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Vaarun Sinha
Vaarun Sinha

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My first hackathon went horribly wrong!

My first hackathon went horribly wrong! Few tips to avoid this.

So, I attended a hackathon, (I am not gonna take the name of the hackathon)and it went horribly wrong, and here's how:

So I found 3 people to be my team, one was a illustrator with great project ideas, one was a beginner frontend developer with HTML CSS and JS skills and the other one knew HTML & CSS a bit but was more comfortable in python and Django. So I somehow pushed/forced then (by continuous messages) to join a google meets call, we discussed what to do, and divided the work, now here is when the problem begins…

The next day when I asked everyone, to post there progress, as there were only 5 hours till the deadline, and the person, that agreed to do the main component of the project, just turned in copied code! Everything was copied from GitHub and then went offline! The other person, mysteriously disappeared! Both of them did not come online, even after continuous messaging! Only me and the illustrator were online, so there were now only 2 hours left, I decided that I will at least submit a project!

So after around 30 mins of brainstorming, I decided to build a discord bot, but I had no idea how to build one! So I started watching a freecodecamp tutorial, that was 1 hour long, but then I realised well, I did not have any time for that! So I jumped straight into docs and made it work.

But there was another problem, I did not know how to request data from APIs, and work with that data, this was crucial; as basically what the discord bot did, is retrieve data from several APIs, and send messages.

So I learnt the requests library, and the json library.

β€œGrowth happens outside of the comfort zone”

I found that this thing really true, Because I learnt discord.py, requests, and the Json library under these conditions, and implemented them directly in my project, I don’t think I will ever forget these libraries and concepts.

But don’t worry this horrible experience at this hackathon, did not stop me from registering for another hackathon!

If you are organise events/hackathons then please read this:
This thing really annoyed me in the hackathon that whenever I would ask any query they would be online on discord, but they would neither reply, nor type anything! And they promised everyone a sticker, but now they are saying that international shipping will be not available!

  • Don’t make false promises
  • Reply to queries ASAP

If you want to be a good hackathon participant :

  • Take the work if you know how to do it, and will be able to do it in time
  • Don’t turn in copied code
  • Try to be online most of the time in the hackathon.

What I learnt:

  • Json standard library
  • Requests standard library
  • Discord.py

Top comments (8)

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otumianempire profile image
Otu Michael

β€œGrowth happens outside of the comfort zone”

So true.

I organized a hackathon and it failed. 81 participants, majority were from a local university. Most were in IT/CS/Comp Eng. and one guy from Civil Engineer.

this hackathon was the-learn-and-implement type. We discuss if there is any issue.

I realized that my code were been submitted as the solutions (we can not have the same comment, it is somehow impossible if my comments have my initials). So I migrated my code from GitHub to bitbucket and made it private. I deleted the repo and recreated it.

4 participants including me were left.

I had another 51 students (mostly first years) - the same happened. Only 2 second year students actually participated. They texted me, I replied, we had video calls where we discussed the code they have written and some solutions. We also discussed git.

From these I learnt that organizing or hosting a hackathon, both online and onsite, is not a small feat. The job of a tech-lead, reviewer or maintainer is not a small task as well.

The civil engineer (from the 81 students) and these two guys (among the 51 students), and I are still pals.

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vaarun_sinha profile image
Vaarun Sinha

First of all thanks for reading my blog, Also I wanted to ask that do you still run this hackathon? I also believe that learning happens only when you just jump in and try to implement something, try many things, and eventually figuring it out!

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otumianempire profile image
Otu Michael • Edited on

First of all thanks for reading my blog

Awesome

do you still run this hackathon?

No. Due to the experience, I'd rather have a one-on-one or a very small number, at most 5, engaging with. It is easier that way.

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vaarun_sinha profile image
Vaarun Sinha

Keep Going!

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vaarun_sinha profile image
Vaarun Sinha

Feedback is highly appreciated, if you find any problem/mistakes (which is unlikely) then please comment the problem and I will fix it.

Hope you learnt something valuable today.

Hope You Have A Nice Day Ahead!
My Second Hackathon Was Awesome! Here are some tips for a great hackathon.

Happy Coding!

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gitcommitshow profile image
gitcommitshow

Seek discomfort

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vaarun_sinha profile image
Vaarun Sinha

That is the main point, if you want to grow seek discomfort.

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