I really do not like hackathons. I attended one in college and I knew that they weren’t for me. Maybe it was the pressures of time. Maybe it was the lack of sleep. Or maybe it was the absence of peers that looked like me learning new technologies.
At /dev/color’s first Breakpoint I found all these issues addressed to make a much more enjoyable event.
A hackathon is based on the premise that you have a short amount of time to complete a project. A project in which you demo later to a panel of judges who judge weather the application, you worked so hard on, deserves recognition. After its all over you are left with a loosely finished product and no energy because you’ve been running on coffee and Redbull for 48 hours. But why do hackathons have to be this way?
Imagine if engineers came together to casually work and help one another on various projects with the understanding that these projects take time and thought. There would be no racing against the clock because there is no expectation of completion. And instead of being judged for their efforts, engineers are given feedback from professionals invested in their success.
The day started off with a discussion with TaskRabbit’s CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot. Working as a software engineer at TaskRabbit, I had the privilege of engaging in a dialog about race, gender and extracurriculars in a CEO’s world with Stacy. From there attendees introduced themselves and the projects they would be working on while enjoying a catered lunch. Some practiced for interviews, some worked on their own personal applications, and some even contributed to /dev/color’s open source project Major Key.
In the end TaskRabbit sent the best of their upper level managers including the VP of Engineering and some prominent individual contributors in both engineering and data science to constructively critique some of the projects. As with most software, these projects were ongoing so any feedback could inspire meaningful improvements in future iterations.
This is what I envision to be an ideal day of hacking — Dedicated time with my code, food provided and no pressure to dictate the speed at which I learn and make decisions. If any of this sounds appealing make sure to head to /dev/color’s next Breakpoint event, they’re only going to get better.
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Questions? Comments? https://twitter.com/kuntajts