“Are you insane?” That was the question posed to me by a friend of mine when she heard the schedule I kept last weekend.
Between 6:45 AM Friday and 1 AM Monday my sleep added up to a total of three 90 minute naps. (4.5 hours over the span of 3 days, for those of you too tired to do the math – I get it.)
After work on Friday I went straight to Galvanize where Hack 4 Colorado (a part of the larger, National Day of Civic Hacking) was hosted. Around 10:30 that night I went to my friend’s house to help out with a 24 hour film race a group of us entered.
At 5:30 AM I went to bed until 7 AM (nap one). The rest of that day through Sunday afternoon I dedicated to my first hackathon.
And it was AWESOME. A bunch of people dedicated to hacking to make a positive change spent three days working on some great ideas for great causes. My team worked on building an app for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Denver Metro chapter. They needed a way to more efficiently match the schedules of “Bigs” to upcoming group events with the “Littles” while still keeping each party’s contact info private. The app we built helps decrease the amount of administrative work BBBS coordinators have to do on the backend, and it provides clear, easily accessible details to Bigs.
My role was strictly UI/UX design this first time around. I’m pretty handy with html and css, but I’m still very new to programming and admittedly not very helpful in that realm yet. I was able to pick up a few things here and there just listening to the guys’ brief explanations of their various steps.
We worked on the app nearly non-stop. I say nearly because there was one heated dart-gun session at around 3 AM on Sunday, and I did take naps two and three in one of Galvanize’s conference rooms.
Lack of sleep aside, the whole thing was a really great experience. I made new friends, was treated to three days of free food, and got to work on a fun project for an organization that does a lot of good for our community.
If you can make time in your schedule for a hackathon I fully recommend it.