A hackathon is a competitive event in the tech world where participants come together to create solutions for specific pre-given challenges. A hackathon can focus on programming, coding, software development, or any other area within the vast world of tech.
Hackathon events typically have a time limit, whether a few hours or several days. The goal is to assemble a group of skilled individuals and challenge them to work intensively on a project, either individually or in teams, often without sleep, to solve the given challenge.
Hackathons sometimes aim to develop prototypes, create new applications, or improve existing ones. The endpoint is that after working on the task, it is usually presented to a panel of judges, who will now examine the different works and determine the winner based on the creativity and functionality of the solutions.
Universities, companies, organizations, or individuals typically organize hackathons. Regardless of the organizers, the goal remains to foster a healthy and competitive environment for participants to collaborate, learn, and create solutions within a designated time frame.
An organization for its employees usually hosts an internal hackathon. An internal hackathon aims to foster unity among the staff while making them come up with fresh ideas for tackling a problem in a lax environment.
Organizations for outside competitors organize external hackathons.
Its goal might be to solve a problem or identify potential new employees.
Hackathon planning can be rewarding, as it connects you to young and creative minds whom you can relate to and learn from, thereby expanding your knowledge and skill set.
As exciting as organizing a hackathon might be, it requires planning. While there isn't a specific formula for organizing a hackathon, certain planning processes are crucial when preparing for a successful hackathon event. Below are five non-negligible processes worthy of note.
The goal and theme are the first things to sort out when planning a hackathon. The hackathon theme and goal must go hand in hand.
Is your goal of hosting the hackathon to foster unity among your employees or to seek a solution to a challenge in any field?
Whatever the goal is, your theme should be in line with it. The hackathon's theme might be on health, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, or even blockchain technology.
The date and venue of the hackathon is the next step worthy of note when hosting a hackathon.
Thankfully, a hackathon doesn't always have to be done in a room, it could also be an online hackathon. Most hackathon organizations prefer hosting virtual hackathons, as this helps eliminate the cost of getting a venue and increases the range of people that can participate. People from different continents can participate in a virtual hackathon from the comfort of their homes, provided the date and time are convenient.
Although your hackathon might be divided into teams, as an organizer, you also need a team to work with.
Setting up a team and delegating different functions to them will help ease the burden for you. From setting up a transparent panel of judges to the contestant selection process to marketing, your team can help you sort out these functions.
If you feel overwhelmed by the process, some great hackathon platforms can help you set up your hackathon. You just reach out to them, give them your hackathon ideas, and they will serve as your team.
Budget is also a huge factor that determines how to run a hackathon. Your budget determines the venue, meals, drinks, prizes, etc.
The rules of the hackathon are as crucial as the event itself. Establish clear guidelines that must be strictly followed during the competition.
Preparing for a hackathon might appear daunting to individuals, but it can become more manageable with proper preparation.
Your first goal for participating in any hackathon should be to acquire knowledge. Sure, you are going there to compete, but if you condition your mind on winning alone, you might tense yourself up.
The fact that you will learn does not exempt you from preparation.
In addition to showcasing skills, most hackathon organizers appreciate confident contestants. Since you are prepared and have conditioned your mind that it is a learning process, why not do so confidently?
To wrap it up, a hackathon is an exhilarating learning event that brings people from near and far to test their ability to develop solutions to problems in a fast-paced environment.
A hackathon is a good way of expanding the knowledge and skill of everyone involved, from the organizers to the contestants, and even the audience and judges, as different methods and approaches to a certain problem are displayed.
As a hackathon organizer, it is important to set up a healthy competitive environment, as we need healthy and not toxic winners in our society today more than ever. Strict guidelines should be put in place to put everyone in check.
Remember, the goal is to provide equal opportunities for everyone to showcase their skills and knowledge, so the rules should be unbiased.