My First Hackathon
Mr. Ifedolapo Oladapo is half-Finnish and half-Nigerian. He has a professor’s bearing, maybe it’s because both his parents are academics. He is also the CEO of Grit Systems. A startup that seeks to enable the average Nigerian Consumer optimize their energy consumption. Among-st other things, they make what I call smart meters.
According to Mr.Oladapo, the idea was born out of a desire to measure their own energy consumption.They soon realized that their product was something needed by Nigerian Consumers. And consequently placed their product on the market.
10 Lessons I learned from the Girls with Grit Hackathon
See what they did there, Girls with GRIT.
- The best design decisions may not come from developers — the Harvard Business Review postulates that diverse teams are smarter. One of my team members is also a script writer and she said she is a creative. She was not kidding, her ideas seemed a bit outlandish at first, but they were helpful in the long run.
- Hackathons are, ceteris paribus, a contest of resilience — I believe every team at the Hackathon at one point sighed in frustration, looked at their laptops in desolation or paced about the room. I nearly hit my laptop myself.
- Humility is key — It does not matter how good you think you are, when you are in a team, stay humble and listen to every person’s point of view. You won’t regret this.
- Someone may find gold in your rubbish, so don’t condemn yourself before others have the chance to — Imagine if, an hour to the deadline, your application is half-ready. You may be tempted to go home and sulk. But don’t, aside from being mature, your half-baked application may not be as bad as you think.
- Every member of the team counts — This is vital for life and not just a hackathon, respecting all your team members is beneficial for not just your shared goal but also for building another person. After all, there is life after the hackathon right?
- Work with people who help you to not give up — This brings me back to number 3. It’s easier to stay motivated when you are sharing a problem with stronger people. They will pull you up when you are ready to give up.
- Be Friendly — This is actually an informal way to say network, network, network! Smile, introduce yourself and ask questions.
- Be (Very) Confident — We were asked to give a presentation on our application to the judges at the end of the competition. Don’t always expect your work to speak for itself. Sell your self, Sell your work.
Why I loved it
I met wonderful people — beautiful ladies who also love to code. I was so inspired by them. Someone came all the way from Osun state just for a weekend of code, I was really motivated to learn more by the passion that was exuded there.
My coding skills were put to the test- It is scary to be face to face with your limits, but its humbling and rewarding, because you are encouraged, almost forced to want to get better.
I have to go for another hackathon. I believe it would be a great way to measure my progress since Girls With Grit. And also to win.
There were four challenges at the competition. A hardware challenge and three software challenges. I chose challenge #3 along with my team members. Our challenge was inspired by the energy consumption display on the Grit Systems website.
Our task was to visually represent data to the end user for easy understanding — power consumed per source, energy consumed per source and cost accrued per source. We were given JSON data (the meters output the consumption in this format).
We spent about five hours trying to decide whether to use charting libraries or attempt to bring our crazy ideas of using images to life.
We decided to use images to represent each quantity to be measured. Coins for cost, Bulbs for power and energy drinks for energy. The current version sums the cost of all the sources in a given JSON file and represents that amount with the images.
The number of coins needed is calculated and drawn with the canvas. In the picture above, the total from the JSON file was 170 Naira and it was represented with 17 coins, with each coin representing 10 Naira.
Each image is drawn using the HTML Canvas and for loops.
I hope to….
- Refactor our application using Express.js, so the application can have an MVC structure.
- Make it fully responsive with Twitter Bootstrap or CSS Flexbox.
- Read the JSON and make it global with an IIFE.
Another Girl with Grit wrote her perspective on the Hackathon a.k.a the actual order of events. Check it out here.
You can find our application here. Please drop your suggestions/criticisms on how we can improve our app.