Sitara Ramesh

Why you should attend hackathons

Why you should attend hackathons

A hackathon environment is conducive to growing as a developer. Hackathons started off as a place where passionate developers came together to create a cool project for fun, but now it’s transformed to much more than that.

Hiring

Attending a hackathon could possibly assist your job search. It’s a great place for you to display your skills to recruiters and engineers from various companies. Collegiate hackathons, in particular, attract sponsors who are not only their to show off their API or product, but also to recruit new grads and interns. Organizers of such hackathons hand over resume books to these companies as part of the sponsorship package. It also provides an opportunity for young developers to meet recruiters and engineers to get insights about a company’s hiring process. Many of my friends have either secured jobs or internships, or at least met recruiters from big companies like Google and Facebook at these events.

Building a portfolio

Whether you’re a designer, developer or even a PM, hackathons provide a fantastic platform for you to work with peers on a project in a focussed environment. The hackathon environment is highly conducive to project completion as it is a place of encouragement and inspiration. There’s a high chance that another team, mentor, or sponsor would continuously support your project, which would increase the chances of its completion. These projects can be used to boost your portfolio or GitHub, which can be used either for finding a job, or simply for showing off.

Trying out new technologies

Because the projects that teams work on in a hackathon generally have no stakeholders and are not liable to anything, it creates more room for creativity and experimentation. Engineers can test out new workflows, technologies, languages and frameworks, and designers can try out new design styles, and even more experimental ones, with minimal repercussions. Furthermore, you can learn these new technologies quicker at a hackathon as it’s highly possible for there to be peers, mentors or sponsors that have experimented with it before, or maybe even be experts in the area, who can help you out and tell you best practices.

Likewise, attending a hackathon is a great place for seasoned developers and new developers to stay in tune with modern day technologies. Hacking together something is a very practical way of diving deep into a new technology, and what better place to do it than a room where everyone is eager to learn and help!

Increased creativity

If you’re stuck in a rut, hackathons put you in a space where you are forced to think to push yourself ahead. On top of that, just seeing other hackers and teams around you creating cool projects could be enough to inspire you and, as a result, increase your creativity. This may help you get out of a creative roadblock.

Networking

Whether you are a high school student or a veteran developer, a hackathon is a great place for you to not only work on a project, but to also meet other fervid developers that have a similar mindset. This could possibly help you extend your network and is, therefore, beneficial to your social life and your professional life.

As a past collegiate hackathon organizer (shoutout to LA Hacks), I can attest to the fact that hackthons can be very beneficial to both new and seasoned developers and designers. I would highly recommend anyone to attend a hackathon, even if it’s just out of pure curiosity. You may go for competing or learning, but, at the end of the day, it’s important to just have fun at a hacakthon.

If you’re interested in learning more about ‘hacker’ culture or staying up-to-date with hackathons near you, I recommend joining the Hackathon Hackers Facebook group. And hey, maybe you’ll catch Manifold sponsoring a hackathon near you!

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