July 18, 2019 | 85° F

The Daily Targum previews documentary: ‘Software is Eating Rutgers’

Photo by Tyler Gold & Marielle Sumergido |

Stills taken as a preview of the Targum’s upcoming documentary ‘Software is eating Rutgers’.

After chronicling the birth of the Rutgers tech scene and speaking to more than a dozen students and faculty involved, I asked myself a basic question: what are the fruits of their labor?

I created a short documentary that takes a look at three projects - all created and organized by University students -  that illustrate the impact of this tech renaissance on not only Rutgers but the state of New Jersey as a whole. 


An app for anyone

The Rutgers University Mobile App Development club, RuMAD, has been working with faculty to create an app for the 250th anniversary of Rutgers. I sat in on one of their meetings to get an idea of what happens behind the scenes and learn about the scope of the massive project. 

According to faculty members involved in the program, the ability to use student developers is a major benefit to the University. Students provide a unique and highly relevant perspective that cannot be matched by private consulting firms. It turns out that they’re also a lot cheaper.

Members of RuMAD have been contracted to develop apps for the Daily Targum, Rutgers Day, Rutgers Gardens, the Rutgers Graduate Student Association, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, and other local businesses.


Hacking on a larger scale

HackRU is the Rutgers’ biannual hackathon, a 24-hour programming marathon. For the first time ever, it’s being held in the Rutgers Athletic Center, the same place where the basketball team plays. 

After eavesdropping on their final planning meeting, I interviewed a few of the HackRU organizers. Their passion was literally tangible, and I could tell that they don’t do this for the credit or power - they do this because they love it. 

HackRU has emerged as the cornerstone of the computer science community, upon which everything else is built. It’s both a rite of passage for University newcomers and the premier platform for experts.


A giant among men

Finally, I had the pleasure of speaking with Mike Swift, a Rutgers alumnus who recently sold his company Hacker League, which he founded as a junior with two fellow students, to Intel-owned Mashery. Hacker League provided a platform that powered hundreds of the nation’s largest hackathons.

Swift has helped organize every single HackRU and spoken at every RU Tech Meetup. In my eyes, he’s the glue of Rutgers tech community. 

Swift is a coder-turned-evangelist currently spreading the gospel of hacking to aspiring developers across the world through his new startup, Major League Hacking. MLH is the official collegiate hackathon league of which, Swift is the commissioner.


The documentary will premiere at the University hackathon

HackRU at the Louis-Brown Athletic Center on Sunday April 13.

Tyler Gold

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