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User Story: Winning first place in one of the most competitive hackathons on Devpost

Get to know Param, the first-place winner of the highly competitive AWS PartyRock Generative AI Hackathon.

Winning a hackathon with over 7,600 participants from around the world is no easy feat. But Param accomplished just that, securing first place in the highly competitive PartyRock Generative AI Hackathon by AWS with his innovative project "Parable Rhythm - The Interactive Crime Thriller." 

We chatted with Param to uncover more about his developer journey, explore how he leveraged PartyRock's cutting-edge generative AI capabilities to breathe life into his creative vision, and gain insights into strategies that propelled him to the top among thousands of talented participants.

What drives your passion for coding and how did you start participating in hackathons?

My genuine passion for coding and innovation stems from the sheer pleasure I experience after creating or building something. It's an incredible feeling when I see someone's problems being solved through the apps I've made.

Throughout the development process, I value the small wins and learnings—getting your idea validated, the rush of finally solving that nagging bug, and so on. These moments inspire me to keep pushing forward, crafting innovative apps using the most suitable technologies.

After completing my AWS certification, I stumbled upon an AWS Twitter post about the PartyRock Generative AI Hackathon. While I had wanted to participate in hackathons, I was initially hesitant about this one since it was a no/low code event, and I was more interested in coding-focused hackathons. However, I thought, 'Why not give this a try?' since it wouldn't be an additional burden to my studies because it wouldn’t require long coding cycles. It would allow me to experience what a global generative AI hackathon is like.

What motivated you to participate in The PartyRock Generative AI Hackathon, and how did you approach the competition?

I was motivated to participate after observing my friends taking part in and winning various hackathons. Seeing their experiences inspired me to join this hackathon primarily for the learning opportunity it presented.

The chance to experiment with Amazon Bedrock's capabilities for building AI-powered solutions for free was itself a great draw. As soon as I learned about leveraging PartyRock to create a wide range of AI-enabled apps with varying complexities, and in a short amount of time, I was instantly convinced of its powerful potential. I realized this hackathon would allow me to explore cutting-edge generative AI tools while developing innovative solutions.

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What strategies did you find most effective to help stand out and secure first place in such a competitive hackathon environment?

During the ideation phase, I wrote down a bunch of ideas that were essentially solutions to problems I had personally experienced. I spent a couple of days identifying and solving problems, knowing that actually building the app would be a breeze with PartyRock's rapid development capabilities. 

After testing prototypes for each idea, the potential of the 'Untitled Detective Game' stood out as the most promising. Compared to my other concepts, this game idea allowed me to stretch PartyRock's limits by utilizing every component and feature it offered.

I tested the first minimal viable product version with very basic features and gradually iterated, adding new components and enhancements that further improved the app.

"A key strategy was avoiding the 'feature vortex' by only implementing the most important elements given the time constraints," said Param.

When creating the demo video, I noticed a standard template being used by many participants, which felt repetitive. So, I decided to think outside the box and produce a trailer-like experience akin to a real game launch. That's how the 'Parable Rhythm' trailer, designed to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, was born.

Finally, having previously studied AWS cloud infrastructure while preparing for my certification helped when writing the prize-winning blog. Even before starting, I had a clear vision of the cloud architecture with Amazon Bedrock and real-world scenarios for the applications that Parable Rhythm is based on.

What advice would you give to developers looking to participate in hackathons or create innovative projects like 'Parable Rhythm'?

When ideating for a hackathon project, try to identify and solve real-world problems that you personally face. There's a high likelihood that many others are experiencing similar issues, increasing the potential impact of your solution.

Once you have an idea, build a prototype with minimal features and test it out to see if it effectively solves the problem you envisioned. Then, be open to feedback and iterate on the app, continuously enhancing and improving it.

Lastly, don't stress out too much. Hackathons are meant to be immersive learning experiences, so embrace the journey, have fun with the process, and let the innovation flow naturally.

"Enjoy the process and don't get too caught up in worrying about winning. The true value lies in learning and gaining experience by perfecting your projects, which goes a long way in expanding your arsenal of knowledge and skills," said Param.

Hackathons are a great way to explore and learn about the latest tech. They also give you the opportunity to connect with a like-minded community, which is definitely a great asset to have. The speed at which you enhance your skills by participating in hackathons and working with cutting-edge tech is crazy fast.

How has winning The PartyRock Generative AI Hackathon impacted your career or future aspirations?

Winning The PartyRock Generative AI Hackathon has brought significant visibility to my work as a full-stack developer and certified solutions architect. It has opened up numerous networking opportunities with industry professionals, potential collaborators, and mentors working in cutting-edge fields.

Most importantly, this win has validated and improved my skills in leveraging generative AI technologies—boosting my confidence in this domain. The experience pushed me to deepen my understanding of generative models, problem-solving strategies, and effective teamwork dynamics. I now feel more motivated than ever to pursue ambitious, impactful projects centered around AI.

Are you feeling inspired to build something amazing? Check out our hackathons happening now!