Over the past several years, I've had a chance to participate in hackathons, as part of teams that developed a social payment app and helped users decide meals to cook. But it wasn't until last month that I got to experience a hackathon from the other side, as a judge.
The event was the Women Who Code Silicon Valley Hackathon 2018, which took place on September 29 at Google headquarters. Cloudinary, along with Flutter and Pluralsight, sponsored the hackathon, which required participants to use the Flutter platform as the basis of their projects.
When one of my colleagues - who is active in Women Who Code – had a conflict that prevented her from attending, she asked me to step in for her. I was excited because this was the first time I've had the opportunity to do something like this, and was looking forward to watching participants create interesting projects from scratch, then present them to us.
The hackathon kicked off around 8 a.m. I got there later in the day for the judge's meeting, where we talked about the criteria we would use to evaluate each of the projects. Not long after that the project presentations started. There were so many interesting ideas - from apps that helped you remember to water your plants and connect volunteers to organizations needing help, to others for dating and finding music that fits the users’ moods based on a photo of their face.
I anticipated it would be hard for the judges - who were a mix of project manager and developers - to agree on the top projects. But to my surprise, we all quickly agreed which ones rose to the top - they just stood out, based on their use of Flutter, the design and the technicality.
The winning projects were:
1st Place - Team Acorn.
2nd Place - Memage.
3rd place - SayCheese.
Honorable Mention - Team Happy Hour.
The four top teams were awarded some cool swag – Google Home Max, Google Home, and Google Home Mini devices.
Being a judge, and watching the process from a different perspective was fun and inspiring. It was an honor to see the great ideas and meet the teams who developed them. More importantly, it motivated me to participate in more hackathons to learn about new technologies while exploring my creativity.