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hackUVA 2015 - Newspaper Article and My Thoughts

- Daily Progress Sunday Section Article-

My team was featured on the front page of the Charlottesville newspaper!
Thanks Nate Delesline for the honour of an excellent write-up! My interpretation below!

Daily Press Article

- My Thoughts -

hackUVA was my first (but certainly not last) hackathon. Regardless, my team and I were extremely enthusiastic for the opportunity to compete with bright young minds at the University of Virginia. Our idea, codename Keep In Touch, was a cross-platform messenger which would algorithmically analyze the frequency at which you messaged individuals in comparison to the last time you messaged them. We aimed to reconnect users with people who they had forgotten about in the hustle and bustle of hundreds of social media connections. The concept could either function as a standalone application, or a new style of notification in addition to the tradition social networking standards of likes, comments, shares, etc.

As a learning experience, I think it was unmatched by basically anything I have performed development-related in a 24 hour period. Being in a high pressure, time sensitive situation taught me a lot about development-specific teamwork, prioritizing what to code and what to put on hold, and version control (not enough GitHub pushes resulting in a final product that could have been better due to last minute changes and time constraints will not be a mistake I make again). I also acquired valuable Android-specific networking and debugging tactics from a fellow programmer I met at hackUVA who learned powerful approaches to issues I was having during his time working for Microsoft.

At the awards ceremony, it became clear that the winners were programs that flashily combined a few pre-existing API's in interesting ways, focusing on what would be strong in a 2 minute presentation for judges and would serve as visually appealing. This conclusion is not meant cynically, but rather as a reflection on how one must structure their approach to making the best product possible during a 24 hour period. Learning this will definitely play a part in the scope and type of idea that I choose to implement at my next hackathon.

But after coming to this conclusion, I would not have done anything different in my approach. The immense pressure to complete an enormous task pushed my skills deep into the evening, forcing me to look at rapid Android programming and new implementations of my knowledge in an entirely different light. As the Daily Press article describes, it is an experience unmatched by sitting at home coding or classroom learning.

All in all, I had an incredibly fun and transformative experience that had a powerful affect on how I am approaching my current coding project and all future programming ventures. By far the highlight of my Spring Break!