A hackathon is an event that brings techies from around the globe together for a common hacking cause! Usually a sprint-like event, rather than a marathon—a hackathon is a collaborative coding event that draws on the talent and perseverance of its participants for the common good. Hackathons are a great way for students, junior programmers, and seasoned veterans alike to get into the action, and learn from one another while having some fun!
Generally, these events take place over the course of a single weekend or 24 hour period. This allows participants to truly participate in the entire event, and draws larger volumes of participants.
Every hackathon has their own “mission”, generally speaking though, a hackathon begins with a PROBLEM that the organizers have identified that the participants will work together to solve. Every single hacker, programmer, coder working together for a single purpose is a beautiful thing! One of the most epic examples of a successful hackathon created the messaging app GroupMe, which Skype acquired for $50 million USD. Pretty incredible. But that’s what a hivemind event can do, create incredible, usable solutions to real world problems.
All hackathons have a common cause. This can be anything from locating missing persons, to building communications apps, to charitable causes. For some, it can be tough to select the right cause, or challenge.
It’s important when in the planning stages of a hackathon to have a mission besides the challenge. For some events, that mission will be to recruit new talent. For some, it will be to showcase incredible guest speakers. This will direct which challenge will be appropriate for your hackathon.
Hackathons are an excellent place to conduct training workshops and seminars. Either as an add on, or as a free addition to the hackathon event—workshops are a great way to learn from industry experts, or solidify your position as an expert in a particular tech field.
Many hackathon events have keynote or guests speakers that are a way to entertain, inform, and engage the attendees and participants. These can be big names in the tech world, or rising stars with notable achievements.