It’s Almost Time – Hackathon 2021

While life as we knew it ground to a halt for COVID-19, many of us were disappointed to learn that Summit 2021 and the Hackathon leading up to it would not happen in January this year. Fast forward 6 months and several pushbacks later… IT’S ALMOST TIME!!! As Saturday approaches, Acumatica developers from all around the world will descend upon the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas for the annual Acumatica Hackathon leading up to the long awaited Summit 2021. Cue the theme music, the caffeine, and creative minds.

What to Expect

If you missed the orientation and happen to be a relatively new developer, don’t worry. Here is a little insight from my experience over the last couple of years. (Don’t worry, Team Zeta, I’m not sharing THOSE secrets!)

First of all, try to rest up ahead of time. We will go from about 2 pm on Saturday to midnight local time. If you are like me, that will be like staying up half the night. We get a break to get some rest, but we will be back to wrap up in the morning with judging after lunch.

It won’t do much good to get there extremely early, but I will. Flights from my home mean getting up super early for a long flight followed by a long day, so I’ll fly in on Friday. That will give my old bones time to acclimate a little and start well rested. It’s probably too late to follow my lead on that, but it literally gives me ZERO advantage as I don’t get to start early. I do, however, get to catch up with friends I’ve made in the community over the last few years.

If things go as they have in the past, there won’t be an early check-in for Summit on Saturday before the hackathon starts. We are getting there while they typically finish setting up to prepare for all the arrivals on Sunday. We will check in for hackathon, but the Summit registration check-in will be later in the day or on Sunday. Just keep your ears open for any announcements.

How Do I Prepare?

Take a laptop, and make sure you have all your reference material on it. You will want to install the latest edition of Acumatica ERP 2021R1 and download any training guides from Acumatica Open University that you may need. You can expect me to have the 2019R1 training material on me for all the things I don’t do on a daily basis. (Come to think of it, there is new stuff out there that I better go get!)

Make sure you have contacted your teammates. It is vital that your team start discussing team strengths and ideas ahead of time. Our team has had several brief meetings to discuss ideas and get a general plan for Saturday. Remember, coding starts at 2 pm, and you don’t want to spend 4 hours trying to figure out what to do on Saturday!

Do some research. Think about what your team will need to do to complete the project. This event will push most of us to do things outside of our comfort zone. If you can, try to review the training material on Web Services. Many of the projects leverage API’s outside of the Acumatica gene pool to do things that surely nobody ever intended! And many of the results are nothing short of amazing.

Advice for Newbies (or not so new)

Imagine having a problem that you cannot solve. You have been struggling to understand something about Acumatica. Maybe it’s something from the training material that you don’t quite get. Maybe it is something more complex like how to switch to the new workflow engine used heavily in 2021R1. Now, imagine being in a room with some of the top developers in the Acumatica community from around the world. If you are going to be at Hackathon, come Saturday, stop imagining and open your eyes.

While you want to remember that we are all there to compete in a fun and challenging contest, don’t lose sight of where you are and who is around you. My first year, I was struggling. No, that might imply I had it together and just needed a little help. Sure, I had figured out some things with the training material, but there are a lot of things that I do daily now that weren’t even on my radar. I was STUCK. Joshua van Hoesen was our team lead. Mercifully, he took breaks from the project to talk with me about my challenges. In retrospect, it took very little effort from him to help me, but for me it was a massive leap forward. To be honest, after my first hackathon, I went back home and rewrote most of my code. We will have great sessions in the Summit developer track, but take the time to talk to those around you to share your experiences and learn from theirs.

For Returning Developers

Forget everything about your project. Forget your power adapter. Whatever it takes. Just kidding! Remember to pack any adapters you may need to connect to the projector for the presentation. Don’t eat all the dragon fruit. (Last year was the first time I had it, and WOW it was great!)

Make it a mission to talk to at least 5 new people at the hackathon, preferably NOT on your team. Commit to being that “minute mentor” to a newbie you come across. If it weren’t for Josh and Hughes and Brendan and Dmitrii, who knows if this blog would even exist. I might have given up long ago. One of the many things I love about the Acumatica developer community is the passion of the developers for helping each other grow. As we help others, we grow ourselves.

I can’t wait to see you all again. Many of you, I have talked with over the last 18 months on Teams meetings, followed on a variety of presentations given like DevCon, and seen or read numerous other presentations and blog posts. You have been the stars the community, and this our time to celebrate each other. It’s gonna be hot in Vegas, but the coolest people will be at Hackathon!

Happy coding!

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