From Chelsea Skovgaard
A mad rush of two hours of writing code, merging CSS and Ruby on Rails, munching pizza, and drinking beer was our experience at our first hackathon. On September 16, a team of Turing students competed at the Hackthe.News event that was hosted by Name.com. The goal of the hackathon was to bring developers and journalists together to create ways that reporters can share important stories while maintaining their business’s sustainability.
I, Chelsea Skovgaard, and Jasmin Hudacsek were lucky enough to be two of the students who participated. Often, it is challenging to participate in an event outside of Turing with the intensity of the work, but taking time to participate on the Friday before finals week was one of the best decisions I made during my first module at Turing. The Turing team consisted of me (1608 Front End), Orion Osborn (1410 alum), Noah Berman (1608 Back End), Jasmin Hudacsek (1606 Back End), Jean Joeris (1606 Back End), Christopher Calaway (1606 Back End). Our team members’ reasons for joining the hackathon varied from exploring technology careers linked to journalism to discussing the lack of quality news during this election cycle.
After a short brainstorming session that involved talking to a couple journalists, we decided to work on a tool for journalists that would combine tracking story pitches along with a contacts database to streamline sources and stories. Due to the team’s background, we decided on an RoR application while I — being the sole front-end focused member — wrote the CSS.
From Jasmin Hudacsek
I’ve only been at Turing for the last four months, so it was a bit intimidating going into my first hackathon. However, the turnout for this event left me feeling a bit more at ease. The team to get second place was a team made completely of journalists — and no developers. That experience didn’t leave me feeling defeated, but it did teach me that a good product is nothing without a good pitch first. Knowing that, I am still extremely proud of the fact that we built a working Rails CRUD app with a nice interface thanks to Chelsea in less than two hours and were the only team to do so.
Once we decided on a product to build, we quickly broke up into small groups to try and divide and conquer — we only had about an hour left. Orion and I took to building the portion of the database that involved users and contacts while Jean, Calaway and Noah worked on pitches and the relationship between them and contacts and Chelsea worked her magic with HTML and CSS.
It was an awesome crash course introduction to working on a team that relied on Git and constant communication for smoother workflow, and I’m really proud of the teamwork we were able to accomplish in such little time.
When the judges came around to see our product, Jean, Chelsea and Noah really stepped up and pitched with confidence that I really admired.
From Chelsea Skovgaard
We were chosen as one of the top three teams and presented to a room of journalists and developers as the presentations were streamed on public access television by Open Media Foundation.
“Seeing everyone come together and build an MVP in [such] a short period of time was awesome,” said Orion.
We look forward to more awesomeness in our time at Turing and in our careers collaborating with other developers. Can’t wait to attend another hackathon with my Turing-mates!