Hackathons are collaborative and competitive events where people come together and build solutions to solve problems around a common theme, with the core of computer programming and go-to-market.
Did you know, the first ever hackathon was held in June 1999 by OpenBSD in Calgary where 10 developers came together to avoid legal problems caused by export regulations of cryptographic software from the United States?
Over the years, hackathons have gained immense popularity in the tech community, owing to the challenges, environment and prizes they offer to the participants.
However, there are more benefits to hackathons than meets the eye.
Every individual who is a part of the event, be it a participant, a mentor, a judge or an organizer, stands to benefit in numerous ways.
Here is a peek at some of these benefits, and how a hackathon can help each role:
Participants are usually developers or students and they’re the ones who reap most out of these hackathons. Apart from the cash prizes and the merchandise, hackathons offer participants an opportunity to:
- Showcase skills: Hackathons provide the perfect platform to compete and showcase skills in front of industry experts and leaders and stand out from the competition. They help give the exposure and spotlight that would have been otherwise hard to gain, especially for students.
- Learn: It could either be a new technology, a new or more optimized approach, effective collaboration, or a better way to pitch- there's always something to new to be learnt at a hackathon.
- Widen network: Hackathons bring like-minded people, with similar interests and goals, under one roof. They provide the perfect opportunity to interact with professionals, mentors or investors, and hence widen personal and professional networks.
- Add weight to the resume: Participation in hackathons looks impressive on any resume, as it shows a passion to code and build solutions, and that there has been experience in working in teams to deliver under pressure.
- Get recognized or hired: Hackathons are a unique opportunity to showcase an innovative idea or coding skills in front of industry leaders, which could even lead to an offer of employment by the organizers or sponsors.
- Make a difference: The themes of hackathons often revolve around common problems faced in the world. Hackathons provide a chance to make a difference and give back to the community, by building solutions that solve these problems, or innovate or improve way of living.
There are over 1000+ hackathons conducted every year around the world and 48.5% of them are conducted by private companies.
Organizers invest a lot of resources into planning, conducting and managing these events, and their efforts bear fruit in numerous ways. The hackathon approach enables the organization to embrace innovation, crowdsource and discover new ideas and also gains them better exposure and brand promotion. Hosting hackathons also helps foster better teamwork among employees, drive innovation internally, and recognize and recruit value-adding people to the company.
Mentors and Judges:
Mentors or judges present in a hackathon are individuals with extensive experience and knowledge in the chosen field for the hackathon. While the mentors guide and help the participants through the hackathon, judges are responsible for rating the solutions and deciding a winner.
Through hackathons, they get an opportunity to share this knowledge and guide the participants, while also discovering new approaches of thinking and ideas through the interactions.
Sponsors, like at any event, stand to gain through hackathons better exposure and marketing, in the form of brand placements, branded merchandise and giveaways.
And like organizers, they too can use hackathons as a platform to recognize and hire talent.
Irrespective of the role, one thing everyone who attends a hackathon can attest to is the rush and thrill of the experience. With the pressure to build and deliver solutions within time, the intense brainstorming and problem-tackling, it is one charged environment. Hackathons are thus a great way to expand on knowledge, experience and opportunities, and altogether a memorable way to spend the weekend.
After 3 successful years of #HackathonPune, e-Zest in collaboration with Fresco Capital is back this year with the #HackathonPune 2019, this time all the more intense and exciting than ever before.
The theme this year is ‘AI for Social Good – in Healthcare, Education, Environment, Agriculture and Government’. The registration link is now out, and we hope to have you join us over a weekend full of ideating, brainstorming, coding and fun.