For those lucky few who can make it to Las Vegas early to participate in the annual Hackathon, a weekend of programming adventure and networking can be the highlight of the year. For me, it was the place where I became a real part of the Acumatica developer community. If you ever wondered what it is like to participate at the Hackathon, this series of posts is for you.
What is the Hackathon?
The Acumatica Hackathon is the premiere event for Acumatica Community developers. It is a 2 day event leading up to the annual Acumatica Summit during which teams compete for prizes and glory. In my opinion, it has a much higher purpose in which everyone has the ability to win an even bigger prize – the opportunity to network with some of the most talented developers in the Acumatica community. If you come to the Hackathon (and even win one of the prizes from the competition) but you fail to network then you totally miss the point. It is the connections that you make and the friendships forged that will empower you to become a far better developer or understand your development team more.
Shortly after I first started developing on Acumatica, I was put in contact with Mark about how I could get plugged in to more resources as I felt like I was struggling all the time without a support system. Mark encouraged me to come to the Hackathon. He insisted that the connections I would make would change my life as a developer, and he wasn’t wrong.
How do I get involved?
When registering for the Acumatica Summit, there is a FREE option to add the Hackathon for Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to select both hackathon sessions, and you will receive communication from Mark Franks, the Acumatica Platform Evangelist, about the Hackathon. Sound too easy? Well, good. Because that’s all there is to getting signed up.
The Hackathon teams are made up of developers, but also of people from other aspects of the community. Sales or executive level people are great at presenting real needs that can spark identifying a winning solution. They also tend to be more polished when it comes time for presentations. Many sysadmins are great at setting up notifications and the new workflow. Anyone that can say Acumatica has the ability to contribute to a hackathon team, and all are welcome.
What can I expect leading up to the Hackathon?
A week or two before the Hackathon, Mark Franks will start emailing to confirm that everyone signed up still plans to attend. Next, he forms the teams and sets up a teams call to discuss the logistics of the competition including the team assignments and prizes. Within a day or two, the individual teams try to setup their own meeting to discuss ideas and get a plan for their project. Teams are encouraged to travel on Friday so they can be rested to start on Saturday. A basic lunch is provided for those that arrive early on Saturday. At 2:00 pm, everyone should be at their team table, and the event starts with opening remarks.
In the next post, I’ll outline some of what Team Theta (the team I am on this year) goes through to build the project. No spoilers for any of my friends on competing teams this year. You’ll just have to wait until after the judging before you get any of those details!