Advancing your career goals with the Pega Community Hackathon

Ben Baril,

This week we launched our second-ever Global Community Hackathon. As a huge fan of both Pega and Hackathons, I could not be more excited to see all the great ideas and applications that will be built over the next month and a half.

Stephanie Louis did an amazing job outlining a couple of reasons why you might want to participate (aside from the awesome prizes, opportunity to play with new technology and bragging rights). But I would like to focus on an additional reason: hackathons can help you reach your career goals.

The beautiful thing about hackathons

The beautiful thing about Hackathons is they give you an opportunity to step outside of your regular routine and look at solving problems with a different lens.

In my first job out of college I worked for a large bank in Canada. This was my first time interacting with so many people. When I had a question, I often had to look people up to figure out who I needed to ask. That meant using the company’s directory dozens of times a day - which was terrible. This directory was built on Lotus Notes, and it took 20-30 seconds to load the search results … if they ever came up at all. It also meant I had to have Lotus Notes open, which zapped my computer of valuable resources.

Along came the bank’s internal developer hackathon - my first foray into this activity. While many of the engineers worked on pushing the limits of our internal systems, I spent my 24 hours developing a new directory. I used an altogether new technology that had previously been disregarded and had a fully functional prototype at the end. Even though I didn’t win the Hackathon, my project was promoted to production. I was recognized by the company, and now people were using my directory to look me up!

This type of story would repeat itself in my career. Sometimes I would work on cool, new technology. Sometimes I would work with entirely new teams and conversations with team mates would lead me to the next step in my career journey. And sometimes I just got a cool t-shirt and memories. But each time, I found my participation in the hackathon was worth it.

How to make the most of your hackathon experience

Based on my hackathon experience, here’s some advice for making the most of your Pega Hackathon experience

  1. Participate. Whether you find some likeminded colleagues and form a team, or go at it solo, get involved! We have plenty of resources to help you get started, including a free trial system that you can work with, and as well Pega Academy is free to all community members!
  2. Ask for help. Need an idea? Ask around the office for what kinds of common problems your coworkers run into? What problem could you start to tackle that could have an immediate impact? Still struggling to find an idea – we’ve got plenty! Join the discussion at the Pega Collaboration Center.
  3. Take advantage of the Office Hours sessions to help you out if you get stuck.
  4. Show off your work. Present your work to your coworkers, even if you don’t get to finish in time. You might inspire others to help out or be given investment to complete your project and roll it out!
  5. Have fun. Your project doesn’t need to be serious or even useful to be impactful. Just by participating in a Hackathon you are helping your career – by learning and using new technology, by practicing your presentation skills and by looking at how to solve problems in a new way.  

Happy Hacking!

 

 

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About the Author

I am the Director of Technology Strategy, working in Pegas Office of the CTO. I am passionate about technology trends, and helping people and organizations solve problems, and generally make the world work better using software.

Over the past 13 years I have worked with dozens of organizations, guiding them through their digital transformation journeys. I am most comfortable standing in front of a crowd answering questions about our software, roadmap or technology in general. I am originally from Montreal, QC and now call Ottawa, ON home after a brief detour in New York City.