Hackathon? But I’m Not A Developer And I Work From Home...

by Cate Whiteside

Posted September 10 3 min read

My role as an International Training Consultant means that I spend a lot of time working either in our offices around the world or developing and delivering material from home (I live in Northampton, UK). I am a subject matter expert for the Aftersales areas of Autoline and before taking this role at CDK I was an end user at a Mercedes-Benz customer in the UK. My skills are as a front end user and obviously now someone who can transfer knowledge successfully.

On two occasions I have joined a Hackathon team and both times I feel my contribution was valuable and my skill set complimented the others in the team.

The first year I wanted to join in I had a look through the submitted projects and there was one in particular where I felt I could contribute. It was made up of employees based in both Hungerford, UK and Hyderabad, India. After my Manager confirmed that I could take part in the Hackathon, I didn’t consider anything other than basing myself with those in the team in our Hungerford office. The camaraderie in the office at both locations was great fun and certainly kept me awake – along with the deadlines to the milestones our team were looking to achieve over the 24 hours.

The second year I was able to join I again looked through the projects but the only one I could see myself adding value to was a team where everyone else was based in Hyderabad. I had no other reason to visit that great office unfortunately so I was left with a choice of either working remotely with them from our Hungerford office or working from home. 

I chose home. I found a world map and also printed pictures of Hyderabad to go on my office wall to help me feel as though I was with my team. My family thought I was crazy... especially when they walked past my office and saw me having stand up meetings over WebEx.  I loved that and it was a first for me as I'd never had a stand up meeting before! I fixed up a great stash of healthy and unhealthy snacks to keep me going through the night – and I did. Staying awake was easy when you are working as a team.

I honestly don’t know which experience was better even though one resulted in a share of the overall winners trophy! I do know though that a non-developer and a home worker can join in on the Hackathon, contribute and have a great time working nonstop for 24 hours!  

My advice to people in a similar situation would be to go a little crazy and look at this year’s projects. What can you achieve?


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