P.S : It’s not the “Hacking” kind of Hacking
For the past couple of years, the world has seen a lot of startups coming up after successfully winning Hackathons and it’s time to make history repeat itself.
There is a first time for everything. With the right preparation, you can make your hackathon experience more fun and productive. Whether we are building a website, mobile app, or even hardware hack, the goal is to start from scratch and end with a working prototype. Generally, these events last from 24–48 or even 72 hours and are filled with food, caffeine, prizes and you guessed it, more caffeine. After time runs out, teams demo what they’ve built and compete for prizes. Although, I didn’t give you an official definition but for those of you who like to know those kind of things, here it is :
“The word hackathon is a portmanteau of the words hack and marathon, where hack is used in the sense of playful, exploratory programming, not its alternate meaning as a reference to computer crime.” -Wikipedia
- Pack like a Geek
Make sure you take everything you need including your laptop, power adapters, power bank, pen drive, etc. Although internet access is almost always available for in a hackathon, it is always a good idea to have a back up ready, just in case. FYI : Carrying an extra t-shirt is always a good idea, probably more than anything else in the list.
2. Keep some Toiletries Handy
Although, big hackathons provide all the restroom facilities but it may not be the same for small enterprises or your local colleges. It’s a good idea to carry a Hand Wash, Paper Soaps, Face Wash, Deodorant etc. Keep in mind that keeping your personal hygiene would help in concentrating on your work while feeling fresh.
3. Reach the venue on time and network
Being on time not only makes you look professional, it also gives you the chance to talk to everyone at the venue. Once the hackathon starts, almost everyone will be too busy with their projects. The best time to network is at the beginning of the Hackathon. Use the opportunity to introduce yourself and connect with people. If you have not formed your team, try to get people onboard. Talk to the organizers and sponsors to get some tips. Many hackathons also have company-sponsored booths, fun activities, and workshops.
4. Do your homework
Start by brushing up your programming skills. Go through APIs, open source libraries, and Hackathon themes, if any. Check out if there are any existing templates that you can use. Practice your introductory pitch at home. Jot down ideas that you can use. Bookmark websites that offer free templates and prototyping tools. Of course, there are some hackathons that provide impromptu topics but it shouldn’t stop you to do your homework.
5. Present like a boss!
Hackathons are all about how you present your idea to judges. Yes, it matters what technologies you used but it’s also about how YOU SEE your idea to be implemented in the wild. The team who can make the judges understand how disruptive or innovative your idea has a great opportunity to win.