HPE Developer Community Portal

Meet you in the Hack Shack!

Dale Rensing

Prior to the pandemic, developers looked forward to connecting with one another at the HPE DEV Hack Shack at events like HPE Technology and Solutions Summit (TSS) and HPE Discover. Out of necessity for the health and safety of everyone, these events have gone virtual. While there’s some concern that this detracts from the personal touch offered at physical events, the option of going virtual has significant benefits. One major advantage is being able to reach a broader audience than just those folks who can afford to fly into town for an event.

The Hack Shack, by design, is a place where people meet, collaborate, and learn from one another. It’s meant to be a place where innovative thinkers can share their ideas and engage in a bit of camaraderie. It’s also a place where event attendees come to relax and have a bit of fun, participating in competitive coding challenges and games to achieve high scores and win prizes. How does one make all this virtual?

This was the challenge posed to our group of talented developers and designers. And though it’s impossible to say whether we’ve been successful or not with only a week of the virtual event under way, what I can say is that what we have been able to accomplish has been very well received. In addition, the work that we’ve done also puts us in a great position to offer a permanent online Hack Shack, complete with the ability to offer on-demand workshops and challenges, continuing the education of devs, data scientists, and designers around the world.

During the first week of the HPE Discover Virtual Event, we hosted 10 sessions/workshops at the Hack Shack:

Each of the hands-on workshops included a presenter who ran the students through Jupyter notebooks covering the material and a couple of subject matter experts (SMEs) who helped facilitate the sessions and answer questions. The Jupyter Notebook format worked out really well. It provided the students with a fool-proof method to follow along with the instructor, step-by-step, as well as the opportunity to download material for later use.

The workshops were capped for attendance so as to preserve a high-quality interactive experience for the students. The API 101 session proved to be very popular, as well as the one covering how to automate apps with the HPE Container Platform, where a lot of the participants remained thoroughly engaged to the very end and asked a lot of questions.

Because the workshops are done virtually and you’re not physically in the room with the students, we knew it would be difficult to gauge how people felt during the sessions, i.e. if someone was confused or getting frustrated about something. We used a format where students could ask questions and receive help from the SMEs online to try and mitigate this. We also included a survey at the end of each workshop. Answers provided in the surveys will be used to help improve the workshops as we move forward.

It was heartening to hear some of the feedback that the students provided:

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While the workshops are great, there’s a whole lot more you can do at the HPE Discover Virtual Event Hack Shack. Starting Week 2, we will be offering coding challenges where you can show off your coding chops and compete with others for prizes. And we’ll have the Arcade open for those of you who just want a chance to go after the IT Monster in the Hack Shack Attack! game. You can even download stickers! One of the best ways to find out what’s happening in the Hack Shack is to scroll down on our new page and check out our little video tour This Week in the Hack Shack.

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For those of you who are looking for the Hack Shack through the HPE Discover Virtual Event catalog, the way one views what sessions and workshops are available at the HPE Discover Virtual Event has changed since the days leading up to the event. In order to see the catalog and determine what sessions you wish to attend, you must first register. Don’t worry… it doesn’t cost anything. It’s just that, now that the event is running, things other than the catalog take center stage.

When you register, make sure that the password you choose is ALPHA-NUMBERIC ONLY! Don’t try putting in any fancy or special characters. If you run into problems with the registration, there is online chat and the opportunity to email folks who can help. If you haven’t already signed up for them, there are a couple of ways to find the Hack Shack Workshops and Challenges. I’ve found two easy methods you can use to navigate to them.

Option 1
1. Click on this link
2. This should bring you to a screen that looks like what’s shown below. This is where you log in:

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3. Once logged in, you will be brought to a page where you can navigate to the session catalog (Content Catalog). Click on this link.

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4. Once you are in the catalog, search for Hack Shack to find Workshops and Challenges.

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5. You can also use filters looking for Content Type to find the Hack Shack Workshops and Challenges.

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You can also find what Hack Shack Workshops and Challenges are available by navigating through the Hack Shack Lobby. Each week, the lobby schedule will be updated to show what sessions are available for registration. Simply click on the Hack Shack Lobby link to follow the highlighted Steps 1, 2, and 3.

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We hope you’ll take advantage of attending the HPE Discover Virtual Event. It’s free, informative, and chock full of material you just can’t get anywhere else. And we hope you’ll continue to follow us at the HPE DEV site where we’ll be opening up new platform pages, offering more tutorials and blog posts, and work to provide you with a continuing Hack Shack experience!