The Process

My journey of (seriously) programming started at me horribly failing at a hackathon. I had never used Git before, and my teammate could not quite connect the backend with the frontend of our project. So, coming into my third hackathon at SheHacks V, I felt more prepared with more experience, but I really only had thee expectation of just being able to build something that I was proud of with my teammates.
Shehacks banner
Hackathon banner from  SheHacks website

The inspiration of the hackathon idea came from Bell's prize of creating a project that improves the delivery of medical services to remote communities. Given my general knowledge of recent events and what we had learned in school, we felt the community that fitted this criteria the best was the First Nations community. Additionally, Geotab, one of the sponsors at the event, was offering their telematics data to be used and we thought their data about road safety could be used to help navigate the delivery of these supplies in the safest manner.

I did a data science internship in the past fall and as much as I loved the problem solving skills involved during that experience, I wanted to see if I could "productionize" a machine learning model and have it working in a full-stack web application. I mostly worked on the backend of our application, working with the Google Map APIs, and building the React components need for connecting the backend with the frontend.

Demonstration of BridgeIT
Calculating the shortest distance

I think my proudest achievement was getting the recommendation API to work. It was a mix of calling to a lot of Google Maps APIs, using the Geotab datasets to calculate the shortest distance that did not cross any dangerous driving areas, and training a lot of machine learning models on scikit-learn.

Thinking back, it was pretty surreal to win a hackathon with over 700 participants, but I think more importantly I was able to accomplish what I set out to do: build a project I was proud of and that challenged me to grow as a developer. I think it's pretty awesome to remember where I started off (failing at a hackathon) and to be able to see how far I have come from that experience (eight months later).

Side note: Networking with the sponsors and other female coders were also giant highlights of the hackathon!