Hackathon 101

Hi guys! This is my first blog on HashNode and today I am going to talk about Hackathons, what they are, and how to take part in them and learn new stuff. Hackathons are exciting coding competitions held on both national and international levels.

I heard many people wondering what hackathons are, so this post is just a beginner's guide to hackathons for students like me who have just dived into coding after joining college and still exploring new fields.

Hackathons are coding competitions where people compete in teams against each other to see which team can make the best kind of digital solution to real-life world problems. It is a platform where designers, developers, and testers all come together to build a stronger community. It usually lasts for longer than a day and can extend up to a week.

It’s a fun and exciting event to show your creativity as well as your entrepreneurship and coding skills.

Participation

Hackathons are usually held on online platforms where you register as a team of 2-5 members. All you need to get started is go to the hackathon website and go to their registration page.

Once registered, if the hackathon has a theme they give you a problem statement and you need to brainstorm along with your teammates to come up with a digital solution to solve the problem.

If the hackathon is open-ended then it’s up to you to think of some real-life problem that you have faced or have seen someone who is facing it and come up with a digital solution for it.

The Idea

This is a really important part. Not only should it be something that can be completed in the time period of the hackathon, but it should also be something that can be pitched really well to the judges. You should have a clear view of the end product you want, the target audience, and how it would help your target audience.

Let the Coding begin!

Once the planning has been done, it's time to start building. This is the main part of the hackathon, where you convert your idea into a scalable product.

This part will include both design and development. When it comes to design, you need to think of how to make the product in a way the user will love to use it. You need to think about it from the user’s viewpoint. UI/UX is important since, no matter how good the product is, it’s useless if the user doesn’t like the way it works or it gets too complicated to use. There are many design tools out there to help you out like Figma and AdobeXD.

When it comes to the development part, it's what will decide your products' working and actions. This is what starts backing up your ideas and creativity as to what you want it to do for the target audience. Considering the type of product and its target audience, you need to think of the most suitable tech stack. Most popular languages would include HTML/CSS, Javascript, Python, Java, C++, C#, etc.

In most cases, the project would have to be publicly available on an online version control system, like GitHub. This is done so that the judges can also have a look at the product’s code and the process you used for its creation.

Final Submission

Having completed your product it's time to go in front of the judges and show off your product. Be very clear about your aim with this product, the problem you wanna solve, and of course, your target audience. All these will be a deciding factor on how impressed the judges will be. Presenting your product can be done in many ways, depending upon the rules. Methods used in most hackathons are to either give a demo of the application or make a presentation of its workflow.

Once all this is done, it's time to wait, keep your fingers crossed and look forward to the results!

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