There are a lot of exciting events on the horizon for programmers and software engineers in Albuquerque. I am disappointed that I don’t have time to attend all of these. Must find a way to create more time.
The Lavu hackathon last weekend was a great learning experience for me. Here is a list of my personal take-aways from the event that I thought I would share:
I code slow at work. Our code base is huge and complex and written by multiple people. It takes a lot of thought and planning to make sure you write something correctly. Starting a project completely from scratch where its entire existence is directly in front of you allows you to write code extremely quickly, and that is exciting.
I rely on a lot of motor memory and tools. I borrowed a laptop for the event and had a fresh install of Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition (which just came out for free) on it. Everything was at the defaults with no plugins. At work I have Resharper, short cuts, other tools and plugins and four years of customizing my setup. I have no idea how it is setup. One thing I need to do is start from a fresh install and set things up exactly how I like them and record all that so I can duplicate it when needed. In the future I probably need to bring a full keyboard, Home/End/Del are too critical for me to try and locate a smaller key in a different spot.
I exercise regularly and eat much better than I did in college. My body has a rough time handling not moving, programming all weekend and drinking liters of sugar and coke, not sure how I lived off of that for so long, but it is hard to do now. In the future I still need to make sure I take a break and limit the sugar intake.
I’ve started plenty of projects before and worked on them for a bit, gotten bored and abandoned them. Having a deadline with a demo is a huge motivation for completing something. I need to find a way to work this into personal projects.
I spent too much time making things perfect at the beginning. The first item I started on was my connection screen that would work and perform exactly how I would envision it as a full product. I never demoed this screen, no one ever saw it and there was no reason not to hard code all that information into my system. I need to really focus on what the minimum viable program is an
Hopefully I will have a chance to try again in the future and we get to see more events like this in Albuquerque.
The first Lavu API hackathon occurred this weekend and I was lucky enough to be able to attend. This was my first time attending a hackathon. I had no idea what to expect, but it is something I had always wanted to do and luckily it ended up on a weekend were I had no other obligations.
It was a blast! The Lavu employees did a great job of making everyone comfortable, there was a ton of food, drinks and even some swag. They explained their API and they have a web view section (that I think they just implemented) that allows the developer to add a tab into the actual Lavu interface pulling content from their own system. This allows developers to tightly couple their modules into the actual system and seems like a powerful piece of extensibility. Everyone there was friendly, helpful and had interesting ideas, it was great getting to meet other local programmers I wouldn’t otherwise know.
This was also my first time at the STEMulus center and it a beautiful setup. It was perfect venue for this event, plenty of monitors, rooms to work in, and areas to relax. I think it was a success for Lavu, and the people that went, I certainly learned a lot and it was great having a project with a set deadline and just powering through a bunch of code with little distractions.
It sounds like they learned a lot from this and will be trying to do again in the future, so if it interest you keep your eyes out. I think they main thing that can be better is to get more information about the event out sooner, that should attract more turn out and give people a chance to come up with better ideas. I couldn’t even find any public information beyond the date and place until a few days before.
This is just the type of event that Albuquerque needs to grow as a tech and startup community. It gives developers a chance to practice, learn and network. It lets the company meet local developers, get real feedback about their product and some new ideas. If everything goes right it could give a developer some income and the company a new product.
As a programmer I felt it gave me a chance to learn about my abilities and real insight into how I program and what works or doesn’t work. I’ll share those later.
Next up is another trip to the STEMulus center, this time with my son for the Hour of Code event on Thursday. Bring your K – 12 year old.