Take a Seat, Let's Talk About Hackathons

It's been approximately 8 months since I decided to pursue a career in tech and I had the opportunity to participate in two hackathons so far. I always wanted to talk about it and in this week's article I decided to share my experience.

I personally enjoy quite a lot being part of these events. I'm the kind of person who likes to think out of the box, I like new things and I love to dive inside different perspectives. Hackathon is an excellent place to get in touch not only with new technologies but with new people from different backgrounds. It's pure magic.

The first thing I need to say is: don't be afraid. There is absolutely no reason why you're not welcomed in most hackathons out there. It's a place for collaborative help and everyone has a different story. There are people with literally no idea what an array is and there are people who are absolute masterminds, and I honestly think that's beautiful. Hackathon is about the desire to create something new and everyone has enough knowledge to contribute, whether it's technical or not.

My first experience I was so afraid. In my head, I thought I needed to master everything to be able to participate. I only had started and I barely scratched JavaScript, how could I contribute to the group? I guess that's also one of the reasons why you should participate. I got to learn first-hand that when it comes to creating a new product/project (especially in 4-5 days), there are so many gaps to be filled that make it possible for developers at different stages in their careers to participate and help. Your knowledge, as shallow as it may be at this point, it's still part of the process and it's valuable.

Long story short, these are the benefits that for me make it worth it.

Learn Technologies

Learning may sound obvious but let's think a bit deeper about what it is that you can actually learn. As expected you will get to learn new technologies, it may be a new language, a new program or anything tech related. One of the coolest things about development is the ability to achieve the same result with completely different methods. Therefore, not only every hackathon will be different but each group within it as well. Especially for beginners this is a gold pot, there are infinite possibilities to learn.

Time Management

Something that is precious for any new developer is dealing with time management. In hackathons you are working against the clock, being effective is key. You need to decide where to invest time, how long to try, and when to try a new solution. I used to get caught up for too long worrying about making everything perfect. A key concept in software development is that done is better than perfect.

Team Dynamics

My favourite thing was to see the team dynamics. I came from a customer service background so I didn't know how it would be to code with others. You have the opportunity to experience a "free trial" of what the work is really like on the day to day basis. When you are studying the experience is completely different because you are alone and you don't get to see properly how projects come to life when a team is building it together.

Power Up Your CV

Finally but not least is that your main goal probably is to land a job at the "end" of your bootcamp (or the course you are enrolled in). Hackathons allow you to power up your CV. When you are on the job hunt you need to find a way to stand out against your competitors. Everyone will have a portfolio but how can you stand out? Participating in hackathons is a way to show you are going the extra mile and that you are the real deal. It's a way to show that you are involved with your professional community. You will be able to display your technical skills with your portfolios and your field experience by participating in hackathons.

If you have the opportunity, go ahead and give it a try. I'm happy that I did and honestly, I can't wait to be part of another one.

If you ever participate in one, share your experience in the comments, I want to hear it!

Last week I talked about Search Engines, check it out here!

Avatar for Valentino Braga

Written by Valentino Braga


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