We have crafted the HackLab curriculum by taking the cumulative knowledge of a gang of uber-geeks, hackers, game developers, programmers and artists and then reverse engineering their wisdom into practical, well-structured learning experiences. Founded upon the principles of progression by ability rather than age, openness and transparency of information and most of all; the practical application of learning to become skilled across multiple disciplines in the digital sphere.
Students are introduced to multiple avenues of learning in the technology industry by helping them improve the skills to suit their interests and ability; then providing the tools, support and context for students to make something awesome.
Our curriculum is designed with the style and structure of a Role Playing Game; allowing students to undertake new and exciting challenges at camps, online and in our clubs, all designed to increase their level of skill in industry relevant disciplines. Earn experience, gain a level…take on more difficult and open-ended challenges to progress even further in your career as a hacker!
The HackLab Disciplines
What is it? Programs are what digital technology runs on, and different devices and platforms use different languages. Just as someone who speaks many languages can communicate well in many countries, someone who knows lots of programming languages can communicate with and control lots of different systems.
Why is it important? Programming is becoming more of a required skill every day. As new technology is created and old technologies are remade, new languages emerge and more people are required to keep the world up and running. There are many different languages, all with specific purposes. The more languages you know, the more employable you are and the more cool things you can do.
Where will it lead? Learning to become an ace programmer in multiple languages will allow you versatility of solutions when working in the digital plane.
What is it? Digital Art is using digital technologies in the creative process, from adding a simple filter effect to a photograph in Photoshop, to designing a logo vector in Illustrator, to creating products with industrial manufacturing applications (like using 3D printers!) With the myriad of software packages available to the budding Digital Artist, it can sometimes be overwhelming when deciding what tool is best for what job without someone to give you the benefit of their experience.
Why is it important? Digital Art is important because it brings together art, technology, maths and science. The discipline does not focus on just one thing, but many technical skills combining to achieve aesthetic excellence. The overlap of these subjects, together with artistic skills, results in something new and exciting being created.
Where can it lead? Digital Art can enable you to realise your vision. Most large manufacturing and construction projects require Digital Artists, on both modelling and design projects. Architecture and technical drafting work is now almost exclusively done using software and computers, and even great artists are getting into the digital spirit to create modern masterpieces from combinations of traditional techniques and digital design. With the power of technology behind you, your imagination can be made real.
What is it? All those video games you play were made by huge teams of techies working for months, even years at a time, to produce something entertaining and awesome for your console or PC. Using a wide array of skills from digital modelling, to coding, to marketing and even artwork, Games Development is for those people who want to make truly immersive art for mass consumption. Video games have been considered the highest form of human expression as they involve every artform currently produced by humans – music, cinema, images, sculptures, storytelling and of course, gaming.
Why is it important? With the predicted revenue of the video game industry to be around $90 billion US this year, it’s a blossoming and legitimate industry filled with passionate, exciting people who love to have fun and to share their joy with others. Do what you love, and make bank at the same time!
Where can it lead? From CliffyB, who designed and created the Gears of War franchise to Notch Persson, the creator of Minecraft, games developers are becoming considered amongst some of the foremost entertainment generators in the world today. When you consider that Minecraft, a game produced in a garage on a shoestring budget, was purchased by Microsoft for $2.5 billion in 2014, games development can lead you anywhere you want to go!
What is it? Everyone has a smartphone, ipod or tablet these days, right? Where do you think all those apps, games and programs come from? Teams of developers work to create useful tools to augment our everyday lives by utilising the technology sitting in your hip pocket.
Why is it important? Once upon a time people would walk around carrying knives, tools and other useful equipment for everyday life. These days, we carry our mobile technology everywhere instead as it is the most versatile and useful way to communicate and move through the digital age. By learning to develop software for mobile technology, you can become a modern day shaman or binary gunslinger; someone who can move through the digital landscape with ease using the tools you create for yourself!
Where can it lead? Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Summly. All of these apps were created by people who had a great idea that would allow others to communicate quicker and easier with the people around them. All of them sold for multiple millions (sometimes billions!) of dollars. What’s your billion dollar idea?
What is it? In the digital age, we have at our fingertips the collected knowledge of humanity. All of this knowledge is archived and stored on the greatest collaborative work in human history: the Internet. Where once upon a time, people asked themselves ‘Why should I learn to write? I can ask a scribe/priest/monk/shaman to do that for me!’ These days, such illiteracy would be considered unbelievable, yet many more people ask web developers and coders to read and write the new documents of the day, in the new archival language of the gatekeepers of knowledge. Don’t get left behind!
Why is It Important? Learning to develop content and infrastructure for the internet will allow you to get your message out into the world far further than just using ‘old’ media. Every corporation, company, movement and entity existing today needs some presence on the web – they all need someone who can create that presence in the way they desire. Enter the web developers!
Where Can it Lead? Web development is one of the fastest moving and growing tech-industries today. More and more companies are going ‘in-house’ for their web development, and with the skyrocketing costs of maintaining a digital presence it isn’t hard to see why. Web development is a skill that will make you eminently employable in almost any industry on earth.
What is it? At the cutting edge of where the steel meets the silicon, sits Robotics. Creating complex machines driven by code, roboticists play with what is possible in real-world technology in the hopes of creating new tools which can help humanity accomplish far greater tasks than they can alone. Whether a situation is too hazardous, hot, high or harmful to humans…robots can get the job done. We also use robots to augment a human’s physicality to make them better, stronger, faster. What will you create to help humanity?
Why is It Important? Robots are changing or lives every day – from the amazing prostheses we are seeing in medical research, to the robots that work in factories building heavy equipment, to the autonomous vehicles we are beginning to see pop up everywhere, to the robots currently exploring other planets, there are more robots in your life that you may realise. In fact, the robotics industry is predicted to be worth $100 billion dollars within 5 years!
Where Can it Lead? Robotics combines a whole range of skills, from coding to engineering. However, to build a career in robotics, you don’t have to be a mechatronic engineer or a hardcore programmer – there are technicians, sales engineers, even operators! Knowing something about robotics and how machines are coded to work autonomously and interact with their environment to solve problems is a useful and forward-thinking skill.
What is it? Wearing ‘smart’ clothes doesn’t just mean looking good anymore; E-Fashion is the trend of the future. With all the embeddable, wearable, digital technology around us all the time, the next logical step is to include it in our everyday clothing and apparel. From sewable circuits to light-up shoes, to smart-watches, fitness-trackers and even surgically embeddable augmentations, E-Fashion is about looking sharp while being ‘smart’.
Why is It Important? Wearable tech is all about the seamless integration of technology into our daily lives to help us do, achieve and connect more: we are able to monitor our bodies’ signals to help us know when something is out of balance or requires treatment or attention. We are able to connect with people at any time, anywhere, without having to carry bulky smartphones or other technologies. We can use simple electronics to improve the looks and interactivity of our regular garments, or to make a statement. Wearable technology is all about making science-fiction become science-fact!
Where Can it Lead? Many of today’s top fashion designers from Gucci to Ralph Lauren are all looking into adding technology to their designs in the eternal search for something new. Not all E-Fashion or wearable tech is strictly for the catwalk though, darling. From medical alert bracelets which can tell the wearer when they are about to have a heart attack, to fitbit fitness trackers, technology is getting smaller and more portable every day. Very soon, most industries will be looking to incorporate computers into their products – requiring clever designers and engineers to come up with the newest advances in making technology chic, sleek and stylish.
Gadgetry and Gizmology
What is it? Electricity powers all of the technology in the world, and those who understand the principles of making and prototyping are the next generation of inventors, tinkerers and innovators. Gadgetry and Gizmology is the study of making machines and circuits which ‘do’ things. Whether you’re making a controller for your new video game, or using an add-on board to display things with an LED array, you’re tinkering with electricity and machinery and trying to merge the two together to solve a problem or create something interesting.
Why is It Important? The core knowledge for inventing and tinkering is contained within the study of Gadgetry and Gizmology. While coding and software is excellent for controlling virtual worlds, trying to have your code interact with the physical world in a meaningful way is a bit more tricky. Knowing the core skills involved in working with tools, electronics, circuitry and machines is very important for those interested in making inventions which could change the world.
Where Can it Lead? Have you ever heard of Steve Wozniak? How about Steve Jobs? Well, the very first products produced by Apple in the 70’s were created and built by these legendary Gizmologists in their garage! From their original ‘blue box’ phone phreaking tool to the Apple Macintosh, to the latest iPhone… knowing about Gadgets and Gizmos could take you all the way to the very top of the technology industry, just like the Steves!