The youth of today have multiple resources and sources to gain knowledge from and to present their talents, however, what good are these talents if they cannot be developed and used in a productive fashion both for them and the world? The younger generation equally need a platform to not only showcase their skills but also to develop them and put them to good use for the present and the future of the general public and the world. With the advent of the internet, there have been several ways to integrate offline learning to online production, thereby establishing a platform that is not only accessible but also timeless, available to anyone and everyone who searches for it. To make full use of this ability of the internet, hackathons is a strong testimony.
Hackathons have been on the rise in the last decade. These events provide a space and platform for budding coders, developers and designers and enthusiasts of the like, to not only showcase but also practically implement their skills. For those who are unaware, hackathons are events or competitions wherein participants work in a group or individually through programming and coding to develop something cool and feasible. It might sound less than exciting that how it actually is! Hackathons provide an ultimate learning and growing experience than no other for those who are interested and skilled in the field. This is why:
Through these events, one gets to meet and interact with a huge number of people. Be it online or offline, there is intense networking between diverse individuals from many different parts of the region, or even the world. This helps with teambuilding and overall teamwork. Finding a partner or a team that click with you can even help you create something independently as a team for the world to see and use!
Several of these events include visits and/or workshops from big name companies and individuals. This increases the chances of landing interviews or being scouted by them.
If not landing a job, the experience and what you will learn is worth it. Through interaction with these high-profile individuals and corporations and teammates as well, there is a lot of learning and exchange of knowledge being made. So, if you don’t get recruited this time, it only increases your chances for next time!
A Platform to showcase talents
As the title suggests, hackathons, both online and offline provide an excellent platform for you to showcase what you can do. Not only does this help you land a dream job but also present even more opportunities to keep those brain juices flowing. Furthermore, a wide range of people will also become consumers of your product if they are further pursued.
The prizes and perks
Several of these competitions hand out prizes in cash or even as elaborate as trips to a tech hub. This of course, is an entirely invaluable experience in itself. Even if you don’t win, there will be participation perks such as recognition through certificates, badges etc.,
Now that we’ve seen why these events are such a huge hit (and hopefully give you enough to participate in one!) it is important to know who can participate and what is the ultimate goal of these competitions.
These events are long, and usually take place between 24 to 48 hours over weekends. Participation is usually open to all, if not to a certain audience. In layman’s terms, if it is a college hackathon, chances are, it is open only to the students of the college. However, worry not, there are events open to the general public as well. If you cannot locate one in the immediate vicinity, online or virtual hackathons happen year-round and are way more accessible and easier to participate in, for both you and your wallet!
It should also be noted that one need not absolutely have knowledge or background in programming, developing or coding however, it is recommended. If you are worried about the lack of knowledge in the subject, some hackathons organise workshops as a pre-event in order to immerse newbies into the field and objective. If programming is not your forte, there are other fields as well such as UI and UX design and presentation of the group’s project or hardware stations to man.
Usually, the overall goal of the events is to create something cool and innovative. Most competitions encourage innovation and creativity so one can create their own webpages, smartphone apps, computer programs, browser extensions and so on. Most hackathons don’t have a specific theme, so you can truly explore ideas and projects by yourself. Make sure you don’t blatantly copy an already implemented project or idea though!
When it comes to online hackathons, participants have the benefit of participating in the convenience and comforts of their own homes. Online events can cater and include a more diverse audience and eliminates all geographic and time constraints. It also enables organisers to spend lesser and recruiters and companies to filter out and shortlist the best teams, developers, ideas and prototypes much faster and effectively.
During offline participation, if you are worried about knowing nobody or are new to the place, make sure you put a word in with a few other participants beforehand so teambuilding and teamwork becomes easier and you generally have a little relaxed state of mind in a new atmosphere. Usually, some events host a social event before the competition to enable all participants to get to know themselves. If this is happening, make sure you don’t miss it as it is a great opportunity to network and learn about a lot of people and their skills, and of course, to make new friends as well.
Hackathons have been an amazing platform many countries to achieve several goals, not just restricted to recruitments. For example, women-only hackathons in India have been a huge hit in incorporating women in the workforce and has given them an excellent platform as well. It comes down to you to take these opportunities to show and give the world your best.