Hackathon – What is it?
In this article, we will tell you about what hackathons are and what they are for.
The meaning of the word “hackathon” is a term derived from a combination of two words: hacker and marathon. Today, hackathons are no longer about hacking, they are just a “marathon of programmers” in which small groups of specialists from different areas of software development work together to solve a problem.
Hackathons are becoming an increasingly popular format of events. Large companies, for example, are increasingly conducting external hackathons, attracting new specialists and creative people from all over the world. The search for a solution to a new problem or a fresh look at an old problem takes place in a tense and at the same time inspiring atmosphere. Hackathons require participants to solve a problem in a limited time, usually from one day to a week. Ideas at hackathons are usually extraordinary, but sometimes they can also be impressively exclusive. Some hackathons have an internal event format that gives organization’s employees the advantage of working with external teams and professionals, thereby expanding their experience.
Today, hackathons are no longer about hacking. They are just a “marathon of programmers”
Usually, the hackathon’s task is to create full-fledged software. On such hackathons, web services are created, which in the future solve socially significant problems. The result of the hackathon and the joint work of civic activists and IT specialists isn‘t a prototype of a future application, but a minimum sustainable product that is ready for launch – the first version of the application where it‘s possible to test the work of the idea.
Why do companies run hackathons?
Most hackathons today are external events aimed at increasing the company’s reputation in the eyes of software developer (IT – hackathons) and product users. Some firms consider hackathons to be essentially good PR tools, and pay for them from their marketing budgets. Others find them useful in recruiting staff. Hackathons show which participants can focus and work under the pressure of time and tasks to deliver results, which is a good way to identify talent.
What are the benefits (pros) of hackathon?
– An opportunity to learn something completely new. The opportunity is always there, and everyone can use it. In an atmosphere of total immersion and creativity, you not only learn new things, but also be inspired by the interest in innovation of everyone around you.
– A great way to prove yourself and find a great employer. Companies often use hackathons to find new talent. The employer can spot the specialists he needs and see them working with team members. Even without experience, for example, in marketing, but with a couple of extraordinary ideas, you can participate in a hackathon or even win by sharing the victory with a loyal team of like-minded people.
– Opportunity to meet new people. At the hackathon you can meet people like you who are just as keen on new ideas and their implementation. And it’s not just about getting to know potential colleagues and employers, you can get to know a person who will inspire you to new projects or offer himself to create one of them.
Hackathons have long ceased to be a purely techie environment. They become more complex and turned into something universal, applicable not only in banking, IT and telecom, but also in marketing, e-commerce, and manufacturing. In non-standard and sometimes stressful conditions, even in an ordinary “classic” hackathon, solutions and ideas are born that would never have occurred to a developer sitting in a comfortable office chair in a relaxed atmosphere. And that’s not the limit of the usefulness of hackathons.