<< Back to Off-topic Forum   Search

Posts 1 - 15 of 15   
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/17/2015 04:49:35


knyte 
Level 58
Report
... you should come to a hackathon!

Basically, if you're a high school or college student (or even in middle school) in North America or Europe (primarily there, but also in other places), you've got this massive world of opportunity where you get to make really cool things while someone else feeds you, gives you free stuff, and even hands like thousands of dollars in prizes if someone else thinks what you're doing is cool. If you're looking for a job or internship, there's that too!

Advantages of going to a hackathon:

- Learn something new. Engineers from major companies (Apple, Facebook, etc.) and cool startups (Airbnb, Uber... or small companies you've never even heard of) are going to be there specifically to mentor you and help you anything you want to learn.

- Play with cool toys. Ever head of Oculus? How about Thalmic Myo? Leap Motion? Parrot's AR.Drone? This is stuff you can simply talk about on the OT forum... or it's stuff you can work with, use, and build cool things on. For three whole days. You'll do stuff that 99% of your friends probably don't even dream of.

- Build cool things. A machine that does your homework for you in your own handwriting. A Web browser that lets you explore the Internet without WiFi. A platform that lets you use smartphone apps on a 90's Nokia. A freaking hologram projector. These are all projects someone's made at a hackathon, and these are things you can make too. You might struggle the first time around, but after a while you get the hang of it and actually start building really cool things. This is the most fun part, by far.

So, the catch? Nothing, really, beyond the likelihood of sleep deprivation.

- It's 24-48 (usually 36) hours. You get a whole weekend, tons of Red Bull, not too much sleep, some usually decent food, and a team of 2-4 other people to build something crazy awesome (or really whatever you want).

- The environment is hella non-toxic. There is a ridiculous amount of collaboration going on- it's like the exact opposite of high school (or the OT forum). People aren't jerks, they legitimately try to help you make whatever you're making better, and in general they're hella passionate about what they're doing instead of insecure and tempted to bother other people to feel like they're making up for their own flaws.

- You don't even have to know how to code. Again, ridiculous mentorship. You just need to desire to make something.

Basically, for all you people who've felt stifled by your environments and have that urge to just go make something awesome, you should check these out :D

Why am I saying this? Idk. I went to a pretty non-technical HS and felt like I had no opportunities to actually learn what I wanted to learn- I had to teach myself a lot, but that's hard when you don't even know what you're supposed to know. It's hard to do all that without a community. Got addicted to hackathons in college and they've really changed things for me- who knows? They might do the same for you. :)

If you're interested, most of the big HS/collegiate hackathons in North America and Europe are affiliated with Major League Hacking: https://mlh.io.

Also, a good portion of them cover travel too. So don't worry if you're far away, either. If money's an issue, you'll probably be a saving a bunch anyway b/c of your newly-gained valuable skills, not having to pay for food or drinks, and getting a ton of free swag. Most importantly the skills- software and hardware development are both candidate-driven markets right now, so you have quite the edge.

Edited 9/17/2015 04:51:14
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/17/2015 05:52:52


Blank
Level 36
Report
Sounds pretty hip and swaggity. But I'll have to say no to going. How often are these hackathons arranged?
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/17/2015 05:57:41


knyte 
Level 58
Report
Usually multiple going on a week if you're in the US.
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/17/2015 13:42:28


knyte 
Level 58
Report
Yeah I'm not fond of Uber's business strategy either. I mean, they gutted NREC so I have even more of a reason to dislike them than you do.
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/17/2015 14:07:29


Riveath
Level 59
Report
Not in the US, unfortunately... but I'd give it a try if I was.
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/17/2015 14:19:54


knyte 
Level 58
Report
There's a few European MLH events: https://mlh.io/seasons/f2015-eu/events

Beyond that, there's a larger hackathon repository you should check out if you want to give it a try and can't find any MLH events:

http://devpost.com/hackathons?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search=Germany&challenge_type=all&sort_by=Recently+Added
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/19/2015 02:28:00


berdan131
Level 56
Report
Nice idea, I am starting with programming as a hobby, with learning "c" as the first language, to "give me good fundaments to learning some modern programming language". At least I aim for this ;)

Tho don't know really if I should start with "c".

Any suggestions?
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/19/2015 02:37:21


Hostile
Level 58
Report
Educational language ?

It exists and has simple rules.
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/19/2015 02:37:24


Hostile
Level 58
Report
Educational language ?

It exists and has simple rules.
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/19/2015 02:37:32


Hostile
Level 58
Report
Educational language ?

It exists and has simple rules.
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/19/2015 02:37:50


Hostile
Level 58
Report
Educational language ?

It exists and has simple rules.

Browser bugged. Sorry.

Please delete spam.

Edited 9/19/2015 02:38:46
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/19/2015 02:41:53


Жұқтыру
Level 55
Report
Ruby = web development, currently highest income programming tongue I think.
Perunis = very multifunctional, but best points are data analysis.
Java = currently most used and growing, no particular weak/strong areas.
DRAKON = outdated, but nostalgia+ helpful for beginners.

These are all I have tried to some extent.

Edited 9/19/2015 02:42:44
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/19/2015 02:54:21


knyte 
Level 58
Report
I'd recommend Python as your starting language. Not only does it not require you to allocate memory (like C- if you want to get into systems in a less painful way, try Rust), it also doesn't have typechecking and is way less likely to trigger syntax errors (unless you have some issues with significant whitespace). More importantly, it's been a learner language for quite some time so people have already asked and answered all the questions you're going to run into.

The other really rewarding thing (for a learner) is that it's something you can generate some really quick deliverables and use some pretty sweet libraries (Python has libraries for nearly everything).

Then I'd recommend transitioning to C, Java, or JavaScript.

Ruby on Rails isn't a bad language- I don't know whether it's gonna get you a ton of money (usually the most sought-after language is one that's not widely used and is learned by mostly proficient coders who just do it for the hell of it, so it's not the language that increases your income so much as your desire to learn a language that obscure/new/etc.) Java has some clear downsides at this stage unless you want to get into Android development, but it's still a great general purpose language.


Really, it's not the language you learn but the practices and concepts. Just do something you can get excited about.

Also, Python and JS are probably the best languages for hackathons since they're the ones that best allow you to make quick deliverables.

Edited 9/19/2015 03:46:35
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/19/2015 04:44:44


knyte 
Level 58
Report
^ From the perspective of a company, they're not spending the money as much as they're investing it to recruit good engineers and help build the next generation of developer talent (which would also mean cheaper engineers for them if they manage to increase supply by a large-enough margin).

But yeah, hackathons have crazy amounts of money. The collegiate ones are no longer giving out cash prizes for the most part, but I think it peaked at something like $70K for the winning team of HackGT.
PSA: If you're free on a weekend...: 9/19/2015 04:53:27


knyte 
Level 58
Report
Go to an Apple-hosted hackathon and you might feel differently. :P

Actually, for the few collegiate hackathons it sponsors, Apple brings literally a dozen engineers to mentor- which is pretty cool on their part.
Posts 1 - 15 of 15