First Hack Dallas – Long Over Due Post

Before I start, let me begin by saying this post is WAAAAAYYYYYY overdue! We held First Hack Dallas on November 5th but I wrote this post a couple weeks ago – I had forgotten my password and then kept putting it off…Enough of the excuses, here’s the overview.

What a Saturday!

So, I’ve been holding out this whole time – Sorry! I’ve spent the last few months helping organizing a hackathon.

WTH? I know, kind of big deal but it was always difficult decision of how do I start talking about it, do I want to start talking about it and of course what if we failed completely.

I’ll give you a brief overview of how we started but will link to my co organizer’s blog here (http://www.acodingodyssey.com/2016/10/13/first-hack-dallas-a-hackathon-for-newbies/): We wanted a hackathon where new coders can work on a project that would be beneficial to the community. This environment would be way less intimidating then a regular hackathon where it could be intimidating to even want to register. At any rate, there were a total of seven organizers all graduates of Coding Dojo and we each held an integral part to making this hack fest happen.

The Day Of

This is it, the emails were sent out, of course some participants dropped out before it even started but there were others, eager to get started. I took over being the first face participants would see and checked everyone in. This was way more fun than I thought it would be – I was excited and you could tell that. I even got a chance to bring out my humorous side and utilize my armor of bad jokes. There were a few stragglers and some didn’t bother to show up but we ended up with a cool 44 participants that showed up.

Everything ran smoothly except for the delayed start time, one hour to be exact but we let the hacking continue for an extra hour to make up for the time.

Throughout the day we had mentors tell us how great the event was. I spoke to some of the participants and gained valuable feedback, overall everyone was happy they came out, had fun, learned something new and wanted to do it again. Man, what a relief to know we created something that benefited people. I saw collaboration over many different scopes of life – That’s what I like about coding, developers come from all different paths. It was really amazing to see everyone working together.

It was an exhausting day for all of us, especially us organizers but I want to Thank each of every person on our team for coming together to make this event as great as it was. We truly gave participants the experience that we promised – Non intimidating atmosphere to code.

The Winners

The winners were a duo who made an api and robot to communicate with the user. It was simple and got the job done. See the presentation for this project here:

https://www.facebook.com/oscar.cortazar.1/videos/10153860621626644/

Congrats to Minh and Quang for taking home the grand prize.

Minh, Quang, Shiraz (Community Manager of Coding Dojo Dallas) and Ryan (part-organizer)
Minh, Quang, Shiraz (Community Manager of Coding Dojo Dallas) and Ryan (part-organizer)

Minh and Quang, walked away with a $500 cash prize (split between each other), 2 – $2000 scholarships to attend Coding Dojo, 2 – Coding Dojo mugs and 2 – Coding Dojo sweatshirts!

The Beneficiaries

First Hack Dallas’ first hackathon benefited RedRibbon.us, which is an organization that provides a centralized support system for those in the Dallas community impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Find RedRibbon Here: 

http://www.redribbon.us/

https://twitter.com/RedRibbonUS

https://www.facebook.com/RedRibbon.us/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel 

Something to Learn

Maybe something to take to our next hackathon is to have the list of languages each developer is good at under each participant name and definitely find an easier way to raffle (we used an algorithm to shuffle the names in our database but at first it only pulled out email addresses and sometimes we had technical difficulties).

Farewell to Next Time

A special thanks to all the participants – I know sometimes it’s not easy to go to an event where you may not know anybody and have to learn how to work together. We had a couple people waiver away in the afternoon but we definitely appreciate everybody that showed up, coded their heart at and never gave up. It’s difficult to want to keep going if team members leave or you’re down to your last couple hours and everything is breaking but remember you have to keep going!

I’m sure we’ll do this again and look forward to help organize again! I had a blast, even though I dozed off in the corner a few times throughout the day. I definitely felt proud of all the people who made this possible. Thanks to all of our sponsors:

Fort Work – http://www.dallasfortwork.com/ 

Minecraft U – http://minecraftu.org/

Women Who Code Dallas – https://www.womenwhocode.com/dfw 

High Brew Coffee – http://www.highbrewcoffee.com/ 

The DEC – http://thedec.co/ 

Boost Stream – http://stefanieorozco.com/ 

Coding Dojo – http://www.codingdojo.com/ 

Odyssey Information Services – http://odysseyis.com/ 

Modern Message – https://modernmsg.com/ 

Dialogs – https://www.dialogs.com/ 

Draw Attention – http://www.drawattention.co/

Major Thanks to the mentors who showed up and answered questions from our participants.

The Organizers: 

(L-R)Farhan, Oscar, Ryan, Terry, Cody, Chris and Me (Tiffany)
(L-R)Farhan, Oscar, Ryan, Terry, Cody, Chris and Me (Tiffany)

Anything is Possible

I want anyone to know who’s reading this that anything is possible. Don’t give up, keep going. There were tough times while we organized this event and a point we didn’t think it would happen but we pulled together our resources and produced an event that turned out better than we thought.

Until next time,

Keep knocking down doors and opening new opportunities.