Yeah, you heard me right: I'm a coder who has zero desire to ever step foot in events known as "Hackathons". Jeffrey To's article has reminded me that some developers find it puzzling that female developers aren't going to these coding marathons, and he even goes so far as to entice their attendance by describing the dimensions of delectable and datable geeks for our enjoyment. </eyeroll>
Pitchfork-wielding developer dudes, please! I'm not upset with you. I'm actually pretty flattered that you'd like me to come to these events. There's just little in it for me, while you guys get some good publicity with me and my fine lady coder friends in attendance while you take the obligatory geek girls are cute picture. NEXT!
Hear me out here:
- I like coders. All of them. By no means am I putting my lady-coder nose in the air to say we're on different social planes -- I think geek stereotypes are bullshit, and any marketer that references it is out of touch with the industry.
- I love coding culture in New York City. I can't speak for other cities, but I've found people to be extremely friendly and approachable at Meetups, and have regarded me in the same way. Getting developers together to network and spark creativity is a good thing!
- Coding is my day job. I do this for a living, and I take it seriously. I am a good problem solver, a clear communicator, and I really and honestly want to help. (Gut check: This is not the part where I brag about how good my code. Take my word for it. I'M PRETTY GOOD.)
It's really the prospect of spending a whole day of my personal time towards disposible code. I know that some Hackathons' sole purpose is to introduce a new set of API's or an otherwise new framework, and I respect that; I just need to find a tangible motivator to make its investigation worth my time. And other Hackathons offer rewards, and they're certainly full of fun people, but, seriously, coding isn't something I do on the side/in my free time/in a vacuum. There's no amount of free t-shirts, pizzas, or temporal bragging rights that outweighs getting paid to solve real-life problems for people that I care about. And, sheesh, these things go all day and all night! FYI, you'll never see a late-night commit from me, let alone my eyes open after midnight. But, the whole morning-person thing is just who I am; sitting in the same room with people for hours on-end feels more than a little like hazing to me (I was in a sorority, though we didn't haze, holla!). Plus, I've got things to do, like volleyball. And chores and shit. I live alone!
So, seriously, what I'd like the organizers of these Hackathons to do is to look to the future. There will be people interested in your API's or your sparkly-unicorn-infested-Platform-X that not only aren't comfortable with coding for hours on end but actually do not want to. Consider a workshop with a finite scope and timeline! Title it something nifty and succinct, like "Make Your Own Ultra-Doodad through Platform X in 45 minutes!". Treat it like a course where you expect people to pay attention and get something out of it. This, of course, would mean you'd have to treat developers like adults, because, NEWSFLASH, that's my point.