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CodeDay Singapore 2022

Date written

20 March 2022

Reading time

6 minutes

On the 12th of March, I took part in CodeDay Singapore, a beginner-friendly event for people from all walks of life to come together to build apps and games. This opportunity presented itself when Sam Poder — an organiser for the event — reached out to ask if I'm interested in taking part a month or two prior. Considering that this was a chance to say hi to him in person, as well as the simple fact that it's really my kinda thing, I said why not?

Prepping for CodeDay

There wasn't a lot to prepare at all for CodeDay, really. The most I had to prepare on my end was to reach out to a few of my friends (which ended up only being two, sadly) to see if they're interested in joining me for CodeDay. They expressed interest in joining, so I was thrilled and looking forward to having some fun taking part.

Keeping up with Sam's occasional updates in his channel in the Hack Club Slack, I eventually got to know that CodeDay is to be held at Project X: Riverside. I was seriously impressed by the choice of the location — an abandoned nightclub turned pop-up cinema right along the bank of the Singapore River at Clarke Quay!

I was hoping that I'll be there with at least someone to support me; considering my large — and sometimes overwhelming — introversion, I'm sure that I'll be a nervous wreck being there alone. Unfortunately, because of schedules with school and all, the two friends I hoped to bring along weren't able to make it.

This is fine

The day itself

When the day itself came, I decided to stop by the library to borrow a book to read. I spent about an hour at the library before taking the train to make my way down to Clarke Quay. Being alone, it was pretty nerve-wracking to say the least. Even with people and signs pointing the way and guiding me to where I need to be, I still felt a little lost and in my head; especially because I was alone.

Admittedly, even finding a seat was a little challenging for me. I figured that I would find a spot to sit at and stay there for the rest of the day. When the time came to take an introductory photo with everyone present during the opening ceremony of sorts, almost everyone waved — of course, I was too nervous to look in time and the photo produced is almost a little comedic — everyone looking like they had a good time while I looked like I was there to win (irony coming in hot!).

A group photo with all the participants of CodeDay during the opening ceremony
I wonder if you can spot where I am?

Working on the projects

Most of the day was spent working on my project, and by all means necessary — even for a beginner event — was what I made the biggest possible dumpster fire of a project. I spent most of the day mostly tense and all because of a lack of familiarity in my surroundings, and I suppose I could attribute that to my no thoughts head empty moment throughout the day. Even so, I learnt two crucial things about ideation:

  1. don't be overly ambitious; and
  2. it's okay to scale down if you think that your idea is overly ambitious.

At first, I wanted to make something with generative art — after checking out p5.js and failing miserably to get CodeMirror to work, though, I ditched the idea. I settled on wanting to create a fun little app where you can work to create encrypted messages to send to others, then letting them have a go at cracking the message. By the time I switched ideas, an hour and a half had passed.

I tried to try new things — after all, that is the point of CodeDay — and tried integrating Supabase into my project. It just wouldn't work, so I switched to Firebase thinking that since I've used it before with iOS, I didn't really need to learn anything new since everything would be the same. Boy, was I really wrong.

Things didn't turn out in my favour by 6:00 p.m., leaving me devastated and two hours left to do whatever I could. I made the decision to throw away using the platforms-as-a-service entirely, and focused on making a local-first project. By the time it was 8:00 p.m., I was defeated when the time had come to showcase our projects and I had done nothing much at all.

Other things that happened

Sure, I was devastated for a bit, but I like to think that everything else that happened throughout the day had balanced the negative parts of the day. I got to talk to someone and help him fix an issue he's been facing for an hour — that felt really relieving, seeing him get elated about his code working! For what it's worth, helping someone to me feels better than being able to do something myself.

Me talking to another participant in CodeDay

Even to my surprise, me chatting with someone during CodeDay.

Throughout the day, three workshops were held. I took part in the first, and I wished that I had the other two as well, much more after what I've learnt from iNTUition v8.0 about wanting to take part in more events during the event. There was also a pretty cool tetr.io tournament, and even though I was quickly eliminated while being blur sotong about the game, it was pretty fun seeing people compete for the throne in Tetris!

A wall with a projection of a Tetris game
A pretty chaotic tetr.io match!

The one other memorable thing that happened was being able to take a selfie with Sam. It felt weirdly surreal to me — almost like a full-circle moment — from first emailing him in January 2021 to being able to see him in person during CodeDay. It felt pretty nice to have little chats with him throughout the day too!

Me and Sam in a selfie
The full-circle moment of a selfie of me and Sam.

Conclusion

A group photo with all the participants of CodeDay during the opening ceremony
A group photo with everyone at the end of CodeDay.

CodeDay was a blast. Being the first CodeDay in Singapore, this year's CodeDay (should there be more) was even more spectacular. Everyone — from the organisers to the staff at Projector X — put a lot of heart and soul into CodeDay, and it was pretty evident. Sure, my lenses may have been heavily tinted with bias towards the organisers (I wonder why?), I think most people had an okay time at the very least.

I'm excited that I got to participate in another tech event that's not a hackathon. Sure, while CodeDay may still be similar to a hackathon in the sense that you're building something, the focus isn't heavy on making. It's more on learning something new, and maybe even getting to know more people. If I were to take a look at what happened from that perspective, then I'd consider it to be a success. Even when ridden with nervousness, I managed to talk to at least someone. I've learnt new things from the failures of my own project that I hope to carry in my future endeavours. Don't forget the pretty scrumptious almost free-flow of food throughout the day; kudos to the organisers for that!

If you're someone like me who's probably a little paralysed by introversion but still is interested to attend events, why not just go with the flow? Try to take part and see things as they come and go. Maybe, like me, it might turn out a little better than you think!