How to

How to prepare for Hackathons ?

How to prepare for Hackathons ?

In the rapidly evolving world of technology, there are many ideas to create a tech product or solution. Yet, we often lack time and resources which can hinder the creation and growth of a promising product. 

To solve this issue, tech companies and organizations host hackathons to innovate, incubate and empower new ideas with industry peers.

Hackathons are events put together to bring the coding community together. It is for a relatively short period of t8me such as 24- 48 hours. The winners of the hackathon will get attractive prize money, laptops etc. 

Hackathons are great opportunities to learn new skills, showcase your work, and connect with other developers, but it is also competitive and often has an accelerated format.

While a hackathon is an environment where you do almost everything on the fly, preparing ahead of time helps to ensure success. If the topic or theme is available beforehand, brainstorm with your team. Be ready with ideas that can be implemented practically fast. 

Hackathons are not an exam where one has to prepare beforehand . It’s more about the passion you have for building something. The biggest thing that might help you in a hackathon is going with a clean slate of mind, without any prior intention.

There are different types of hackathons, like Internal / external hackathon, offline / Virtual Hackathon etc.

Who can take part in a Hackathon ?

Anybody can attend  Hackathons, and oftentimes people are there to learn basics, develop their skills. You don’t have to be a programmer or coder to participate. Students can also participate in hackathons, it’s a great way to develop new skills, improve your team- working abilities and make your CV look more attractive to potential employers.

The most important prerequisite for hackathons is your passion and interest. There is no age restriction to attend the hackathon. In case you are under 18, your parents/legal guardian should contact the hackathon to request a waiver authorizing you to attend the hackathon and submit their plan for your attendance and transportation to and from the hackathon. Participants from all backgrounds, genders, and geographies are welcome. 

Committee members are not eligible t9 participate in the hackathon. They can assist teams, mentors during the coding/ development phase.

There is no country restriction but you must be eligible to receive prizes (in case you win) and you are responsible for paying any taxes on the prize winnings.

Yes, it will be great if you know some languages. One of the most popular languages to use at hackathons is C/C++.

Hackathon Guide : 

Preparing for a hackathon through a hackathon guide is important because the environment is often fast paced, you will be using  new technology, hackathons have specific judging criteria, and you will be competing against ambitious teams of builders.

Before you commit to a hackathon, make sure your schedule allows you to make an appropriate time and energy commitment. If your schedule is clear, and you’re determined to build something.

There are many tips to have a good start in a hackathon, below are some of them :

  1. Study and explore previous Hackathons : These will help you know the types of challenges you’ll face in a hackathon. It will help you know the organizers expectations. 
  1. Study and explore about  the host organization : Indeed, knowing what to expect from the hackathon organizer is important. So,  spend time on learning about the industry of the organizer (which generally goes with the hackathon topic). If the hackathon is about Air Travel industry, ask questions to your friends, your Linkedin relations, and read content
  1. Read the rules and pay attention to instructions : Different hackathons have different goals. Try to find out what is the goal of the event you’re going to attend. Read the rules carefully and pay attention to introductory lectures to know what the event wants, and your chances will be much better.
  1. Understand the problem : understanding the given problem is very important. It will let you think in the right direction, and bring out ideas which will give you the correct solution.
  1. Download things before the event : In today’s world we don’t know when, our networks will get slow. In a hackathon, most people will start projects from templates and download a ton of dependencies. Downloading your things beforehand,will spare much of your precious time and energy.
  1. Learn how to effectively work in teams : In a Hackathon you need to work in a team, hence thi step becomes essential if you want to work with other people, a team. You’ll be stronger as a team than by yourself. So ideally, build a part of your team before the hackathon with people.
  1. Don’t waste time : Time in Hackathon plays a very important role. Make a prior plan with your team, to not waste time on unnecessary stuff. Avoid complex databases or algorithms.
  1. Participating in briefing : If there are explanations ahead of the hackathon, do go there and understand what is said. Learn from your peers’ questions and respective answers.
  1. Set a Reasonable goal : you have a limited time to create something, so, work accordingly.
  1. Take care of your hygiene : If you are attending an offline hackathon, this is very important. If you are healthy mentally and physically, it reflects in your work. Your concentration, speed, everything increases, you work more precisely.
  1. Winning isn’t everything : “Even though we failed in not being able to deploy our application with Linode, the experience was incredible! -Ean Platter” .  This quote explains well, that winning isn’t everything, focus more on the things you will learn.
  1.  Get a Good Night’s sleep : Get a good night’s sleep so you can be ready to enter the hackathon with a clear mind and good attitude.While there will be intense moments and it may get stressful, remember why you signed up and make the most of your experience.

If you participate in a hackathon, maybe you will not win, but you most certainly will learn many things. If you are interested in Hackathon, I would recommend you to a platform providing company that is Mercer | Mettl. 

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