What is a Hackathon?

(4 minutes of reading time) Are you taking your first steps in web development? So you already started to see this famous word ... yes, we're talking about Hackathon. But what is it? Who is it for? Where to find? This quick guide will answer all your main questions

What is a Hackathon?

(4 minutes of reading time)

Are you taking your first steps in web development? So you already started to see this famous word... yes, we're talking about Hackathon. But what is it? Who is it for? Where to find? This quick guide will answer all your main questions.

The word Hackathon comes from a mixture of two other words: “hack”, which means to program with excellence, and “marathon”. Hackathon is a programming marathon that takes place at various times of the year in different countries. These marathons are promoted by large institutions and/or startups and aim to develop technological innovations. 

Hackathons are usually held on weekends and last, on average, from 24h to 48h. The schedule includes lectures, workshops and much of the time is dedicated to develop a new software project. 


1. WHAT HAPPENS IN A HACKATHON? 

Hackathons are usually hosted by technology companies, startups, private or public organizations. The definition of hackathon is basically a design sprint for programmers, bringing developers together in teams (with participants from all levels) to collaborate on various projects for an award to the winning team. By participating in a hackathon, you'll learn to code in a focused manner and with extremely tight deadlines, as well as learn new working structures to complete a project. 


2. WHAT IS IT FOR? 

The goal of a hackathon is to produce working software or hardware by the end of the event. The team with the best project is the winner and will take home the prize. It also serves to better integrate a company's teams and also to help develop networking among its participants. 

Hackathons are already part of the daily life of the most innovative and profitable companies in the world. More and more companies found in this action a solution to exercise the creativity of their employees and obtain solutions for the most varied everyday issues. Functioning as large test environments, hackathons offer less risk to companies when it comes to innovating and testing solutions. This is essential for discovering new techniques, products and services that can be explored in the future.


3. ARE HACKATHONS FOR BEGINNERS? 

Most hackathons are open to different skill levels. It doesn't matter if you are not a pro in some specific programming language like Python or Django for example, the most important thing is that you are interested in technology. It's a great opportunity to learn how these events work and ask questions, as well as find out where you can fit in and help your team. 


4. WHY SHOULD A WEB DEVELOPER JR PARTICIPATE IN A HACKATHON?

By joining a group, the junior developer will be able to explore new skills and develop leadership capabilities. You can also exercise creativity and get out of the traditional corporate structure. He/she will have the chance to work as a team, in a much more malleable environment than usual. 
It's the perfect opportunity to put your skills to use. Furthermore, there is the possibility of meeting people who are more experienced than you and who can become your mentors. It's also a great time to make friends and meet others with the same interests as you. 

Another important point is that when you leave college, you no longer have the option of choosing who you will work with. A hackathon simulates the reality of companies, where professionals from complementary areas come together to carry out the same project. You have two alternatives: either you accept the team and try to do your best to get the best result together, or you are out. Another benefit of joining hackathons as a junior web developer is the possibility of recruitment by the company and/or organization. 


5. HOW TO FIND HACKATHONS TO PARTICIPATE 

Hackathons happen all over the world, although with the COVID-19 pandemic there was a great decrease in the number of events. They are typically done in a different places, from college campuses to co-working spaces, and most of them cost nothing to attend. 

In short, hackathons are great for web developers of all skill levels and there are great opportunities for younger ones to benefit as it is a good way to gain experience and great contacts for future hires. 

So, if you're interested in joining the world of web development, participating in a hackathon should be on your to-do list.

Reference:
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