6 Tips for Putting Together a Hackathon Team

Matt Menietti
Aug 16, 2016 · 4 min read

With the flurry of superhero and team-based movies being released this year (Suicide Squad, Captain America: Civil War, Ghostbusters), we’re all about amazing teams when it comes to hackathons.

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Hulk. Smash. Bugs.

Whether you’re new to coding or an self-proclaimed expert, having a strong team can make or break your hackathon experience, even if you have no interest competing for the first place prize. Below are some quick tips for putting together a fantastic team for your hackathon — regardless of your skill level or experience.

  1. Find people who you gel with. Group dynamics are critical for any team, but even more true for a hackathon where you’re often exhausted due to a lack of sleep and getting your code to compile. Find people you know at work or through your social circles that would add value to a team, even if they aren’t coders.
  2. Target meetup groups or other developer communities. Not able or interested in putting together a team around your fellow employees? Never fear, plenty of participants find individuals outside of their social or job circles to hack with. Consider stopping by your local tech meetup or finding a Slack or FB group that likely has people who are already signed up for your hackathon. It may take some time to sell them on the event and why they should work with you, but most people will be flattered that you asked them in the first place. Be friendly!
  3. Make sure your team is well-rounded. A strong hackathon team typically has members with complimentary skill sets — a few coders, someone who’s in charge of design, a project manager, etc. Most hackathon teams are between four and six people. A team that’s all data scientists will likely fail if they don’t worry about design, just as a team with all industry or business experts won’t be able actually produce a working prototype. If you have time to form your team before the hackathon, consider getting together beforehand to talk about the roles each of you will play on your team. The more prepared you are to hit the ground running after the project is announced, the better off you’ll be.
  4. There’s nothing wrong with showing up alone. Some of the most successful hackathon participants at our events never actually met before GlobalHack. There could be a variety of factors that contribute to this, but sometime it’s more fun to hack with complete strangers. It’s a great way to meet new people and contacts in the industry. That being said, if you plan on doing this, be prepared to ‘sell’ yourself to potential teammates — talk about your skill sets, share some of your past projects, and let people know what you could bring to the table.
  5. Mix it up. At GlobalHack VI, we have three different team divisions: youth (middle and high school), college, and pro. If you’re a high school student, consider linking up with someone you know in college who might be a developer. If you’re in college, maybe your school has connections with alumni who would love to join your hackathon team. Don’t be afraid to ask!
  6. Attend an information session. Some hackathons will host information sessions for potential participants to answer any questions they have about competing. This Fall, we’ll be hosting several webinars and a “Find a Team” matchmaking session where individuals can pitch themselves and find potential teammates. Be sure to join our email list and check out our website for more information about these future events.
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It’s go time.

Happy hacking!

-The GlobalHack Team

GlobalHack VI will bring together software developers, designers, technologists, and entrepreneurs from around the world to solve a single, massive civic technology problem surrounding homelessness. Hundreds of participants from youth, collegiate, and professional divisions will work in teams to solve this problem by building software solutions over the course of an entire weekend. A total of $1 million in cash prizes will be awarded to the top teams, including $250,000 in follow-on funds that will be used to take the most promising prototypes generated at the event to market. GlobalHack VI will be held Friday, October 21 through Sunday, October 23, 2016 at Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO.

For more information and to register, visit bit.ly/globalhack6

GlobalHack

GlobalHack drives social impact through technology.

Matt Menietti

Written by

Dir. of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the @STLRegChamber . Proud #Iowa native living in #STL. Posts re: #startups, #tech, and #StarWars.

GlobalHack

GlobalHack drives social impact through technology. We organize events that kickstart community-focused software projects and deliver accessible computer science education opportunities for kids.

Matt Menietti

Written by

Dir. of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the @STLRegChamber . Proud #Iowa native living in #STL. Posts re: #startups, #tech, and #StarWars.

GlobalHack

GlobalHack drives social impact through technology. We organize events that kickstart community-focused software projects and deliver accessible computer science education opportunities for kids.

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