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- Lessons Learned from Midtrans Hackathon 2018
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- Software is an Organization
- Explicit is better than implicit
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Lessons Learned from Midtrans Hackathon 2018
May 6, 2018
Do you know hackathon? It is a kind of competition where you doing code all night long, typically, 24 hours+, and in this competition, the winner usually judges by their ingenuity of the idea, and fast execution. Like a typical startup, my employer, Midtrans, also arrange a hackathon each year and their employee to stay competitive, happy and learn new stuff. Let me talk about some lessons learned after I finish the hackathon.
Here are some lessons learned extracted from the hackathon.
Learn new stuff
In Midtrans, this event is mandatory for all the engineers, basically, they give us at least 1 full day to detach from
business as usual to create something new. Some people create something they already know but using an idea that somewhat new, I also tend to follow the same pattern, but after I read this, I change my mind.
Guys. Today is hackathon. Today is the one opportunity in the whole year to try and learn something new and please use it. It’s explicitly not ok to work on your current project unless it is an emergency.
It is a well-phrased point that I need to remember while finishing the hackathon. The point is just f*cking learn something new. So, I decided to create a chatbot using Slack API. I don’t know about Natural Language Processing nor I know about a typical approach to create chatbot nor I know how to create one in Slack. I just f*cking learn that new stuff and do it. Who knows it will turn into something useful? So, challenge accepted.
Collaborate with other employee / team member(s)
I am unfortunate in this situation because my selfishness and not well prepared to join the hackathon. The last two weeks I spent much time to prepare and talk in two conferences, and no time to think about hackathon (exaggerate little bit). So, in the last minutes, I decide to register a one-man team. It would be better for me if I work in a team, but beh, I take the risk to do it alone. I do it alone not because the prize if I win, but only because everyone already creates their own team, oh no! so anti-social I am.
But let me quote something from Nikola Tesla, 😜
Enjoy the food and interact with people
Not only you need to collaborate with your team members, discussing with people about their idea and approach is also a good way to learn something new. There is one team that develops a fancy program to create a platform for the company operations, and I totally amazed at how good the execution is.
Here I can take notes keyword from others to search later when I need it.
Oh yeah, the food is usually good, including this hackathon, I really enjoy the food, the quality, and the quantity. So, to repeat, just f*cking enjoy the food and interact with others.
Create something simple, yet give a meaningful impact
It is very surprising that the winner is the one of creating a simple thing, but at the same time it solves problem in the company and gives a meaningful impact.
It is the same with several other hackathons I did, where the winner is most of them, create something simple, yet give a meaningful impact.
Stay hungry, stay foolish, stay humble if you win
I am very fortunate that in the end I unexpectedly won the competition. It is the first time I won a hackathon, usually, I lose to anybody else, but thanks to my coworker that helps me bounce ideas.
I didn’t expect that I win, but in the end, I enjoy the game whatever the result.
Yeah, there are many things to improve if my stuff will going to production, stay hungry to refine my crafts and stay fool to accept and seek something good, and don’t forget to stay humble if you win the game.
The difference between a good engineer and the best engineer is their humility. - Someone in Twitter
If you want to enjoy similar hackathon each year, consider joining Midtrans, it is a good company with good management, look midtrans.com/careers for the opening.
Notes: I am not a manager nor HR, only an entry-level engineer who happy to share the opportunity.
You can also join hackathon somewhere, it is becoming prevalent nowadays in Indonesia.