“Hello. My name is V and I have a problem. I am addicted to Hackathons.”
Many people ask me about the hackathons, the usual question is: “Why do you sacrifice weekend of your own time to the more work which is free on top?” And I tell them: “You were not there, you would not understand.” And it is true, kind of. What is so magical about the hackathons, you ask? Let me give you a small glimpse why I like it so much.
One of the most obvious aspects is the technology that is available during the hackathon. As a data analyst I work with tools that our clients choose and as a result I usually find little to no time to experiment with new tools available on the market. So it is awesome to see them offering otherwise very expensive tools for free during the hackathon to get our hands on. I can test it, push it to the limits and get to know it in and out. And most of the time some guys offer also support for such tools on-site, so it is great to break those things while they are watching (:-D). Only then you get to know what the tool can or cannot do.
Data, different data
The same thing goes for the data as it goes for the technology. Where else can I explore the plane ticket booking habits of Aussies during the year, exactly calculate when it is best to buy tickets to some destination or try to predict what is driving the price of a property in downtown? I am always surprised what companies are able to provide datasets for the hackathon. It is great to see the #opendata mentality and how it enriches both the data providing company as well as the community and I can personally see every line of that, ask whatever question I want to. How cools is that?
People peers, mentors and contradictions
Have you ever heard about the social bubble on social media? Well, there is something similar for hackathons. Because in hackathons you can meet similar people to you – eager to try and break things, ask weird questions and widen the view on a world we live in. Although there are people similar to you in terms of mindset, it does not apply to the skillset. It is awesome to see someone work seamlessly with a tool you wanted to learn for such a long time, but did not have a time (or insert excuse of your choice). Suddenly, you have someone fluent in the tool, just ask him a question and they will be more than happy to help!
Other than the fellow hackers, there usually is a jury of experts and super skilled mentors happy to spill the beans of their wisdom. Ever wanted to ask a CTO what it is like to lead a team of developers? Or if he is personally still coding? No better chance than here. Career question – what skill to learn next? Do not hesitate to ask around – people will share their life stories happily.
Consider all the above, throw some good coffee, beer and wine into the mix and you are up for a great weekend with like minded people. Learning goes of course both ways, from experienced to the young and fresh ones as well as the other way around. Every hackathon I ever attended just added that extra spark of curiosity but more than anything else, I had a bloody good time while meeting great people.
There are about last 25 seats available at the hackathon we are organising in Sydney, Join us the hackathon while there is availability!