Local Hack Day 2017

Last week, I attended HackSheffield’s Local Hack Day, which isn’t the usual weekend-long hackathons but only last a day. I’ve talked about hackathons in the past year (do you remember I wrote it as a thing I want to be held accountable for in 2017? #ididthat πŸ˜†) like here and here.

I have to admit that initially I didn’t really understand the hype but after attending a few and connecting with the rest of the community through various events, I now know why!

In addition to hacking together with my dream team (the #shefcodefirst team i.e. the group of us who are involved in the best community ever – Code First: Girls), I also had a go at vlogging my hackathon experience and tried my best to capture the hype. ✨

Working with The University of Sheffield, I put together this short video on my hackathon experience and why you should try out a hackathon. Check it out:

The process

It was a lot of fun to film and edit! Recently, I’ve been working a lot on videos – ranging from projects like this to a component of my dissertation – and have learnt a lot of neat editing tricks and starting to develop an eye for video editing (I have to say my photo editing is πŸ‘ŒπŸ»πŸ˜‰)

Interviewing the lovely Anete πŸ’–

I didn’t feel awkward interviewing people and found it fun to hear the vast number of experiences. Looking back though, I wish I had a microphone because editing the audio was difficult.

The hackathon

We weren’t really struggling for ideas because Christmas is an inspiration itself, right? πŸ˜‚ As I showed in the video, my team ended up building a “gifs by GIPHY” advent calendar!

Matt teaching us GraphQL
Matt teaching us GraphQL

A few hours into the hackathon, we went to a workshop run by Matt who went over using GraphQL which was very informative – we ended up implementing it into the team page of our hack. So, whenever someone in the team edits their bio or profile photo on GitHub, the page automatically updates it with the new changes which is pretty neat!

During the workshop, another hacker saw that I was struggling with understanding CSS Grid (which I wanted to use for the hack) He went out of his way to show me a simple use of CSS Grid on one of his university projects which I appreciated because everything I was reading suddenly clicked in place.

Sometimes we need others explaining things to us instead of just reading it off a screen! I ended up building the whole front-end of the calendar using CSS grid sprinkled with snowflakes made by CSS. ❄

Demoing felt super rewarding – I enjoyed showing off our little baby 🀩

Overall, the team smashed it in just 10 hours with most of them being beginners/their first hackathon. It’s always so great to see students of the Code First: Girls course come along to these hackathons, they weren’t confident in their coding skills 8 weeks before and now they’re coding things in under 10 hours. I’m always so proud!

Team #ShefCodeFirst

Thanks for a great event HackSheffield! And thank you to Matt for introducing me to this world of hackathons and the rest of the community for welcoming me in πŸ€—

17 responses to “Local Hack Day 2017”

  1. That looks super fun. I loved seeing your photos. <3

  2. Hackathons look like so much fun! Watched the video you put together and it was so nice seeing how much people are learning and what they’re gaining from the experience <3

    Absolutely LOVE the GIF advent calendar. I'm still chuckling over the Santa cat gif. That in addition to my Tsum Tsum advent calendar make my mornings 😜 (Also just noticed that when you open a GIF a flying Santa appears XD)

    1. That was my team mates- Darren and Sokartis who made that magic happen. I’m still laughing over it!

  3. Hi, Pauline! I just discovered your blog and now instantly turned into a follower. I`m also very interested in life sciences and programming. One of these days, I really want to improve my skills on CSS/HTML/Javascript because it`s pretty useful.

    Anyway, hackathons looks so fun! I wish we also had one when I was in university…. and I wish it wasn`t only for Computer Science majors haha

    1. They’re not just for Computer Science students! I’m a Biomedical Science student and the other people in my team were from different backgrounds ranging from Bioinformatics to Law. It’s open to all and you’re always welcome to participate πŸ˜„ There may be one happening near your school/University, check them out here: MLH.IO

  4. I loved your video! I feel like I actually (kind of) understand what a hackathon is now! And your guys’ 25 days of GIPHY is so fun! I love that idea. You always inspire me to want to understanding more about tech and coding, these are such amazing skills to have!

    Susie | http://milehighdreamers.com

    1. They definitely are great skills to have and will become more in demand in the future. Hackathons have helped me sharpen my understanding of some languages and forces me to code because I don’t really have the chance otherwise in my day to day life.

  5. Congratulations on finishing another hackathon! It’s great that you’re totally getting the h ype of the hackathon. 25 days of giphy looks super cute! Glad you enjoyed your time, learned a lot, and got your hands dirty with some fun coding :).

    1. Fun coding is the best type of coding! 😁

  6. Congratulations on successfully completing another hackathon, Pauline! I think that was nice of someone in the hackathon to help you out – we could always use a hand in everything we do. And we always learn something new everyday, right? πŸ˜€

    ☼ cabin twenty-four

    1. Super grateful for the community, everyone just wants to help each other and it warms my heart!

  7. Sounds like lots of fun! And its so awesome when something you’ve struggled with finally clicks!

  8. That’s great that you did another hackathon, and congrats to your school for jumping so high on the hackathon list! That must feel good to know that the attendance is going up πŸ™‚ I think your video is a good intro to hackathons, and it’s nice that you had a lot of interviews on there. Making a GIF advent calendar looks like a fun idea! Congrats on finishing another one!

    1. Thanks so much Cat! Raising awareness of why it’s useful in learning was a lot of fun, I’m super proud to be a part of it. πŸ˜„

  9. I love reading your hackathon posts. I’d really love to go to one, but feel like I’d need to work on my coding skills first. I’d be so rubbish!

    I love the video you made. Video editing is so hard. That one single blog I made last year took so long and I barely did anything to it. You seem to be doing really well with it though!

    1. Thanks so much Amy! I agree video editing is super difficult but it’s getting easier with time 😊

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