Written by: Vithoria Escobar
Edited by: Talita Holzer

Most workers today have come across the word hackathon. If you haven’t, you surely will.
But what are hackathons? And are they for you?

The Idea & Structure

The word hackathon comes from a combination of the words marathon and hack, here meant as solving a problem. Hackathon is an event where workers get together to create and deliver a product or solution. Basically, you join a room with all kinds of workers where the theme and challenge are presented. You come up with an idea, teams are formed and you have to build a prototype and a business plan from scratch. Once time is finished, you pitch your idea to a panel of expert judges, who selects the best ones. Sometimes, there are prizes for the winners.

Hackathons are conducted in a short period, usually between 24-36h. They are well-known in the tech industry among coders and developers. However, there is a need for people with different skills and background to compose diverse, multidisciplinary teams, which can deliver complete solutions. There are also mentors, industry-experts that are available during the marathon to help teams present their ideas.

The main idea of a hacking marathon is to stimulate those skills and collaborate with different people. Very often, hackathons promote a solution for real-life problems. It is a great opportunity to work your creativity, meet talented people and have an incredible learning experience.

The Benefits

Business Idea

In a hackathon you teamwork to solve problems with technology. All the teams will walk out with a basic product prototype, which can be incorporated as a business. Hackathons can be the right first step to create a successful startup.

Networking

A work environment full of different talents flowing ideas and creativity. Hackathons are the perfect opportunity to connect with people with similar interests and promote your personal brand.

Work Your Skills

In a hackathon, you’ll work intensely towards an idea with people you might not know. You’ll learn from others and practice key skills such as teamwork, leadership, creativity, and communication.

Add to your CV

Participating in hackathons shows you are interested in learning and problem-solving. It also shows you’re creative and a hard worker so it can be a great value to your CV.

Self Esteem

Hackathons are hard work but once the job is done the feeling is rewarding. Facing the challenge to build an idea from scratch is definitely something to be proud of. Plus, you have fun and get a chance to contribute to a greater good.

#GIT Top Tips

If you’re a hackathon newcomer, here are a few tips:

Value Your Skills

Don’t worry about not having tech knowledge or being inexperienced. Every skill is welcomed and necessary in a hackathon. You are good at something and will contribute to the team.

Take Notes

There will be tons of ideas floating around the room and plenty of new information. Make sure to take the knowledge back with you and do your research.

Don’t be afraid to talk

As we’ve said before, hackathons are the place to network. So make the most out of every opportunity, show your skills and engage with people you’d like to learn more about.

Coral and Talita, our Managing Director and Head of Content, answer the most asked questions & share some pro tips for the Hackathon: 

Hacking with Girls In Tech

Girls In Tech would like to invite you to our first women in tech and women led hackathon in Ireland, Hacking for Humanity. Our hackathon is a hack for good, where we work with local NGOs/Charities. Therefore participants solve pressing and relevant business challenges that will make a difference in their community. Hacking for Humanity is a successful global initiative by Girls in Tech and it was held in other places around the globe.

Here’s what past participants thought about their experience:

Amazing second year running while Hacking For Humanity with Girls InTech! The condensed experience of hacking on requirements, product, code, team, and pitching feels immensely valuable. [I’ve heard some thought leaders refer to these as Accelerated Work Experiences, rarely do you get an opportunity to practically learn so much in such a short time.] The GITG team did exceptionally at making sure we were all comfortable and well provided for, the community is so welcoming, upbeat and inclusive. This year our team’s project won prizes as we built an interactive, educational game to teach tourists how to read our local animal’s expressions and body language – for the safety of both the people and the animals.
Great team, great fellow hackers on other teams, great organisation, great snacks, and great prizes! – see you next year!” – Chris Harris, Software Engineer, Founder at ProYou.app

 

Participating in this year’s Hacking for Humanity has been an amazingly refreshing experience on all levels. It has totally exceeded my expectations and more. There were a great ambiance and good vibe to the event which was buzzing with passion, purpose, and positivity from start to finish. To be able to apply my knowledge, expertise, and skills to give back to the community is not only rewarding but highly empowering and I cannot wait to take part in the next year’s event.” – Georgina Morello, Executive Assistant at Playtech

 

The Girls In Tech hackathon was amazing fun. I’d totally recommend it. Really well organized and challenging weekend working in a cross-discipline team of developers, designers and marketers were really exciting, under the pressure of solving the problem in just 2 days. This particular weekend the teams of hackers worked to solve a tech problem local charities were suffering. And to know the charities gained from the event too was a massive plus.” – Stu Tippet, Web Content Manager at Ladbrokes Coral Group

 

Hacking for Humanity is an inclusive and open event, where everyone with any background has a chance to contribute. The marathon will take place from 24-26th of May at The Digital Hub, Dublin. Check our latest article for more details and REGISTER HERE to guarantee your participation and be part of history in the marking in a bespoke and inclusive environment