Hackers Gonna Hack: Meet Jessica Zehavi

A series where we feature past and present Hack the Gap hackers and supporters and share their experiences—what they want others to know about the event, and what they’re doing now.

HTG 2019 Quote Graphic_Twitterv3 Jessica.jpg

What is your current job title?

I am a Senior Software Engineer at Clockwork.

How many Hack the Gaps have you attended?

2016 as an attendee, 2017 and 2018 as a mentor. Planning on mentoring for 2019 as well!

What were your expectations going into your first Hack the Gap?

My expectations were pretty open. I had participated in other hackathons before (the Overnight Website Challenge) with a team that I was familiar with, though, so I had no idea what the skill level of other participants would be. I hoped that I would meet some awesome women and non-binary folks, and have fun trying to pull off a project together.

What were your biggest takeaways from Hack the Gap weekend?

I was floored at what the winning team accomplished—it made me feel like anything was possible, honestly. On my team, I found leadership qualities in myself that rose up to fill in gaps and help empower others to fill in as well. Finally, the phrase "perfection is the enemy of progress" is something I try to keep in mind normally but it's absolutely critical for a hackathon weekend because you're building a proof of concept, essentially, and having something to demonstrate is more important than it being absolutely perfect. Prioritize, narrow your scope, focus on what needs to get done.

If you had to explain Hack the Gap to someone who has never heard of the event, how would you describe it?

It's a weekend competition where women and non-binary folks come together to create a proof of concept project from idea pitch to demo, make connections, feel empowered, and ultimately leave energized and more confident than before!

What was your favorite thing about Hack the Gap?

I have seen people of all skill levels be successful at Hack the Gap! It's not just about design or software development—teams need project managers, strategy and business thinking, and quality assurance. Everyone has the ability to stretch themselves into areas they haven't necessarily worked before and add value to a team. Hack the Gap is a great way to push yourself, make some collaboration magic, and create something awesome!