My First Hackathon: 4 Ways to Train Your Brain for the Not-So-Tech-Savvy

My First Hackathon: 4 Ways to Train Your Brain for the Not-So-Tech-Savvy

So you heard of this, “Hackathon” thing, or maybe a friend told you about it, and you thought, “Hey that sounds pretty neat.” Maybe you’re one of several high school graduates, college students, or whatever, who are undecided about their career path. But the computers, and technology, and all the bright lights fascinate you, and you want to learn more about it.

Now normally, people who go to Hackathons already know how to code, build things, or manage things, and this may leave you feeling intimidated, or even like an imposter! But we’re about to show you that, you don’t have to know diddly-duck to attend THIS ball, Cinderella. Check out these tips on 4 ways to train your brain for the not-so-tech-savvy.

Create a Game Plan With Your A-Team

Some of you may be going with friends who are already seasoned programming nerds who know back-end coding like the back of their hand (wait, what’s that mole doing there?), and with them, you have an advantage. If you want to contribute, you could ask your tech friends to coach you on some things and teach you lingo a few days in advance, or you could even try picking up some simple web design or programming logic beforehand, which leads us to…

Take a Crash Course in Simple Code

Programming may seem scary and intimidating, but the hardest part of it at first is wrapping your head around the language of it. Thankfully, that’s what W3Schools is for. It will be your dictionary and Bible for this journey and you will use it a LOT while training on FreeCodeCamp, which offers a great, streamlined, go-at-your-own-pace curriculum for quickly cramming in some basic HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

Codakid, although marketed towards kids, offers some easy to understand and free resources to help anyone of any age to get started, and may be more fun if you like to play Minecraft a lot!

Learn From The People Around You

It cannot be stressed enough, ask questions, ask questions, ASK questions!

Don’t worry about what you DON’T know: See what you CAN know.

Remember, everyone in that room who is doing something amazing. There was a time when they didn’t know jack-SQUAT about it. Observe everyone and everything around you. Take it as an opportunity to learn how to do new things and maybe even get inspired, and discover what your next project or career move will be!

But most importantly…

Bring All Your Worth and Enjoy

Look, even if you go and you don’t know a single thing about being a programmer, an engineer, a marketing expert, or ANY of those things, you still got yourself. You could be the “Ideas Gal/Guy!” Just about anyone can brainstorm ideas with a group of people simply by being relatable and thinking outside the box! You may even have talents that can be useful in unexpected ways!

Are you good at drawing? Then you could sketch concept drawings of what your team is making and how it will work! Can you sing or play an instrument? Then you could help keep your team awake and their spirits high during an all-nighter, like a bard in D&D! All you need to do is be willing to use whatever you’ve got to contribute, and it WILL be appreciated by anyone in their right mind.

In short, the Hackathon is a great opportunity for both solo artists and companies alike. We CANNOT stress enough just how much potential an event like this has for the two!

But do you know who else it has potential for? An average Joe or Jane!

Even if you’ve never touched a computer in your life but want to learn how, just attending these and doing simple work on a computer can help you learn, adapt, and get the magic touch!

So please! Do yourself a favor, step outside your comfort zone, and dive in!

Maryland born writer Athena Zhang Baker has been writing all kinds of articles since she was in seventh grade. As of now, she is continuing to write Computer Science articles such as “Ada Lovelace: The Making of an Ideal Liberal Arts” while running a Manga and Manhwa Club in Memphis, TN.