How Hackathons Work
Hackathons are fast-paced contests, limited to typically 12-36 hours of work, in which teams of computer programmers code a software application.
- Form a team. Choose people you would enjoy spending time with and have complementary skills. Backend, frontend, design - these skills are all needed for a great hack!
- Identify a problem. Well…not every team necessarily does that. But teams think of a problem or idea to base their hack on.
- Come up with the solution. How can building ‘X’ solve ‘Y’. It’s perfectly fine to hack together a game or “fun” application. But if you want to win a prize and typically create something of great value, build something people “need”, not just “want”.
- Execute on your idea. Build the application, and on the side, the name, logo and website that goes with it.
- Present your finished application. Teams demo their apps to judges/investors.
- (Hopefully) collect your prize. If your hack best used a sponsored API or won another category prize, you take home money, a SF trip or something else cool.
Is this everything that goes with a hackathon? No. But it’s an outline of what a hackathon is and what teams must do to win the grand prize.