I have attended four hackathons in the past two years and have won three of them. I must admit hackathons are a rarity in Pakistan but whenever and wherever they happen, they create the most amazing environment to meet some of the most amazing people. I hope that I can present a good enough case for you to attend your first hackathon.
What is a hackathon?
A hackathon is a gathering of software engineers and business developers who are presented with problem statements and they have to come up with a unique and implementable solution for their target market in just 48 hours or less. Then they have to create a prototype or a visualization of their solution and pitch it on the final day. The organizers also arrange for workshops and sessions during that time.
You will get to meet amazing people.
Almost all the good people that I have come to know in the tech industry in the past two years have been through some hackathon. Whether they are your colleagues who are also grinding, or they are mentors or judges, hackathons have proven to be the best and most efficient way to form great and long-lasting relationships.
It’s all about the journey.
The journey is what matters, you have to fall in love with the process if you wish to achieve anything meaningful. You have to love the grind of putting in 48 hours of extreme hard work. You have to embrace the uncomfortable zone. Here you get to experience real pressure.
The best teams are formed in times of crisis.
We as a team have come to love these moments of crisis. I must admit that we would never have been successful in creating and sustaining a great team at our company if it weren’t for these hackathons. Hackathons have been the backbone of the team building so far. We have experienced some real crunch moments together and we have learned to handle them together.
You learn to sell.
I believe the most important skill that we have learned after team building is learning how to sell. No matter what your profession is, if you don’t know how to sell, you are not going to get anywhere. And if you are like me who did not have any real experience of pitching or selling an audience on your idea, hackathons are definitely for you.
You get exposed to the latest technology trends.
Generally hackathons are focused on a specific technology and you have to use that technology in your solution. If you are not quite experienced in that technology or you are a beginner software developer who is not sure which path to take, hackathons are a great way to get exposed to the latest tech trends.
The prizes are pretty attractive.
If the above points are not enough to motivate you, the prize money should. You can go home with T-shirts and other goodies even if you don’t win anything. A recent CryptoChicks hackathon that we attended gave 18 coupons for Blockchain certifications worth $200 through lucky draw. Plus, the winning prizes are usually in the range of $1,500 to $2,000. I say, it’s definitely worth trying.
Hackathons break you and remold you and they have been the defining moments in our company’s history so far and I hope it turns out the same for you too when you start participating in them. I hope to see you in the next one. Happy hacking!