For you to be in a position to participate actively in hackday events (such as the Leeds Hack), you need to have up-to-date coding skills. This is a fact I find myself having to mention often, especially when people ask me the question as to ‘what the most important requirement for participation in hackday events’. I like saying that in readiness for participation in a hackday event, you can borrow a laptop from someone. You can go ahead and borrow the fare to the event venue from someone. And then you can borrow the event fees from someone. Heck, you could even borrow the beanbag to sleep in from someone… But one thing that you can’t borrow from someone else, the one thing that you must have, is up-to-date coding skills.
The question that naturally comes up, then, is as to how you can ensure that your coding skills are indeed up to date. And while I am not in a position to give you a step by step guide on how to acquire such skills in this blog post, I will briefly give you a couple of guidelines, on how to ensure that your coding skills are up to date.
Firstly, for you to have up to date coding skills, it is critical for you to read the latest specifications for the programming languages you are interested in.
Secondly, for you to have up to date coding skills, it is critical for you to make a point of visiting web forums where matters to do with coding are discussed. While there, you need to go through the latest threads touching on the programming language you are interested in.
Finally, having read through the latest specifications for the programming language(s) you are interested in, it is critical for you to put those specifications into practice, through some coding projects. The idea is to ensure that you have a practical understanding of the latest features/specifications of the programming language(s) you are interested in, and not just a theoretical understanding of the same.
The best hackday events are usually those in which participation is by invitation alone. Those are typically exclusive hackday events — where all the participants turn out to be highly accomplished coders. Getting a chance to interact with such highly accomplished coders in the course of such hackday events can end up being very beneficial. It can be beneficial in terms of the advanced coding skills you get from the coders, in the course of the hackdays. It can also be beneficial in terms of the networking opportunities you get, and the contacts you get to make in the IT industry, in the course of the hackday events. There is, however, one very basic question that many people usually ask me with respect to such hackday events: the question as to how they can get themselves invited to such events.
In answering the question as to how one can get himself or herself regularly invited to (the exclusive) hackathons, I usually give several tips.
Firstly, if you wish to start getting invited to hackday events, you need to demonstrate that you are interested in such events. This you can do through your participation in online forums where coders interact, as well as in the course of your one-on-one interactions with other coders.
Secondly, if you wish to start getting invited to the exclusive hackday events, you need to demonstrate that you are a person with reasonably good coding skills: a person who is likely to add value to the events.
Thirdly, if you wish to start getting invited to the exclusive hackday events, you need to contact the people who run such events, and tell them that you are interested in being part of the events. In some cases, this is all you actually have to do, to get invited to such events. You should also make a pointing of visiting the websites of the people who organize such events regularly, to see whether there are any upcoming hackdays. As you will soon realize, some hackdays are actually open, and you don’t even need to have received invitations for you to take part: you just need to buy a ticket for participation, and you’d be well on your way to being part of the event.