What exactly is a hackathon? Is it anything like a marathon, except that it is all about hacking something and not running? 

Well, not really! 

A hackathon is an event where people from different backgrounds work together to overcome various premade challenges within a specific time frame. The goal? To create a solution or a prototype that solves the problem!

As you can see, hackathons are a great way to drive innovation forward. With big tech companies running hackathons, newer and more fascinating ideas are constantly created, paving the way to a better future.

That said, here's more you should know about hackathons if you are ever interested in going to one.

What are the different types of hackathons?

There are three types of hackathons you will generally find: online, offline, and hybrid.

Online hackathons are digital events that use the online world to bring participants from around the globe to participate, so long as they have an internet connection. On the other hand, an offline hackathon, also sometimes referred to as an onsite hackathon, is an event where people visit a venue to participate in the event. As you may have guessed, a hybrid hackathon is a mix of both online and offline. It can be so that the first stages of a hackathon are conducted online, while the latter or final part of it happens on a set venue.

There are various ups and downs for each type of hackathon. For instance, an online hackathon is much easier to plan and set up, but it may not bring as much engagement as an offline hackathon can provide. On the other hand, an offline hackathon takes a lot more time to set up and conduct properly!

What are internal and external hackathons?

Apart from hackathons being online, offline, or a mix of both, there are also two categories of hackathons: internal and external. This refers to who the hackathon is available to in terms of the company running it.

An internal hackathon is one held for individuals inside a group, such as a business. These hackathons are generally done to bolster teamwork, engagement, and create an environment of creativity and innovation. This also allows individuals to explore other talents or skills they want to prove to the business, allowing the business itself to find ways to maximize these talents.

An external hackathon is one that's directed at outside individuals, meaning that outsiders can join in. A business may run such a hackathon to recruit new individuals, gain traction in the media, or simply create something fun and exciting for the community. In a sense, an external hackathon is still set to benefit the hosters, although in different ways than an internal hackathon!


In summary, hackathons are run by groups to create a collaborative environment where talented individuals get together to solve predefined challenges and create innovative solutions that would have otherwise never been made without such an event. Regardless of the outcome, however, they are a great way to expose people to challenges that will kick-start their creative juices to come up with innovative ideas that can pave the way for a company's future! At the end of the day, it will be the brightest and the smartest that will win a hackathon—but despite what anyone would say, all participants are winners, as they have benefitted from the event in more ways than one.

Hackathon.com offers the largest hackathon community globally, boasting over 10 million members and thousands of organizers to bring people around to put their skills to the test. If you are looking for online hackathons and a thriving community to back you up, connect with us today!