The ongoing Appwrite x DEV Hackathon has given me a fantastic opportunity to interact with various hackers and builders in the Appwrite community and beyond. Many of the folks I have come across are beginners, which is very refreshing.
Participating in hackathons can be absolutely wonderful but also very daunting, so I have compiled a list of tips that can help you navigate your way through this experience:
The Appwrite x DEV Hackathon allows participants to team up and build together. While participants are not discouraged from entering solo, having a larger team will allow you to cover a broader range of skills and perspectives. This will make the overall development process significantly simpler and quicker while enabling you to handle any fires better.
When it comes to building the perfect team, finding the right members is only a part of the job. It is vital to build a relationship where you can comfortably communicate with your teammates to work in a synchronized manner and create the best submission possible. Try to build a team with peers who you regularly work with. If that is not possible, use the Appwrite Discord server to connect and team up with other participants too.
It will also be crucial to pick a team leader for the hackathon mutually. There will occasionally be conflicts due to time pressure or even just difference of opinion. In such situations, a team leader who can objectively make decisions and you all trust will be necessary.
Before you start developing your product, it is very necessary to have at least a rudimentary plan of how you intend to develop your product. Do not over-fill your product with a high number of features that cannot be easily integrated or can make the overall product unstable. Rather than having a lot of mediocre components in your product, keep a few good ones and develop them to the best of your abilities.
Once your product has been planned, your next job will be to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). An MVP will feature the bare essentials required for a complete solution and implement a feedback mechanism for future development. You will want to develop the most perfected version of your conceptualized product, but it will be difficult to do that within the given time constraints. Develop the MVP first and work on improving it thereon.
The Appwrite team is active throughout the hackathon to help out hackers in any way we can. Get in touch with them to discuss your idea or if any troubleshooting is required. These professional relationships that you initiate can be developed beyond the hackathon and may be beneficial in your career.
Feel free to ask any doubts you have on the official hackathon help thread:
Additionally, we also have Weekly Hackathon Office Hours with the team every Thursday from 9-10 AM PT and 6-7 PM PT on the Appwrite Discord server.
A lot of participants do not realize that hackathons are some of the best hubs for networking with your peers. We've got some highly hard-working, creative, passionate, and innovative individuals competing here at the Appwrite x DEV Hackathon. Connecting with these folks and learning from their experiences will benefit you long after the hackathon. Additionally, you might just end up building great friendships too.
Do share your progress and be discovered by your peers at our hackathon community discussion thread:
Amidst the pressure of the time constraints and the urgency to complete the products, most of us forget to take care of our health during the hackathon. It is necessary to have your meals at the right time and sleep for a while. Doing so will help you maintain your productivity throughout the hackathon and boost your creativity significantly.
The project demo you submit is like the cherry on top of the cake. While it may seem insignificant, it can remarkably enhance the perception of the project. It also allows people to relate to the intentions behind your work and unravel the possibilities it holds. A great demo will provide you with a significant boost when attempting to cross the finish line first. Therefore, let your demo tell the story behind your product and your vision for its future.
It is crucial to understand that while winning a prize at a hackathon feels great, a prize is not the greatest thing that you take back. A hackathon, ideally, will push you to rocket past your limits of knowledge and creativity. You will get to connect with lots of new people and develop relations lasting far beyond the event. While it is great to enter the hackathon with a winning attitude, the one constant fact, whether you win or lose, is that your knowledge base and experience level will increase. So embrace this fact and enter your next hackathon with a growth mindset. It will take you a lot farther than you may imagine!
This is the most important point that I have to share. Enjoy your experiences participating in hackathons. Hackathons are an opportunity for you to work with some amazing and talented folks on ideas close to you. Development, in all honesty, is nothing less than an art, and this is art for art’s sake, making it a very pure experience. So make sure that you fully immerse yourself in this experience and enjoy it to the best of your abilities.
To summarize, here is how you can get started with the Appwrite x DEV Hackathon:
- Build a well-rounded team
- Maintain proper communication and in-team leadership
- Plan the product you intend to build
- Develop an MVP of your planned product
- Interact with the hackathon mentors (i.e., the Appwrite team)
- Network with your fellow hackers
- Let your demo tell a story (and don’t leave it for the end)
- Keep a growth mindset
- Enjoy the hackathon experience
These insights are all ones I have had from my hackathon experiences. Hopefully, they will help you better navigate your way and make the best of the Appwrite x DEV Hackathon.
All the best, and happy hacking!
Appwrite is an open-source Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS), packaged as a set of Docker microservices, to give developers of any background the tools necessary to build modern apps quickly and securely.