When you hear the word ‘hack’, the likely image that comes to mind is that of an evil person working hard to break into the security of systems and wreak havoc. However, in the context of the ‘hackathon’, the case is different. ‘Hack’ here refers to the act of working feverishly to solve a given project – with good intent.
A hackathon is a timed event where professionals collaborate intensively to try and solve a given problem. It usually takes place over a very short duration of time – about 24 to 48 hours. The professionals come together and work in teams until a breakthrough concept is formed.
To discover what hackathons are holding and when people can check out online hackathon platforms that record the dates of upcoming events for public viewing. Various hackathon software also exists now that can be used to manage the whole process of organizing and bringing together professionals who would participate in your hackathon event.
Usually, hackathons used to be held by technological companies that brought together software developers, coders, graphic designers, and other tech professionals to solve a problem. But, in today’s world, the hackathon is no longer restricted to the tech field alone. Various industries such as health, education, hospitality, and business now hold hackathon events as a way of encouraging innovation and creativity among their employees.
What is Hackathon Software?
A hackathon management software is an online resource or application that has been designed to help to organize and manage all the administrative tasks involved in planning a hackathon.
It makes the work easier for the event organizers, removes the burden of organizing, and allows them to focus on the event itself.
With hackathon software, organizers can now do things such as design a microsite that contains information about their event or find interested participants. They can even view the past history of intending contestants, and it makes the overall process easier for them.
Read on to discover how hackathon software helps in collaboration. But first, what are the hackathon types?
Types Of Hackathon
Hackathons can be held in various forms and for various reasons, some of which are:
- Internal Hackathon: An internal hackathon is meant to be only for the employees of an organization. Various companies hold this type of hackathon event to promote teamwork, innovation and growth of their employees.
- External Hackathon: Just like the name suggests, an external hackathon is open to people from far and wide. People from various places who meet specific criteria that have been set by the organizers can take part in this type of hackathon platform.
- Virtual/Online Hackathon: It takes place online. It makes use of communication and online meeting tools such as Zoom, Slack, and Skype. This type of event is particularly useful when a large number of people from various geographical locations participate.
- Hackathon for a Cause: Sometimes, altruism is the reason for organizing a hackathon. The organizers decide to hold the event because of the need to raise awareness for a cause.
- Hackathon As a Competition: Sometimes, they are held with the promise of a reward for the team that comes up with the best product. This extra motivation helps to drive more interest in the event and bring in more participants. It also motivates the participants to put in their best.
Basic Steps In Planning A Hackathon
While the hackathon is an event that only takes place for a day or two, a lot of thought needs to be put into its planning. This is to ensure that the event is held successfully and problems such as logistics don’t come up and ruin the event.
Some of the steps in planning a successful hackathon include:
- Set Goals and Theme For The Event: the very first step in planning a hackathon is to determine what the aim of the event is. At this stage, things such as the type of hackathon that will be held, whether it will be virtual or physical, and the expected number of participants are also determined.
- Select The Participants: The next thing to do is to set the criteria that will be used to determine who will participate in the event. It is important to do this so as to get the best fit to participate in the type of event you have in mind.
- Find The Venue: After determining the type of event and selecting the participants, it is time to find the venue. The venue has to be easily accessible, closed off to distractions, and large enough for the expected number of participants.
- Look For Sponsors: Sponsors for the event could be other companies or individuals with an interest in the theme. These sponsors will help to provide financial aid for the event, and they could also serve as judges.
- Create Awareness: A buzz should be created on social media platforms in order to inform people of the upcoming hackathon. This will increase the reach of the event and help drive interest in a wider set of people.
- Set Up The Rules: The rules of the event need to be communicated with the intended participants. Things like the type of mission they are to achieve, how much time they would have to achieve the set goals, and the resources available for them to draw inspiration from should be explained to participants ahead of time.
How Does Hackathon Software Help In Collaboration?
- It Helps to Drive Event Awareness
Hackathon software will make the process of creating awareness about the event more efficient. Since it is an online platform for hackathons, people who are interested in participating and organizing can meet and learn about each other with the aid of this software.
- It Is a Way of Finding Potential Judges, Sponsors, and Participants
Hackathon software can be used to find people who would be interested in participating in your event. It functions as some sort of social media where people can upload information about them. In this way, you can go through the profiles of different people and reach out to those who meet your criteria or who you think can sponsor the event.
- It Is Useful in Resource Sharing
Among teammates and participants, and organizers, hackathon software can be used to share files and other resources. This ability to share progress in real-time helps to drive teamwork and leads to greater efficiency.
- It Can Be Used To Collect Project Submissions
Participants can send their project submissions to the organizers and judges and get immediate feedback. This is particularly useful in online hackathons where the people involved cannot be together in a physical site.
- It Can Be Used to View the Past History of Potential Participants
Using the software, you can also view the history of applicants and people who show interest in participating in your hackathon. You can also view their participation metrics, see what previous hackathons they have participated in before, and what products they have developed.
- Hackathon Software Contains Features That Makes Planning the Event Easier
You can use the software to manage administrative actions that are involved in planning the event. These include things such as keeping records of the progress made and future plans, logistics, and hiring caterers, among others. These features can come in the form of a timeline or a checklist, and it helps to put things into perspective.
You can even build a micro website for your event with the use of this software. The website can contain information that intending participants would want to know about, like the following:
- Location of the event
- A map that shows how to get there
- A timer that counts down the time, among others.
A hackathon is a work event where professionals come together to work smart on a problem and create solutions within a short period of time, typically 24 to 48 hours.
There are various steps involved in planning a hackathon, such as finding sponsors and selecting participants. Using hackathon software is a way to reduce the administrative burden on the neck of the organizers.
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The software can be used to track participants, view their past history, and collect submissions from them. It is always a good option to consider for those who hope to run a successful hackathon.
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