Re-post: Open Hacks - A new approach for learning

Original story published on Medium.

I was recently invited to be a proctor on an event called “Containers Open Hack” where anyone could gain practical knowledge or orchestration and containers (e.g.: Kubernetes or Service Fabric). TL;DR: OpenHacks are hands-on, challenge-based approach for learning a new technology. There’s no slide decks, no spiel, no fluffiness - this is the real deal folks. The event was free and you can learn more about it here: https://www.microsoftevents.com/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x3875203abcd

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Talk to me about it.

I initially wasn’t sure what I signed up for but after at the end of it I have to say: What an awesome experience it was ! The teams are formed with folks that do not know each other, coming from various walks of life (some are software engineers, others IT pro’s). Because there are no right or wrong answer to a challenge, it is up to the team to come up with a solution that fits their need. And this is awesome as it mimics real life and not a textbook.

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In all Theory, the actual Practice is quiet different

Have you ever been into a class, training or presentation where the solution being describe is overly simplified and will only apply lightly ? Put it differently: Most of the training that I’ve done will describe a solution to a problem that is quiet frankly unreal and watered down. This is what makes an Open Hack different. The challenges here are very close to what you stumble upon in real life. As the teams progressed through the challenges, what initially seemed easy (for some) become a true blocker.

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Again, this is similar to what you’d see in real life - and yes, you can use Google to try to “find” your answer but that by itself, as we know, won’t suffice. You have to work towards A solution and not to THE solution - as it turns out.

3 Key Takeaways

  • There’s no right or wrong questions or answers - Like in real life, you will approach problems at a different angle.
  • Everyone “wins” - There’s no loser here. We all win (some of us prizes, but all of us, knowledge).
  • It’s refreshing, dynamic and paced (at your team’s pace). When working together, the results are amazing.

Next

I can’t praise enough an event like this. If you can, I’d encourage you to go and try it. It is more intense than anything I’ve done before (these will make bootcamps look like a stroll at an ice-cream shop). The learnings and the networking are fantastic! See you in an upcoming event.