Hackathons, a 24 – 48 hour competition for designers and developers, are becoming all the rage in the tech community. Sponsors host hackathons for a variety of reasons: as a hiring platform, developing their product, looking for innovation etc.
But if you are a software developer, the question that is probably foremost on your mind is, ”What’s in it for me?”
Here is a list of reasons as to why you should attend one of these events:
- Competition: Like it or not, we are all motivated by the spirit of competition. Whether you are competing for jobs, or for prize money, hackathons are the right environment to tickle your competitive nature.
- Doing something different: In your daily grind, you tend to work on the same products or projects. In a hackathon, you have the chance to do something different: to work on new ideas and concepts.
- Collaboration: At hackathons, you get to work with like minded people who are just as passionate about building a great product as you are. Also, these environments are a perfect learning environment since you are exposed to a variety of different methods of solving problems.
- Demonstrating your skills: You get to show off! You could be a very talented developer but you may not always get the recognition you deserve. In a hackathon, you get to showcase your ideas and win the approbation of the community.
- Push your self: At hackathons, you work under a time constraint, and as such, you are forced to focus on the ideas that are really important. And who knows? You just may amaze yourself as to what you can build in such a short period. (This begs the question: If amazing products can be built within 24-48 hours, then why does the regular development process take so long? But that is a question for another day…)
- Become part of the community: Let’s face it: software developers and designers are not the most sociable of people, and as such, you might be tempted to stay with your heads down in your cube. In these events, you get to engage with the community, and have the opportunity to build connections and friendships that will last a lifetime!
- Solving social issues: In our hackathon, Hack for Democracy, Vasan, CTO of Accel Partners, worked all night to develop an app that predicted the length of queues in an election booth. His motivation? To use his tech skills to solve a pressing social problem. At hackathons, you realize, first hand, that the work that you do and the products that you build helps the community at large.
- Working on an interesting problem: The story of Archimedes jumping out of his bathtub sans clothes when the solution to the problem of whether or not a crown was made of silver hit him is well known, and his euphoric joy is quite understandable. We all live for these Eureka moments, and the problems that are to be solved in hackathons are of sufficient complexity so that if you do solve them, you are filled with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. (But hopefully, you will not go running out of bathtubs after solving the problem unlike the great mathematician!)
So, there you have it: participating in such events is well worth your time and effort, and you get to network with a wide variety of like minded passionate people, who are more than willing to help you when you are stuck. You also get to learn about companies and industries that you may not have been exposed to before, and best of all, most of these events are free! Where else can you go to to learn so much in such a relatively short period of time?
To get you started on your journey, keep your schedule free on the weekend of January 17th and 18th, when we are going to conduct our next hackathon on behalf of Knowlarity, India’s largest cloud telephony company. This Knowlarity API Hackathon is a perfect opportunity to hone your skills. We hope to see you there!