As a hacker, you will be part of a team working to build a solution to one of our challenges. The team is going to be counting on you to be engaged and available so that everyone can be productive. Especially at this time, we understand that real life circumstances may come up, but we hope that you will communicate with your team and do your best to contribute to the overall effort. You can access the official rules for hackathon here

  • Bring your creativity, passion, insights and experience
  • Maintain a collaborative outlook and be a productive team member.
  • Recognize that all final solutions pitched must be stored on GitHub and will be open source under an MIT license.
Wait, what is a hackathon?

A hackathon is an event of any duration where people come together to solve problems. In this case, students and professionals are coming together to build a mobile app for the Metropolitan Transport Authority of New York where the metro riders can see the train schedules and capacity available.

Is there any cost to participating in the virtual hackathon?

No. Our sponsor organizations have donated both resources and labor to make this event possible. We feel our hackers, mentors, and judges are likewise contributing their time, knowledge, and skills to build solutions that will help the metro riders on the NYC.

How do I participate?

Complete the registration and join in the learning activities that you will receive in your registration confirmation email.

Why can I not maintain control of the solution I build for the hackathon?

We are asking that solutions be open source under the MIT license so that we can rapidly get the solution built for our Metro North Railroad (MNR) ridership and those who need it most during this COVID-19 pandemic. This solution will enable riders to better understand capacity on the rail cars so that they can make informed decisions around which train to ride and when. Additionally, you will likely be working on a team with people you’ve never met before; we strongly suggest all information be open source. For all of these reasons, we appreciate everyone coming together for the good of public health and safety to create the best open source solution for MTA MNR.

If I know others attending, can we work together?

Yes, when team formation begins, you’ll be able to join a team with specific people. You’ll likely still need to augment your team with other people with diverse skills and we’ll help you do that.

Do I have to stay at the hackathon the entire week / until it officially ends?

Of course we would like you to participate in the the hackathon the entire time, but we understand that circumstances may require you to only participate at certain points throughout the weekend. That is ok. Just make sure your team is aware of your schedule because they are depending on you! Your team will likely struggle if you are not clear on your availability and commitment.

How are teams assembled?

Teams will be selected based on attendee profiles and teams will have a balance of Data scientists, engineers, developers, etc. Teams will be formed in advance as much as possible. Teams will work together using Microsoft Teams and have specific breakout rooms.

Will there be any training?

Basic training will be provided to you on Azure & tools that integrate, which can be found under the resources page on this website.

We will continue to update the training links, videos and other instructional content on the resources page.

What if I still have more questions?

Please write to MTAHackathon@spektrasystems.com for any further queries

Is it possible that the hackathon outcomes could lead to angel funding or a job?

The intent of this event isn’t to identify angel funding or provide job leads, but you are collaborating with others so the new relationships you form could help you in many ways.

What are the expectations of attendees?

Attendees are expected to actively participate on all the days of the Virtual Hackathon, bring their ideas and passion to the table, maintain a collaborative approach to problem solving, and be prepared to solve the challenges.

What do the winners receive?


  • MTA Card
  • Post on MTA social media with pictures
  • Microsoft & MTA swag
Do I need to use Microsoft technologies and tools to solve these challenges?

We are utilizing Microsoft Teams to host the event kickoff and as a collaboration tool so you can participate in checkpoints, stay aware of announcements, and stay in touch with mentors. Having said that, if you are comfortable with other options that can solve the challenges, then you are free to pursue those. The technical mentors for this event have a wide array of skills, but because of their employment, they predominantly work on Microsoft technologies.

How do I download Microsoft Teams?

You can download Microsoft Teams from here: https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads. It is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

What if I have technical issues downloading Microsoft Teams?

There are a variety of support options: https://support.office.com/en-us/teams

Is there a hackathon code of conduct?

Yes, our Privacy page also houses our Code of Conduct.

What courses are offered in Virtual Learning Lounge?

Sessions include Intro to Azure, Getting Started with Azure Databricks, Building a Modern Application with MemSQL, Fundamentals of Deep Learning with Wintellect, Azure Kubernetes, AI/ML (AML), App Dev, DevOps, Web App, GitHub Enterprise