Why you should take part in the PowerShell Hackathon

On Saturday 20th July 2013 we have the first PowerShell Saturday happening in Singapore.  As part of the event we are having an all day Hackathon.  It’s a new idea we are trying out that we think will be very useful to those who take part.  It really will be useful to everyone, no matter your level of experience.  In speaking to some of the attendees that have registered I am hearing a common theme; “I don’t think I am technical enough to take part”.  This post intends to put that to bed, let’s delve into what we are trying to achieve with this hackathon and see if we can’t peak your interest!

What is it?

Traditionally, a Hackathon is when a number of hardcore developers lock themselves in a room for a period of time (usually 24-48 hours) and compete to build a new App or Service.  Usually under the influence of Coke, Red Bull and lots of Pizza!  Ok so it’s actually a lot more than that but I have simplified it somewhat.  At PowerShell Saturday, this is not exactly what we’re doing.  We’ve borrowed the term and the concept (hoping not to upset developers in the process) but we are using it as a learning opportunity – and actually, that’s what most hackathons turn out to be in the end anyway.

Our Hackathon which is running as a side-event to the main presentations at PowerShell Saturday serves two purposes:

  1. Provides a break from the sessions that are not of interest to you, prevents you having any wasted time
  2. Provides an alternative activity if no sessions are of interest to you, you can just take part in this all day!

At a high level, it is an opportunity to:

  • Spend some time applying what you have learned in a session on your own laptop
  • Work on your own project that you wouldn’t normally have time to do, with the added benefit of being able to enlist other attendees for help or being able to ask the MVP’s for help to get something done
  • Complete the challenges set by the speakers and win some prizes!

What do we mean by being able to ask other attendees for help?  Well, if I want to write a tool that loads data into a SQL Database, but I know nothing about creating SQL Tables, if there is a SQL person at the event then I will be asking them for some help!  Making a new connection in the process ….

Sounds good right?

How does this work?

  • When we start, attendees will be asked to sign into the event (this enters you into the draws for the bigger prizes, regardless of what you do in the day) and record what they intend to do during their time in the Hackathon, and of course, if they are looking for helpers on their project.
  • Any projects that need assistance will be put up on the board so those interested in helping can speak to the project Owner to see how they can help
  • You set out to work!  Whether you are a project owner or working alone, you may want to spend some time on design first, organizing any contributors to your project or just organizing yourself. Maybe you need some help with designing your script?  Someone will be there to call on …
  • MVP’s and other event helpers will be around all day.  They are there to be asked for help. If there is a concept you can’t get your head around, if you are not sure how you should achieve something or anything you need help with, these guys are there to be asked.  Take your opportunity!
  • Work through your project, get as far as you can get in a day and we’ll check in with you to see how it went.

The aim of this event is to make it social, learn from each other, enlist help, copy each others code, share tips, get stuff done.  That’s what being an admin is all about, right?!

What if I don’t want to participate?

If you really don’t want to participate then that’s fine, but we would still encourage you to drop by.  See what’s going on, what people are working on, who’s around, speak to the MVP’s and just get a feel for this event.  Hopefully you will be tempted to take part next time.

What happens at the end?

At the end of the day during the closing we will be giving a quick run-down of what went on in the Hackathon. Hopefully, some attendees will be willing to talk about the stuff they did and what they learned, then we’ll have a draw for prizes. You don’t have to speak at the end, but we will talk about your stuff and what you achieved 🙂

What do I get from it?

What’s in it for you?  Well really it’s two things, starting of course with some big prizes from a draw – that’s right, you can win PowerShell Training just by taking part.  However, we think you’ll take away more than that. Mastering PowerShell is all about getting hands on, practice and having access to great resources.  This is your opportunity to get at all of that, including that uninterrupted time you have always wanted to work on your own stuff but never actually had!  The best thing you’ll take away is your experience from the day and hopefully, some motivation to take part in the next one.

Hopefully that’s enough to peak your interest.  We really feel this event is valuable for anyone learning or mastering PowerShell.  Remember, it’s not a test or competition, it’s an opportunity for you to develop your own skills and advance yourself.  If you came in the morning not knowing what PowerShell is and end up writing a 2 line batch file to query something, that’s a big win!  If you came as an advanced PowerShell user who wanted to know how to connect to Databases and leave having created a SQL table loaded with queried data, that’s an equally huge win!

You get the idea, it’s about you and we encourage you to take this opportunity.  Hope to see you there!

Categories: PowerShell Saturday Singapore, Powershell User Group Singapore

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