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Aliya Lewis
Aliya Lewis

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What Happened When I Entered My First Hackathon

This past weekend I entered "Hack-The-Freeze: Hackathon", my first hackathon ever! I had known about the hackathon for a while but didn't commit until Friday morning, 10 hours before the informational night for the event. After attending the informational and getting to know my fellow team members, I was really excited to see how our project would turn out but also pretty nervous about how much I would be able to contribute to the team having only weeks of experience in coding.

Saturday morning rolls around and that excitement I felt the day before was taken over by anxiousness for what the day would be like. On my way to the hackathon, I kept telling myself:

"You might be able to contribute even if it's just one thing."

"Even if you can't contribute, you'll still learn something."

"However this turns out, this will be a good experience."

I walk in and mingle a little, meet up with my teammates, switch my brain into "code mode", and try and tune out that feeling that I'm going to be the weakest link on the team. Once the team agreed on the concept for our web app, we quickly ran into our first issue - two of us only know Ruby and the other three know JavaScript. One thing I loved about our group was how well we communicated and tried to play into each other's skillsets. We ended up splitting the work by front-end and back-end, with myself and another Flatiron student building the back-end in Ruby, one person designing our logo, and the other two would work on the front-end.

Working on the back-end was a valuable experience for me as I just completed a weeklong project focused on Ruby on Rails. I took everything I learned in the past three weeks and used that knowledge to help my team build our application. It felt really good to be using the skills I've learned in a setting outside of school, with people I just met, for an event I've never been to before. I struggle with confidence in coding when building projects from scratch, but this hackathon showed me that I have enough basic skills to contribute in a significant way and that I should be going into future hackathons with more confidence.

I'm grateful for my team (shoutout Team Friends!) for communicating clearly and effectively, supporting each other, willingness to work with/learn to do things previously unknown before that day, and for having such great attitudes. They really made my first hackathon experience one to remember and because of them, I'm looking forward to the next one!

Tell me about your hackathon experiences below!

Top comments (2)

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Sarah Luning

Shout out to Team Friends! I love your blog post! And trust me when I say, that feeling doesn’t really go away. I had similar thoughts to yours as I came to the hackathon Saturday morning as well lol. But I’m very glad we had the team that we did, I had so much fun!

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Aliya Lewis

We had an awesome team! So glad my first hackathon was with you all and it's nice to know that although we had our doubts, we overcame them!