Exactly a week ago I had my first hackathon. The process of drafting user stories, drawing out model associations, then writing the code itself with another person was great experience to have sooner than later. And we achieved an MVP, a walking skeleton. But throughout the twenty-or-so hours, I wished I could contribute a lot more than I did. I found that I was providing ideas for solutions, and took the backseat when executing those ideas.
The applications that Bitmaker alumni created for their final project gave me a fresh sense of urgency and inspiration. The October cohort is well into the second half of our training period. It's time to set a clear goal and work day by day to get closer to that end point.
It's a coincidence that I've recently finished reading The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. His book is a compilation of research that supports his advice: find and stick to one thing; aim for mastery. He hedges that with several chapters of practical guidance (ex. Aim for the Big Goal that's just within possibility, but outline exactly what small steps to take to get there).
Another great advice that a former Bitmaker told me was to find a good pairing partner. The difference in skill level may not be as significant as how willing the two of you are willing to work together. Explaining your own though processes out loud, and making sure you're on the same page is not as easy as it sounds. I definitely wasn't used to it at first, and had to consciously make myself verbalize what I'm thinking.
In the next week, I'll be working on my front-end dev skills in preparation for the final project. I'm also going to try building a Rails app from scratch on my own to be able to work through the back-end process with more ease. Bit by bit, as we say here, I hope to become a full-stack dev!
By Stella Kim