Many of the events and hackathons were canceled by COVID-19 and this is where online hackathons kind of things kicked in very hard. Yes, I don't have any experience with offline hackathons, I know some of the rules and time periods but for the most, I have only participated in a 5-hour-long offline competition (which I will not call a hackathon). At least I have participated in some online hackathons, so here is my experience with online hackathons.
My first-ever hackathon
The very first hackathon I took part in was the thirdweb-hackathon organized by Hashnode and thirdweb back in January 2022. At this time I was a complete beginner on web3, blockchain, NFT, and other similar kinds of stuff. But I learned to connect my metamask wallet using the @web3-react package. It was a lot of back and forth on multiple tutorials on YouTube. But I somehow figured it out and implemented this functionality. Later I realized it is far easy to connect a wallet with @3rdweb-sdk. I had to rewrite all of those things, it wasn't difficult but I was like
I didn't realize that was just the beginning, I had a lot more stupid problems to face. I was also trying to use tailwind CSS for the first time and I didn't know it was that painful to configure. Anyways, I somehow managed to do that and at this point, I decided to make an NFT marketplace. Trust me I didn't have any idea till this time what I was doing (a regular problem of a programmer😅).
I configured tailwind just because I wasn't motivated enough to start from scratch. So I tried different components from the examples, visited different other websites, and copied code from different projects but still, I wasn't able to get a decent landing page. I don't know where I found the design but I got it and made it my own.
This is what my website looked like after copying the landing page. And yes I replaced the images. Continuously, I kept on creating more fronted routes for different pages.
Thirdweb was really an easy way to enter into web3 development and at the same time, it was hard for me. Up to this point, I was just a copycat who used to just copy the code from YouTube tutorials. I realized this thing when the official documentation was one and the only way to know develop a website using thirdweb. I started going through the documentation and tried different code snippets one after another. Explored some examples they had on their website. I was really tired at some points, but somehow I managed to overcome those down points and completed the website.
I learned if you upload something on the blockchain, it is impossible to delete. There are various things in blockchain and NFTs. I was lucky to learn a lot about these things during this hackathon.
I had to go through a lot of React concepts during the development, some of them I knew already and I just had some revision whereas some of the concepts I learned were completely from basics.
Maybe you are curious about what happened after the submission. Unfortunately, I found that my website crashed after the submission. The deadline was over, I contact the team, and they asked me to try different things. As instructed I tried different things, but it didn't work. One day I got a message telling me to update the SDK, so I immediately updated the SDK then my website started to work just fine. I pushed the code to GitHub. But after a month I found that to make something open source, you not only have to make your repository public but you also need to add a license. And I knew at that point why I was screwed. You can check out my submission and an official announcement of hackathon.
My second online hackathon
Next month in February, hashnode organized another hackathon in collaboration with Netlify. And guess what, I participated and this time I was aware of the license that is why I added the license to the project at the beginning. This time I also had some known competitors and they were my friends from the same class but the team was different. I didn't see any competition between us in front of the whole 150+ submissions.
This time I tried to start the project with Nextjs but I ran into some serious problems and stopped that project and restarted with React and firebase. Again this time I didn't make it to the list. You can find my submission here.
My third online hackathon
This is quite special to me because of some reason which you will definitely find later on. This hackathon is also held on hashnode and sponsored by Hasura. I didn't hear about Hasura before this hackathon so I had to start some research to understand what it is. I searched and I was unable to find the answer, I searched still I was not clear and I watch YouTube videos, still, I wasn't clear. I watched some videos on YouTube then I got some sense of this platform.
Allow me to summarize it in one sentence. Hasura is a GraphQL layered on top of the database which helps us to create customized secure REST API. And I made a REST API using Hasura for the purpose of this hackathon. I succeed and I didn't need to worry about Hasura anymore. Although the hackathon was about Hasura but I didn't need to worry about Hasura anymore. I kept on creating the product, making the front end more attractive.
Do you know that one good thing happened to me after this hackathon, I became runner-up in this hackathon. If you don't believe then here is my submission and here is the result. And I got the swags as mentioned in the official announcement but I didn't get any Hasura credits, maybe they forgot or some other thing happened.
To summarize the whole journey, I got various opportunities to learn more stuffs, explore new technologies and engage with the community. Most importantly I was able to manage some time for these events. I don't know how but I passed two exams during these three hackathons. I have also participated on other hackathon but I didn't find any room to fit that in here so I left it.