Nov. 1, 2021

Why EVERY Aspiring Developer Should Participate In A Hackathon (And How To Find One)


I think a lot of aspiring developers eventually get the advice that they should participate in a hackathon to help them grow and even find a job. In this podcast episode, I invited on someone who has hosted several hackathons. He shared all of the ins and outs of different types of hackathons. He even shared what to look for and what to look out for depending on your current skill level and goals. If you've ever considered participating in a hackathon, but have been hesitant about it, this episode is for you.

Host:
Don Hansen - https://www.linkedin.com/in/donthedeveloper

Guest: Monarch Wadia
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/monarchwadia
Website - https://mintbean.io

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Transcript
Don Hansen:

Welcome back to another podcast episode where we help aspiring developers get jobs and junior developers grow today. We are gonna be talking about nothing else, but hackathons and we're gonna be diving into. So let me make it clear. I gotta start doing this in my podcast episodes. So after this episode, I want you to know if you should participate in a hackathon, what you're gonna get out of it. And more importantly, like. Is it even right for you in your journey? And we're gonna expand on all that, whether you're self taught, you know, come from a coding bootcamp, but I brought on a special guest today that has hosted quite a few hackathons in the past. Monarch, would you like to introduce yourself?

Monarch Wadia:

yeah, Don, uh, thanks for having me on, um, I've followed your work for close to two years, uh, year, year, two years now. Uh, it's been a while since we've been following each other and, um, I have nothing, but, uh, the utmost respect for the work that you do. Um, I really, really enjoy listening to your reviews and your interviews about pre camps and pre camp grads. Uh, the fact that you don't pull any punches and you say it like it is, I think is a massive, um, massive, uh, sign of. The kind of work that you're doing? Um, I think, I think you're helping a lot of people and I'm, uh, it's an honor to be on, uh, on here talking to you. I think our missions are super aligned. Um, I guess that's a good segue into who I am and what uh, we're doing at So, uh, we too help, uh, junior developers, uh, in their careers specifically from boot camps. Um, we are a free resource for junior developers. Uh, you come to our hackathons, uh, you compete at hackathons. You hang out in our discord. And, uh, through our process, we help you get noticed for your skills. Um, not just for your paper resume, not just for your LinkedIn, but for your actual coding skills. And, um, we've helped about. I, I honestly don't have the precise number somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000. I don't know how many developers have flowed through because honestly we didn't keep track in the early days. Um, but we've flowed through, uh, 6,000 to 10,000 developers at this point, uh, we have a five, a 4,000 person discord. We have a 4,000 person newsletter and, um, our Twitter and LinkedIn is always growing slowly. Um,

Don Hansen:

okay. All right. Well, thanks for elaborating. Um, so you've, you know, you've seen a lot of different types of developers. That are in different parts of their path, come through to mint being, sign up for your hackathons. Um, and I'm sure they all have different reasons of why they choose to do it. Um, but you also probably get to see these developers kind of moving on, potentially getting developer positions or progressing with learning how to just be a software engineer in general. So I'm just gonna jump right into the question as an aspiring developer. Why should you even consider hackathon? Why should you do it?

Monarch Wadia:

Uh, In many ways. All right. As a, as a junior developer, you're not gonna get real world experience. You're gonna struggle to get that. Um, I'd say 80 to 90% of people coming out of boot camps. Um, their first struggle after boot camp is what do I do next? And. When you're in that limbo, it's really easy to get stuck in tutorial hell you know, just download another class. He had another tutorial from whatever tutorial site or, um, it's easy to, um, take the TA route if you're really good and become a teaching assistant at a bootcamp, nothing wrong with that, but it ends up just being a placeholder job. Uh, doesn't really teach you in depth tech skills. Doesn't really push you. Some people get stuck with imposter syndrome and they just don't have any confidence in their skills. Not because they don't believe in themselves, but because they don't know who to compare to. Um, if you don't know if you've been lifting weights for years and years and years, and you've never talked to any other weightlifters, then you don't know how well you're doing. You don't know how, how you know, what your gains are. Uh, you don't know how you stack up compared to other people and a Hacka. Solve all of those problems. So if you don't know what you need to do after boot camp, um, a hackathon will give you that a hackathon will tell you what to do immediately. Um, you will. For a second, have the feeling of, I don't know what to do next because you know that the next hackathon is coming. You gotta prep for that. It's like a, it's like a marathon almost. Um, that's why they kind of call it a hackathon. It's a marathon for developers. It's a marathon where you hack a product together. It's a seven day long event, an hour case, some hackathons last for a month. Others last for like a couple of days. but, uh, yeah, like I, I, I think a hackathon can be a wonderful tool. It's not, it's definitely not for everyone. Um, if you have responsibilities at home, a hackathon is definitely something that, um, you know, you have to account for, if you have a full time job, um, a hackathon becomes a second job for the week of the hackathon, so it's definitely intense, but if you. Real world experience. Then a hackathon is about as close as it gets without actually getting a job because you have a deadline you're working in a team, hopefully, or even if you're working solo, um, you have a vague goal and you've been told to go and get it. A lot. It's a lot like most workplaces and it gives you the focus. Uh, you need, it's a commitment device. It gives you the focus you need for that one week or that one month to really put everything aside and just code. Forget about the job applications for that week. Forget about everything. It becomes a place for you to go and just fall into coding and. I I've seen developers come in and get their first flow state experiences at hackathons. Like they never knew they could get into a flow state in a hackathon or in as, as a coder, they enjoy coding, but they never got into like, you know, that four hour stretch after you're doing nothing, but trying to solve a problem or above. They'd never had that. And they finally got that experience in hackathon. Um, I've had developers come in who were in tutorial, hell. They never really built a project from scratch. They came in, um, and they wiped out, you know, they wiped out the first time and then they came back the second time and they did a little better. And then they came back a third time and they did a little better. We do them every month. Now we used to do them three times a week. We do them every month now. So they just come back the next month and they keep working on their skillset. So it's, it's a really good, um, it's like a pickup game, you know, like you, you go and you code and you compete with other developers. It's friendly space. We've made it, we've made it really safe for newbies. So it's not like, you know, you're not gonna go there and just find like senior developers, not like it it's literally says in the title. Um, it's a hiring hackathon for junior web developers. It literally says that in the title. So, um, you're gonna find other people at your level. And you'll see how you stack up where your weaknesses are and, uh, where your strengths are. And you can go from there. okay.

Don Hansen:

I like that. You mentioned, you know, you can kind of wipe out the first hackathon and then just do it again. And you have a better experience because I, I think sometimes when people hear the word hackathon or they're given that advice to do one, they think, well, I'm gonna do one hackathon throughout my job search and it better go well. And I think a lot of people put pressure on themselves for that hackathon to go well, and they have to contribute because no one wants to be that person on the team. That's holding everyone else back. That's the fear. Right? And so I guess for people that are afraid of that, does that match up to reality? Do you feel like there's potentially a, a weak link or do you feel like hackathons are kind of designed to, um, like what, what are they focused on are actually, this is a better question. Are hackathons mainly focused on finishing the product and doing your best to just like, get that team to the finish, uh, line or are there other goals and is the hackathon like designed in a way to kind of boost some of those newbies up?

Monarch Wadia:

Great questions. Um, I think it depends on the hackathon. Not, I think I know it, it totally depends on the hackathon. Um, there's some hackathons that are built for, um, a serious Dean who wants to build, uh, producted seven days and impressive bunch of investors. Um, others are serious competitions. Like some real world money, like $20,000 prizes or $30,000 prizes. And yeah, you bet like people over there they're, they're, they're competing to win and, uh, bunch of shenanigans could happen, you know, like in, in that environment. And, um, if, if you screw up in that kind of environment, it's it's yeah. Like it's terrible, but again, depends on the kind of hackathon. So, uh, we built mint being. Specifically to help developers out of boot camps. And when we designed it, we went through because after a hundred hackathons, you kind of learn a thing or two, uh, we quickly figured out, um, thing X, Y, and Z was bad. So in the beginning, we quickly figured out that for us having even a single dollar of cash prize, Um, completely changes the nature of our hack fun. Like all of a sudden it goes from let's build, um, a product together to let's build a product against starter people and it becomes a battle. So if we didn't want that feeling at all, everybody's new, it's supposed to be a safe space for learning. And we got rid of the cash prices. Uh, like, no, we don't want that. Um, it's weird. Like, uh, the minute we got rid of cash prices, everybody started collaborating. They started working with each other. They started, uh, helping other teams, you know, like you're tired, you're wiped out. Somebody, somebody asked questions and other team members will come to you from other teams and say, oh yeah, this is interesting. But you could have. This way instead. So it's a totally different experience. It's way more collaborative. And you can probably like an hour hackathon. It's about the learning experience. So if you wipe. that's fine. There's no consequences. If you screw up in your team, there's stuff that, uh, there's always room for writing documentation or building, uh, marketing sites that we've, we've woven these, these ways to engage, uh, less experienced developers so that even if the less experienced developer comes in and a team, they have a space and they're not gonna be just dead. Uh, a lot of hackathons. Don't do that. A lot of hackathons, just focus on, get an MVP belt who cares about the marketing, who cares about the documentation, but we found that, um, just it's, it's not just about your heart skills, you know, it's, it's also about your, your inner confidence and way you look at yourself. Another thing that we found out was if you wiped out in hackathon and you didn't submit a lot of people just felt like. Like it was just, you know, I knew I couldn't be a developer. I knew this whole bootcamp thing was a scam and they just feel really bad about themselves. But, um, we started building more mechanisms to make sure that even if you do wipe out, it's you, you know, that it's not, you, it's just, you need more work on your skills and it's safe to come back. Kind of like if you can't wait, uh, if, if you can't lift, um, you know, a, a 20 pound dumbbell and do eight drops with a 20 pound dumbbell, um, that's. That's not like it's not your fault. It's just that you're early on in your journey. And everybody at min recognizes that.

Don Hansen:

Are there any differences between the experience for self-talk developers and coding boot graduates? Cause I know you, you definitely, um, are in favor of coding, bootcamps, and I, I know you, you talk about them a lot and. I can tell you, you know, I've, I've worked with a lot of self-talk developers and you know, that just can't afford a coding bootcamp, unfortunately. And, um, one thing I notice more way more people give up with the self-taught path. Right. And so I can see a lot of self-talk developers coming into these hackathons discourage already. Like I'm am I really meant to be a developer and they use this like this moment, if one failure happens, Like you said, I'm not, I'm not ready to become a developer. I'm not meant for it. And so, you know, I think hackathon's a really cool tool to build confidence, but would you say, um, there's a difference between what self-taught developers can get out of it and coding bootcamp graduates can get out of it or usually do

Monarch Wadia:

I, I don't see a fundamental difference between self drive developers and boot camp decks because. It's just about the packaging that, that the knowledge is delivered in. Um, I, I don't see a fundamental difference between university dev bootcamp, dev self talk devs. It doesn't matter to me. And it doesn't matter to the format of the hack on what does matter is where you are in terms of skill level. So if you are, um, if you're. Just starting off. You barely know what CSS is. JavaScript is like a scary thing. Yeah. The hackathon's probably a bit too advanced for you, but if you know how to put together a J app and you're a self proud developer, you don't know anything about, you know, backend, you don't know anything about anything, except I know how to build a J app and deploy to get help. Cool. Then come in and do it. So it's not about whether you're a boot camp grad or not. It's more about. Do you feel like you can put together a basic product? And by basic, I mean, literally, like it could be a three page website and you know, a little bit of JavaScript. Um, but yeah, like, uh, I don't know if that answered your question cause I'm a self taught dev and I, there are definitely differences in their learning journeys, but I don't know if I answered your question fully the way you wanted me to.

Don Hansen:

No, that's fine. I, I think you still shared your perspective on the topic because, um, and I agree with you there. I mean, there really isn't a big difference between the two, there's so many different paths to becoming a software engineer, but I do, um, and I, I, maybe that maybe that's a message to like really hone in on, because I do see a difference in confidence level with self-taught devs and coding bootcamp grads, um, on average, but you know, like you said, you're all just aspiring developers. Like you're just taking different paths to get there. Um, and I think that message. Yeah, I think that answered my question actually. So, you know, going back to like beginner developers, Um, you know, your hackathon really focuses on making it very beginner friendly. Um, let's move outside of mint being for a second, just in general. Sure. Cause there's tons of hackathons out there. If you're a beginner, you're a little intimidated by the process and you just wanna grow as a developer, you know, get a project done as he beginner. What specifically should you look for in a hackathon? That's going to be the right fit for you.

Monarch Wadia:

any indicator of prerequisite skills, any, to be honest, you don't know until you jump in. That's the nice thing about our hackathon is it's a set format and it's pretty standard. So when you come to , you know what you're getting, but with other hackathons, Nobody really advertises for a specific audience. Like the way we do cuz most hackathons don't really care about the audience. Most hackathons care about the outcome. So there are innovation hacks, uh, where they want you to take an API, a brand new API from a startup and they want you to. Build, whatever you want on top of it. And then they'll take those learnings and they'll improve their API product. Um, in that setting, most of the time, they don't really care about the audience. They just want a bunch of people to come in. And the goal is to, um, incentivize people with cash prizes to build something cool. So we can learn from them. Um, from the organization's perspective, every hackathon has a different person, a different purpose. So. If you're gonna go for hackathon. I think any student hackathon is probably a good bet. Um, any hackathon I think you should look out for who's hosting the hackathon and what that organization's purpose is. Uh, if it's a student body and it's, um, you know, come and builds as something on top of the API and we're being sponsored by all these companies, then, um, it's pretty good. There's a pretty good chance that other students will come to that hackathon. Um, Specifically hackathons for junior developers are a little difficult to come by because frankly, um, most companies don't really care to engage junior developers. It's just, uh, part of the bur system that we live in. Um, for some reason, this entire economy does not want to invest in junior developers and I can go into the whys and whats and hows. And I'm sure you have thoughts about that too, Don, but. I I think, uh, I'd, I'd love to hear about other junior dev hackathons. If anybody over here wants to hit me up and tell me more about other junior dev hackathons. I would love to learn about those.

Don Hansen:

Okay. All right. That sounds good. You put that request out there. You might just get it. So I appreciate your asking. So who aren't hackathons for? What are some reasons why you like a hackathon might not be the right fit for you at this time?

Monarch Wadia:

Uh, All right. So hackathon is intense. Um, if you can't take the intensity for whatever reason, either you have a family to take care of at home, or you have, um, a full-time job, then a hackathon is going to drain you of energy. And if you can't take that, then don't go to the hackathon. You know, like it is in dance. minting hackathons are semi intense. Like, uh, you can get away with 20 hours in that week. Um, a lot of people do 40 hours for that week. Um, but in other hackathons I've seen, I've seen hackathons where it's like 40 hours over a weekend. You know, all you're doing is coding for Friday through Monday, and you're trying to, um, push out this product. Uh, so, so depending on the hack fun, you go to. For mint being, you would probably wanna put aside for the whole week 20 hours or maybe 40 hours that he can swing it. So even if you have a full-time job, it's a commitment, but it's not like a massive commitment. That's one reason, another reason. Um, if you don't, if you don't want to work with other people and be in a social setting, You don't go to cause it's an extremely social event. Like people are gonna come up to you, ask you how you're doing or ask you if you need any help they're gonna, they they're gonna want help from you. They might ask you for tips. They might ask you about your source code. Um, you're gonna be putting your product out there and. If you come in with a mindset of, I don't want to fail in public, then you're not gonna enjoy yourself. Like you need to be able to fail in public. You need to be able to build in public. Um, and you need to be okay with, uh, wiping out. So if you have that mindset, if you have that growth mindset, then hackathon is for you. If you don't have that growth mindset, it may or may not be for you. I'm not saying that, you know, you have to be a masochist to go to a hackathon. It's not like that. But, um, if you, if you have. If you have trouble, you know, if you, if you don't have the confidence to put yourself out there and build something in public and be okay with failure, then maybe work on your confidence a little bit, because chances are, um, with us. If a thousand people come to the hackathon, then I would say immediately like 70. Like 700 people just won't even show up on first day because they see it and they get screwed or life intervenes, um, off the 300 people or so, or 400 people are. So roughly speaking, um, who go on to the next stage, uh, which is actually doing that fun. Um, I'd say half of them wipe out and they don't submit. And of the people who submit. Half of those people submit something that's clearly broken and that's okay. Um, like that's totally fine. That's like a massive achievement compared to wiping out. So we celebrate those, um, and of people, uh, who submitted a hackathon and did really well. They've already put in like a lot of them stuff I've been working on their skills for a year. Some of them have been working on their skills for two years. Some of them have previous skills and previous experience that help them. Um, so it's a grab bag, but it's definitely a mountain that you have to climb. And if you can't climb it the first time around, come back the next month, try it again. Cuz you've probably learned something you didn't know before. So it's, it's an iteration like you have to, you have to come back again and again one month keep trying it and then every time you try it, you're gonna learn something. You're gonna figure out your weak spots. You're gonna get new friends. You're gonna build your network and you just come back. Uh, I had a story actually about one guy. I've tell the story really often. He, um, he joined one of our early hackathons. He joined back, uh, just after the pandemic started and. We had about 50 people or a hundred people back then, I, I actually had one on one relationships with everyone. Like all of our contestants now we're getting like thousand people. So I can't really have like one on ones, but I still keep industrial people. But back then, it was way more like, like I knew every single person, my first name and this dude came in and he messages me halfway through that on, um, and he says, Hey, Mon, I. I'm sorry, I have to drop out. And I said, what do you mean? He said, I can't get this app to work. I don't think I'll be able to get it to work in three days. And it is just showing a blank screen. I said, don't worry about it. Can you try and deploy the blank screen? He said, that's another problem. I don't know how to deploy. So I said, okay. go to get up pages. Here's a link to the documentation for how to deploy the, get up pages. You have a single page that you're gonna deploy. All I want you to do is forget about your bugs. I want you to deploy that one broken application bugs and all, I just want you to deploy it, to get up pages. Can you do that? I can try. And he did it, he deployed it. Um, and he came to me and said, Hey, Mon, I deployed it. Um, I said, all right, great. He said, do I win a prize? I said, no, you don't win a prize. How do you feel? He said, I feel great. I've never deployed an application to the web before ever. And this is the first time I've done. It is broken, but now I know how to do it. I said, great. Come back to the next half. And this is back when we were doing one half pound a week. Uh, we hadn't quite done three hackathons in a week. It was one hackathon a week. So I said, come back, uh, come back and, you know, come back from the next week and do it again. And next time, what I want you to do is ignore the, the feature requests, ignore the feature set that you're supposed to build instead, just build. A simple counter, like, you know, difficult, hello, world style application, you press a button and a counter goes up, um, like click one, click two, click 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, click. That kind of simple app. I said, can you do that? He said, yeah. And I said, can you deploy it? He said, probably he goes and he deploys. It comes back the next week says, Hey, Mon, uh, I did it. Um, and I did it signed for the half phone submission. I said, great, come back next week. And this. Attempt the problem. And this went on. So the next week he attempted the problem and he built an actual application. The week after that he built a better application and a fifth hackathon back when we actually had a, you know, um, winner runner up second runner up, he won the hackathon the fifth time around. This guy who five weeks ago, couldn't even build an application without a bug. He won the fifth hack on, and that was dramatic in about two months after that he found his first job being $70,000 a year. And that just blew my mind. That was early on. That was like, The first validation that I got for, yeah, this is stuff that's helping people. And this is stuff that I need to do more of forget the money. We'll figure out the monetization. We'll figure out the revenue model, but this is stuff that's helping people. And that's when I figured out, alright, this is, this is something that I wanna do.

Don Hansen:

That's gonna make you feel really good to see that progress.

Monarch Wadia:

Oh, hell yeah. Hell man. Like, like imagine going, you know, gemology I never go to the gym and I'm using gemology um, yeah. Imagine, imagine this run kit coming in with no muscle mass never worked out in this entire life. Barely knows how to, you know, hold the dumbbell and you're not training him. You're just styling him, dude. Go read this, go do that. That's an effort in, I have an eye on you and I know you can do better. I, I think all I gave him was somebody who believed in him. Honestly, that's all I gave him. Um, somebody who told him, look, I have like, I'm gonna keep you accountable in a very lightweight way. Just go do this, this, this, this, this, I, I laid out the patch for him and he got those results and it was all his work. I, I take zero credit except for being somebody who was there as an emotional support and somebody who built the hat front, like it was that. It was that guy's effort. It was that guy's smarts. Um, and yeah, like this happens every hackathon though, like this happens every single hackathon, like somebody comes in, they have never been able to deploy something. And, um, now we're kind of more sophisticated. We know how to do Orell and amplify, so we can, we can show you how to deploy something to Versace, like this, get next to S put it up on Versace. It's easy as buy and boom, you ever first app and, and those little. Those those little moments of a senior developer, I E me coming in and helping you as a junior developer, deploy something in a workmanlike way. It's the biggest, um, I wish I had that. I used to go to Starbucks and secretly watch other people code. I mean, that's what I used to do. And I drink my coffee. I'd sit like a creep, right behind some person who was coding and I'd watch their screen back then it was like, what was it? I think it was sublime text and I'd watch them on sublime text and I'd be like, whoa, pretty colors. I wonder what that stuff does. And now with the internet, you know, you can have a senior engineer actually taking time out for a whole week to help you and a bunch of other people, um, build something cool. Yeah. There's, uh, I, I think, I think there's value in that and I think there's, uh, a lot of people have benefited from it and I think a lot of people will benefit from it. Um, but yeah, like honestly, uh, the way I look at my work is I'm just hacking the system so I can help other people, like if I can, if I can earn just enough money that I can justify not having a consulting job and earning however many S of money that, that I can earn. That's a win. Are we there yet? No. Are we earning a hell of a lot of money? No. You know, we to earn a hell of a lot more money as a development firm, but this is, this is better. Like, I feel like I'm doing the work of God. Like it feels good. So that, that's why, honestly, that's why I'm doing it.

Don Hansen:

You sound fulfilled, you sound like you found a, a purpose that speaks more to you. So I'm, I'm excited for you because a lot of people don't find. Um, wow. Just kind of processing everything. That's um, that's a really powerful story. And I mean, even, even if you think about it outside the context of a hackathon, that's still a really inspirational story. And I feel like, I feel like people, I, I do, I feel like a lot of aspiring developers give up too much and they don't really. Recognized the little wins and you got that developer to recognize a little win. Just even deployment just seems like this, like really scary, scary thing that I have no idea how to do. And just like. Getting them to finally accomplish it. And they realize, oh, this isn't that bad. That's I mean, that's what coding is. It's like, you, you realize how little, you know, but then you learn something new and you're like, oh wow. I thought only brilliant people knew this. I could learn this. This is kind of cool. And you keep going it's so it's little wins that count. Um, so I, I think that story is gonna be really inspirational for people, but I have one more question. Hmm. So a lot of people here. Hackathons are meant, um, or can help you find a job. And sometimes you hear about like hackathons bringing in potential employers, recruiters, stuff like that. Um, can you elaborate on that? Do you feel like that's what hackathons are for and, uh, what, like what kind of hackathons will focus

Monarch Wadia:

on stuff like that? there are hackathons that are hiring hackathons like ours, like that, that concept is not unique in any way. Um, what mint is doing, it's helping people and we cater to a very specific audience and it's very much focused around that audience. Like we know what junior developers want. We know what they, what, what they really. Need, and those are two different things and you have to kind of, sometimes you have to understand what they want and then try and diss them from doing what they want and do what they need instead. Like don't do, don't do tutorials, that kind of stuff. Um, but yeah, I mean, I mean, you know, we bring in recruiters like, uh, we had, for example, Datadog, um, come in last week, uh, last, how long has it been since eon. Uh, I guess, I guess last, yeah, holy crap. It's only been a week. So last week we had Datadog come in and Datadog hired 122 boot camp grads in two years. And they were really excited, um, to meet other, uh, boot camp grads at a networking event here. Um, that happens quite a bit. So we bring, we bring recruiters in, we bring. Engineering managers in and I have my, my own network, uh, my own steadily growing network of startups and of, um, uh, companies who wanna hire a good junior developer. Um, so for us, absolutely like if you come to NPI, absolutely. Like it's an opportunity and. You don't have to treat it like an opportunity. You can treat it like a video game, but if you treat it like an opportunity, then doors will open. But not every hackathon is like that. So a lot of hackathon, again, it's all about the prize money. Um, let's build an AI tool that detects cancer. Hey, there's a place for that. That's useful, but it won't help you go and find a job like recruiters. They have this guilty urge to go to hackathons that they never indulge in, like recruiters rarely go to hackathons like they do, but they recognize it as a little probability, low volume thing where, okay. Maybe I'll find some, somebody, maybe I won't a lot of, a lot of CEOs go a lot of CEOs go because if you're in a startup and you're looking for a good engineer, then Acton attracts bunches and bunches of developers. So depending on the kind of job you want. Uh, a certain hackathon maybe for you. So for us, it's specifically for web development and for us, it's specifically, you know, JavaScript full stack me stack Python on the back end or Java on the back end. Uh, typical bootcamp grads. So, so it's specifically for boot camp grads for us, but you, I mean, you know, if you're a data scientist and you see a data science hack drawn, um, and you're it interests you. You know, you have nothing to lose and the opportunity might approach you indirectly. It might not be as a result of the hackathon. It more often than not, it'll be, oh, I built something cool. I talked about it on LinkedIn and holy shit. Somebody, somebody contacted me from LinkedIn because of the work I did that. The hackathon. Holy shouldn't. So it's, it's not really about, it's not really about I'm going there to meet people. It's more about I'm going there to have fun and build stuff. And. If you build that they will come. Okay.

Don Hansen:

I think, I think everything that you had to say, I think it's gonna give a lot of people a lot to think about. And I think you did a good job of describing different aspects of different hackathons. And I, I think a message that I got is how kind of unique and diverse hackathons really are in. The purpose is what drives them too. And, you know, I, I didn't really even think about it like that. Cause I, I would look at like indicators of certain hackathons where I didn't think it'd be a good fit for someone, but like just diving into the initial purposes that influences everything that that hackathon has become. I think that's a really good piece of advice. Now. I love everything that you said. So I'm gonna put you on the spot one more time for those that are a little bit hesitant to joining a hackathon, what would be one final piece of advice you would have for someone like that?

Monarch Wadia:

Um, If you're a web developer or a designer, uh, come to Minons, you don't have to submit, um, you just sign up, you come in and if you decide you wanna drop out, drop out, but give it a shot. Um, dip your toe into it and see if you like it. It's, it's definitely something that's. Um, a little, a little bit putting yourself out there. It's definitely something that'll push you beyond your comfort zone, but if you're listening to Don and if you're a bootcamp grad, which most likely you are, if you're listening to Don or junior developer, then you're used to putting yourself out there. You're used to doing stuff that's new and that's intimidating a little. Learning software development, learning anything really is you're you're gonna push the envelope of it. And you can look at a hackathon as a slightly more, not varied, but slightly more intense version of that, where you're just gonna put yourself so out there that you won't have a recipe. You won't have a tutorial to guide you, but you'll have a clear direction in which to go. You won't have, um, you won't have a community. That's um, familiar to you, but you'll be entering a new community and learning new ideas. So don't look for the familiar, you go to hackathon because you want the novels of the experience you go there because you want to learn something new, meet new people and push yourself in ways that you never even thought you could push yourself. So going with that open mindset and going with the mindset of. If I fail no big deal and you'll be fine. Just be easy on yourself. Be kind to yourself. I personally, I don't think I've ever grown by being mean nor, you know, just being mean to myself. I, I have never grown. I've always grown, uh, the gentle way. You know, just put myself out there. If I wipe out that's okay. If I do well that's okay. No big deal either way. Just, uh, focus on your mental health and your sanity first and go in there with no expectations and it'll be good for you. I promise. All

Don Hansen:

right. I like it. Monarch, thanks so much for sharing this with us. I really appreciate that. Um, you clearly have a lot of expertise in this area and you know, I'm excited for you because, you know, you mentioned something important. You, you found your purpose, you found something that, you know, fulfills you at least more than what you were doing previously and, you know, whatever that evolves into, you know, we'll, we'll find out, but I, I am excited for you and that's it. That's the end of the podcast. So before I. if people wanted to reach out to you. Cause I know you had, uh, an upcoming event that you wanted to shout out, but if people wanted to reach out to you and connect it to you and anything else you wanna share, feel free to share

Monarch Wadia:

it. Absolutely. Um, I accept each and every connection, uh, that I get. So, if you reach out to me on LinkedIn and connect with me, I will accept you and you will be part of my network and we can stay in touch. Um, I love hearing people's stories and I love hearing where you came from. So don't be, don't be one of those blank connects actually send me a message. Tell me a little bit about you and I would love to meet you, um, on LinkedIn. You can find me at, um, well, my full name, obviously the Monarch Wadia, it'll probably be on the show notes. On Twitter, it's the same thing. So it's Monarch one word. Um, and most of all mint bean.io is my it's my company's website. So that's mint as a minty be as in coffee beans. So mint bean, we should really, really get into the coffee business. Cause I think minty coffee beans might be great swag just to sell. Um, but, uh, yeah, mint IO and uh, the next hackathon is. A great way to meet me. Um, I am 100% present over there during hackathons. I. Everything off. And all I do is just help people for that whole week. So, uh, come.io. Um, if you're a JavaScript developer, I'm pretty damn good at JavaScript. Doesn't matter front and backend, whatever. I'm good at Java, I'm good at Ruby on rails, or at least I used to be. Um, so if you, if you have any interest in any of those, then I'd love to meet you, even if you don't have interest in any of those would love to get to know you. And, um, yeah, I mean, it's normally free. Uh, you don't charge anything. so.io, the, the next hack gone, uh, is the hiring hackathon for junior web devs. It starts November 16th at one o'clock Eastern. And it runs for a week until the 23rd, um, this time for the first time we're inviting UX, UI designers. So. Uh, you can have teams of up to three people up to two developers and one UX, C UI designer. So bring yourself, bring your friends, bring other people who you think can help you design. And, uh, we already have 383 attendees. So even if you don't have anybody, um, to attend it with, uh, we have a, we, we have a channel on our discord where you can find other people to do the hackathon with. And I would absolutely love to, um, have you over here. Um, it's a big party and everyone's. Okay.

Don Hansen:

And I can, um, I'll just kind of toss this out there as well. I have people that are in my community that have said, uh, nothing but kind things about your hackathons. So they've, they've definitely preached it. I I've honestly not. Haven't gotten any negative comments about it. I might, you know, Your program, isn't gonna be perfect. Just like any other program, but I mean, so far I've gotten a lot of good comments. It sounds junior friendly. Sounds very beginner friendly. It sounds welcoming. Um, so yeah, consider if you like are on the edge and you're hesitant about joining a hackathon, try limping, see if it's for you. Um, or just use the advice to try. Hackathons in general. I think hackathons in general are really good for aspiring developers. So, but if you have any questions, um, if you're on YouTube, leave them in the comments below, but Monarch, thanks so much for coming on and doing this. Uh, yeah, I appreciate

Monarch Wadia:

you. Thank you, Don. Um, love what you're doing and love the fact that you're helping bootcamp grads. I think this industry needs all the help we can get, and I'm glad that you're, um, with me in this industry and we're both working towards that goal. Um, there's, there's more I can say about bootcamps, but Hey, you know, it's, uh, it's an exciting, it's an exciting time to be alive. I think. And boot, camp's just such a great way to break into the industry and, um, I appreciate you for all the work you do, keeping boot camps, honest and. Uh, making sure that people have very accurate information about the industry. It is early days and there are CJD that we go on need to see everything.