Sergio Díaz.

Surviving a Hackathon

Last week I finally went to my first hackathon and it was an awesome experience! Here are a couple of things everyone should watch out for when they go to a hackathon for the first time.

What you'll need

Okay, first things first, hackathons are apparently seriously social events. If you are more of an introvert it might be good for a you to bring along a friend, it'll make your time there easier. I brought a friend along and it made the whole thing a lot more fun.

There are other things which are kind of pretty obvious stuff such as: a laptop if you are going to be doing some coding and headphones if you need to block the world to get things done (Although, like I said, these are social events so try not to get too lost in your code and enjoy the company). Cameras are also great, your phone will probably do if you don't feel like carrying additional stuff.

Finally, another thing, which I didn't actually bring with me on purpose are business cards. Even though I was just hanging around and doing stuff a bunch of people approached me with project ideas and business offers. So if you are looking for a job that might also be a good place to look for one. I almost ran out of them during the weekend!

Hackathoning!

Hackathoning is the only reason you are awake at 9am on a Saturday so it's important to keep it in mind. If there's a theme which was set beforehand, I'd recommend you go ahead and think of ideas so you can discuss them with your teammates. If there's no theme then thinking of ideas is still a good idea.

The first thing you'll need to do if find a team, if you wanna work on your own (which I don't think is a good idea) or brought along your own team, you are done with this and can go ahead and start brainstorming. If you didn't and have to find a team look for people who can complement your skill-set. Let them know the kind of thing you wanna work on and what you can do or want to do.

Once you are in a team, you are ready to make a plan. Make sure the plan is feasible, you only have a limited amount of time after all so, if it's too complicated you might have enough time to finish, you can always continue working on the project after the hackathon so, keep it achievable.

At this point, you are ready to start coding! So go out there and code! Try not to get too distracted or too focused, try to socialize and get stuff done at the same time. If you can balance these things you'll survive this hackathon successfully.

Networking

This is, what I found to be, the most important aspect of the hackathon. You cannot only socialize but, you can also make new friends, business partners, clients and jobs. So try to talk with everyone, it's always nice to find new project to work on.

Closing up

Hackathoning is fun! You can network, socialize, code and have a general good weekend so, if you haven't gone to one, I highly recommend you do.

comments powered by Disqus