Hello everyone, it's me again. For first-time readers, my name is Afoma Orji. I am an aspiring Dev Rel engineer, a front-end engineer, a technical writer, and a passionate Web3 advocate.
On 31st December 2021, I promised myself that 2022 would be the year I become the best version of myself. And to make myself publicly accountable, I wrote a tweet -
Twenty-four days ago marked the end of the best hackathon I have participated in so far. This is my first coding hackathon, although not my first hackathon in general. I participated in a hackathon that was organized by Decentology last December and I emerged as one of the winners when the result was announced in January. However, the circumstances surrounding this particular hackathon make it a very memorable experience, my favorite and the best hackathon I've participated in so far.
Let me take you on a tour down this beautiful memory lane. Shall we 😉.
It all started with a tweet
Yes, it all started with a tweet from Camila Ramos, last month, on the 25th of February, 2022, asking women to join her team for the Web3Con hackathon.
Yes, Cami wrote that junior developers were welcome to join her team, but I was skeptical to indicate interest because my own understanding of being a junior might have been different from Cami's expectations, nonetheless, I took a leap of faith and indicated my interest in the comment section and surprisingly Cami immediately sent me a direct message on Twitter to discuss next steps.
There was actually no time to be selective when it came to joining a team. The rule was to have a minimum of two and a maximum of five people in a team. We were thirty-five women with different skillsets, experience levels, and from different time zones. I was the last person to join my team, Team B comprising Ana, Brenda, Kristen, and Ulrike.
It took my team about 3 days to decide on the final project idea. Kristen came up with our amazing project idea which was to create a Wordle game that will enable users to add emojis that reflected their mood after seeing their result and mint their result as an NFT on the blockchain and donate a tiny sum to either of the four charity organizations that were listed on our website.
The hackathon lasted for seven days but we managed to submit our project a few hours before the deadline.
I encountered several challenges during this hackathon which I never had time to observe when I was just building personal projects on my own. So, this hackathon opened my eyes to the challenges I might face when I get to work with a team and how to resolve them if they should happen again.
I struggled with impostor syndrome because of my experience level. I was very confused initially because I didn't know where to start and how to help because of the short time frame of the hackathon. However, the serenity and confidence of the OGs of my team made things a lot easier for me and for everyone on the team.
Ulrike, Ana, and Brenda silently and confidently held the reins. Kristen and I were the baby developers of my team in terms of experience but her zeal and doggedness gave me the morale to forge ahead.
Difference in time zone
I was 7 hours ahead of my teammates, but I had considerate teammates that found a way to make it work for everyone.
Poor internet connection
Internet connection surprisingly became faulty and several times during our group meetings, my account would be automatically logged out due to poor internet connection. Luckily for me, this problem was eventually resolved.
About four days into the hackathon, my laptop's microphone stopped working, and even though I then had good internet and power supply, my teammates were unable to hear me during the meetings. So I would have to type my opinion, questions, and suggestions in the meeting chatroom while they waited to read my suggestions.
A superstitious person might have said that my village people remembered me during the hackathon 😂. Although it wasn't out of the ordinary, there was no power for about three days at a stretch. However, that period was the wrong time for power failure. Nonetheless, I overcame this challenge by going to a friend's office to charge my laptop and phone.
In the midst of the challenges that I encountered during the hackathon, there were silver linings that encouraged me to keep going.
The treatment I received from my teammates was never what I anticipated. They were the kindest, most empathetic, and most intelligent teammates in the world. Kristen and I were like the baby developers in my team, but the solidarity and safe space that was provided by our other teammates made the hackathon a productive and memorable experience. The more experienced developers gave us the opportunity to contribute to the code base, answer our questions, and correct our mistakes. I was opportune to help out with the content of our website and to assist Brenda in editing out offensive words from the script that contained possible Wordle guesses. Thank you so much, Brenda.
All the experiences surrounding this hackathon, starting from Cami's tweet to how my team handled the project, made me a better person.
First of all, I don't even know how Cami came up with such a selfless idea. I have always heard about altruism, but I saw it personified in the person of Camila Ramos.
Secondly, I learned that everything is possible if you are in the right place and with the right set of people. At first, it was as if everything was working against me at such a crucial time; the power failure, poor internet connection, and faulty computer microphone. And all these things happening at the same time and at such a crucial time could drive a person to quit if care is not taken. With my teammates, I didn't feel alone, I was going through it knowing that they had my back.
Finally, this hackathon taught me what it meant to be a senior. I learned that being a senior developer didn't mean bossing everybody around or putting a chasm between seniors and juniors. Rather, being a senior entailed confidence, humility, ownership of a situation, and technical competence.
Before this hackathon, I thought I enjoyed working alone. I thought I learned better by working alone. But this new experience changed my mindset. If this is how teams are, I now want to work in teams. Thank you, friends.
My sincerest appreciation goes to Camila Ramos for organizing 35 women to realize their potential. Massive thanks to DeveloperDAO for organizing this hackathon and to the sponsors; Decentology, Polygon, Filecoin, Livepeer, Radicle, Hedera, and The Graph.
The results of the hackathon have not yet been announced, but I see myself as a winner. I see my teammates as winners, and I see all the women that participated in that hackathon as winners.
I see myself as a winner because I took the leap of faith and replied to Cami's tweet. I see my team as a winner because we worked beyond our comfort zones to create a beautiful idea into a real product. I believe I won because I manifested into existence my tweet of being ready for 2022. I believe I won because I am now more intentional about my plans, my phobia of writing code is gone, and I am now more aware of the things I am capable of doing.