Want to be the explorer, creator, exploiter in the world of programming and coding? Then, Hack the marathon in the hackathon. You might be thinking “Isn’t hacking illegal?” You should know a hackathon is nowhere close to literal hacking. It is a bunch of developers, software programmers or designers joining hands for a specified period, generally 24-48 hours, to build something awesome. The participants basically try to ‘hack’ their way through the assigned task. It’s a fun environment where teams of 3-5 brainstorm with each other’s brilliant minds to create a virtual reality prototype over the weekend and they have to build from scratch. The goal is to create usable or prototype software. These are wrapped up with a plethora of opportunities for prospects and form an integral part of corporate culture. Not only in technical industries, but they also have a name in the finance, healthcare, education and government sector. They have replaced the age-old tiring campus hiring drama with a new, creative recruitment approach.
What is a hackathon?
Hackathons are like the live band of ideas and performances where participants get a taste of how the future work will look like to them and not forget the recruiters who also an idea of what their best fit might look like.The time limit in a hackathon forces participant to distil their visionary concepts down to actionable solutions. There are various hackathon tools available like:
HackMIT hackathon tools- A list of awesome open-source tools for hackathon coordinators and attendees.Github student pack- If you’re a student, you should already have this free resource pack from GitHub.Flux, vagrant, atom, sublime text, drive, etc. are other software tools which –helps participant in event to effectively work with it.Mettl – it helps to organize, participate and assess hackathon seamlessly with full flexibility.
What are the types of hackathons?
The different types of hackathons are as follows:
- Internal hackathons- conducted by an organization for its employees, within an organization for crowdsourcing ideas, promoting intrapreneurship, or boosting collaboration and employee engagement. Internal or private hackathons give employees the freedom to think outside of the box and pitch their ideas to senior management.
- External hackathons- a company engages people within and outside the organization. The invites are often influenced by the themes and goals that are set. This form of hackathon enables companies to harvest ideas from across the globe.
- Online hackathons- when companies want to engage participants simultaneously across different geographies and time zones to solve a problem or drive innovation conduct such hackathons which are online. Everything from registration to idea submission to judging is done online.
- Offline hackathons- great for driving external developer engagement, recruitment, beta testing of existing products, and innovation of new apps. It is conducted at a physical location.
- Application-based hackathons- based on specific platforms for development like mobile device operating systems, desktop operating systems, video game development etc.
- Hackathons dedicated to a cause- address prominent issues including healthcare, education, and public services, aimed at helping empower people, provides a platform for brainstorming, developing ideas, and building technological solutions to address specific problems in the community.
- Hackathons for specific demographic groups- to engage specific demographic groups like students or women, aimed at building brand awareness and promoting a collaborative culture that nurtures innovation.
- Code Sprints- a programming competition that involves the writing of code to create working software within a specific time frame. These events generally last longer than hackathons, that is, for about one to three weeks.
- Industry-specific hackathons- conducted to drive innovation in specific industries that already have established products and technology.
There are also hackathon software management tools which helps companies innovate through a data-driven and people-centric process. It is a platform to ideate and collaborate on interesting products, solutions, and processes. It also helps companies to crowdsource solutions from internal and external audiences, helping them minimize the time, effort, and capital spent on driving innovation.
Some Do’s and don’ts of hackathon:
- Do limit the event to 24–48 hours to encourage focus and minimize distractions.
- Do make it practical and related to solving real-world challenges.
- Do make it clear if participants need to know certain skills or languages.
- Do have a variety of nourishing options available throughout the event.
- Do expect functional prototypes.
- Do not run a longer event which makes it harder for attendees to maintain concentration.
- Do not make it too specific or too abstract.
- Do not assume that attendees will have the appropriate skills or experience.
- Do not provide just pizza, energy drinks, and water.
- Do not expect developers to become experts in your technology within 24 hours.
They build a bridge to the developer community. For companies whose competencies lie in providing technology solutions, it helps to establish two-way conversations between those that develop the technology and the people that use them. Also, hosting a hackathon or getting involved as a sponsor is an efficient way to deliver more awareness about your company to a prime, target audience – the maker community – and increase brand exposure in the tech world. Participants may find something you never knew you were looking for. This may be using your software solutions to break into new markets or developing extensions that lead to entire new customer bases. A hackathon can build a genuine business case that justifies and facilitates further development and investment in the team that provided the solution. It’s hackathons that come closest to testing a candidate’s capabilities of handling challenges in the workplace as a project-based challenge. It’s challenging for the companies to gain exposure, determine the best talent. Thus, they also recruit people on the basis of hackathons performance. So, if you have your dream company and they are looking for software developers and data scientists in high demand then you must be ready with something innovative to get success.
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