A hackathon is a coding and design competition that aims to solve distinct real life problems in creative and unconventional ways. Short devfests usually span one to two days while longer hackathons may last up to two weeks.
There are different hackathons for different themes and some bigger ones even offer various topics and problems to choose from. Those distinct projects are often sponsored by companies or organizations which presents a great opportunity for young professionals to show their dedication to the product and socialize with corporation officials.
Hackathons usually provide a overall theme, either by focusing on technical limitation like working with wearables and smartwatches or by stating a industry sector that presents challenges and possibilities like smart packaging and delivery.
The competitions consist of three main parts:
· Getting to know the topic and problem
· Working within a team to solve that particular challenge
· Jury evaluation and award ceremony of the winning teams
Mixed teams of developers, designers and sometimes marketers start by doing their research on both the hackathon topic and on (technical) conditions and requirements.
This process is supported by mentors, workshops and lectures of experts and sponsor’s employees that provide a basic foundation to work with.
Due to the strictly limited time frame, all participants have to carefully consider and plan how to assign their resources in order to solve the hackathon’s problem.
At the end of a hackathon the groups have to present a working prototype that solves the given problem, convince the jury and outshine the competitors in order to win the prize money!
Taking part in a coding and design competitions provides various benefits - ranging from improving soft skills to winning prizes and contacts.
By working in an interdisciplinary team participants will learn to adapt and consider different views and positions on a broad scope of topics. Skills ranging from leadership, organization, and prioritization are learned to solve real needs of humans and companies.
Technical skills will be improved even further and job prospects and career possibilities are upgraded. Which might start right after receiving the winner’s trophy by corporation’s representatives.
There is also a handy prize money for the winners own disposal - the hard choice follows whether to spend it on instant pleasure or maybe even entrepreneurial adventures.