Last weekend (Saturday, June 23rd, 2018) I had the privilege of attending a Hackathon for Social Good, hosted by Priceline, in their building in Manhattan, NYC. We initially met up that Friday to discuss possible topics that fall under the blanket of “social good” as well as to sniff out potential teammates to work with.
This hackaton’s stipulations were teams of no more than 5, who have 6 hours to flesh out as much of their idea as possible before presenting their work.
Generally hackathons last for two days, so having six hours to produce something worth presenting really forced our team to get to business as quickly as possible and begin hashing out all the details with minimal planning. As I stated before, the hackathon’s theme was “social good”, which although a broad topic, was difficult for most teams to come up with an idea that was both original and feasible to bring together in a span of six consecutive hours. In the end we saw presentations that ranged from a phobia-busting program to epilepsy warning apps. The latter ended up being the winner, by the way. Our group chose to create a template to display complicated information in an intuitive and easy to digest format. In the end I was very pleased with our project because at the end of six hours we had a working prototype (of which I will post to dankamzik’s Github account, should you wish to see it ). Many of their groups that presented only had a concept and basic layout to present, while we had a functional prototype. In the end we had four minutes to both present and answer questions. I feel like that was far too short a period for most groups to be able to explain their ideas fully. I know that we had a good amount of information we didn’t have time to share with the audience, nor did we have time to properly show that we had a real and working prototype. In the future, there should be more time given to allow each group to share their projects. That said, I understand that there were many projects that needed presenting. Hence why hackatons of this magnitude should not be squeezed into a single day. That aside, I had a lot of fun at this hackathon, met a bunch of cool and knowledgeable people, and got some wonderful high-pressure practice in coding.
I am not a person who generally likes being put into a high pressure situation, especially when coding. Code is something that should be thought out and carefully written. That is made very difficult with such a tight time constraint. That said, it was a lot of fun seeing how fast I could move laying out and styling our platform. So although we did not win, I sure had fun and gained some great experience in the process. I cannot reccommmend hackathons enough for people who are trying to get out their with their tech skills. Hackathons are wonderful skill building and networking events.
For any who are interested, I will be posting our group’s build into Github. It can be found under the account “dankamzik.”
The code I used is open source; feel free to borrow from our build or add onto it for your own purposes.
See you soon!