiters from across the nation will be on-site to meet, interview, and provide internship and job opportunities for students interested in any and all tech-related industries.

5. There’s more to UPE than just ShellHacks.

With thousands of members, FIU’s UPE aims to support students looking for a tech-related career while providing a community of like-minded friends.

Throughout the year, UPE runs several workshops, career fairs, meet-ups, and events to help students break into tech and prepare for jobs post-graduation, with many graduating with jobs lined up in companies like Intel, NASA, Meta, Google, Microsoft, and more.

Villa-Garcia’s top advice for ShellHacks participants is to keep up with all of the updates and announcements on UPE’s Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.

And, for students who are interested, Villa-Garcia recommends to stop by and check out the events ShellHacks is hosting throughout the weekend so that students can “walk away with all of these great experiences.”

For the full ShellHacks schedule, make sure to visit their website at https://shellhacks.net/.

For more information on FIU’s UPE, make sure to visit their website at https://upe.cs.fiu.edu/.

Krysten Brenlla