Bringing top tips and best practices to hackathon organizers and participants worldwide
Hackathons are not single-purpose events, but rather multifaceted opportunities for both the host organization(s) and participants to achieve a diverse set of objectives.
Some of the most common applications for the host(s) include; discovering business solutions, accelerated product/service launch, staff training and engagement, canvassing for new talent, and improved developer relations.
A hackathon is a versatile competition that brings together creative thinkers to solve various problems in a predetermined (typically short) amount of time. There is a wide variety of hackathon event structures but the typical framework is as follows;
The term “hackathon” is an amalgamation (more formally known as a portmanteau) of the words “hacker” and “marathon”.
A “hacker” generally refers to computer programmers, designers, innovators, and other domain experts. The marathon component is derived from the short time frame in which most hackathons are structured. Challenges typically push participants to work for extended hours without sleep in order to complete their prototype.
The term "hackathon" was first coined in Calgary, Canada, on June 4, 1999 for the OpenBSD Hackathon.
Check out our article "What is a Hackathon?".
Typically hackathons run for 24-48 hours depending on the expected outcome, however some extend beyond this typical frame if more extensive prototyping is needed.
Hackathons offer added value to both organizers and attendees. They are a great option when looking to find and assess business solutions, work with startups, train your staff, build a talent pool or launch a new product/service. As an attendee it’s a chance to network with others in similar fields, bring your ideas to life, learn new skills, or push outside your comfort zone and improve your skills.
Each hackathon is unique and may or may not have specific prerequisites. Some events are open to anyone interested, while others may be specific to students, those with particular certifications or credentials, for example. It’s best to explore the guidelines before registering.