QHacks: I Missed the Point

06 Mar 2018

Last month I went to QHacks, where I made Daypath. QHacks is 5 years old now, but this was the first hackathon I’ve been to. I ended up decided to work by myself, but I was sitting with my friend Cam and his partner the whole time, and he helped me out a lot (thanks again Cam). Before going into the weekend, I thought I should get an idea of what I wanted to make, so I thought of things that I personally would want to use. That’s how I settled on the idea of a route algorithm for your day. I got the name from the idea of pathing in video games, where there’s usually an optimal route to go through an area or level, especially if the player is trying to save time. After the weekend, I realized I made some mistakes that meant I didn’t really do the hackathon “properly”. Here they are:

  1. Not working in a team. Since I had an idea I decided that I could work alone on it. I also knew I was way behind compared to most people who were attending. It was good that I was able to make the webpage myself and learn how javascript works, but as one person, you can only make so much, and I think I should have saved this project to do on my own sometime.

  2. Not using APIs, sponsor tools etc. They had a billion prizes but I didn’t use any APIs and I wasn’t eligible for anything. It does seem, though, like a lot of people based their idea off what APIs and prizes were available. That would have been more challenging, but a better idea. I don’t really know how many of them work, though. I tried to add Google Maps’ Distance API to DayPath but it was a real struggle so I gave up for the time being and I tried to just finish the main app. Right now you have to manually enter distances which is a pain, plus, no one really knows how long it takes them to walk from certain places to others especially if it’s a pair they rarely travel between.

  3. Not attending enough talks, or talking to recruiters I guess

However, I do think that the event was a good push to get me to learn something new, and since it was right on campus, there was no loss in trying it out. I hope that next year, I’ll be able to make something a little more spicy.