Those who have watched movies like ‘Who Am I’ or ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ have all been amazed by the skills that hackers possess. These experts are not just limited to movies, they play a pivotal role in the technological world.
Ethical hacking is a part of the business landscape and is used to detect vulnerabilities in an organization’s system or even an application. To encourage students to take up this career path and to source the best talent, events such as the hackathon or codefest are hosted by tech companies.
If you are a tech wizard, a seasoned programmer or new to programming, then you should consider participating in a hackathon.
What is a hackathon?
Hackathon is a sprint-like event that is hosted by technological companies including brands such as IBM where the skills of data scientists, machine learning practitioners, programmers and others are tested in an informal setting.
These events are not just restricted to tech giants. Other organizations like Amazon organize such events to source the best talent. These events are beneficial to organizations and contestants as the latter get to test out important skills like encoding and scaling, extracting insights and more.
The best part is that a hackathon is a collaborative event and while competitive, it gives you the chance to learn from your peers, network and boost your knowledge and expertise.
Why conduct a hackathon?
We are living in a digital era where technology dominates the business sector. As a result, every organization is continually looking for experts in this field. Conducting interviews is one way, but it doesn’t bring the same result as a hackathon which pulls in the best minds in the tech industry.
Therefore, organizations make use of this concept to find suitable employees, and at times, even find profitable ventures. Among the best hackathons in 2021 was MachineHack by Deloitte and HackMIT which was organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and sponsored by Microsoft, Facebook and IBM.
Similarly, in 2012, a community marketplace app called Carousel was developed in a hackathon event in Singapore which helped the start-up make $70-80 million during the series C funding.
Organizations can gain a lot from these hackathons, just like Facebook, which gained all its popular features like Facebook Chat, Timeline and more at hackathons.
Essential skills to gain at hackathons
Hackathons are a place where you can display your skills and get rewarded for them. Therefore, you must have a solid game plan to perform well at a hackathon. Here are some tips for a successful hackathon:
Use technical skills creatively
At a hackathon, you are competing with the best, so you have to outshine others on the day. This means coming up with the most creative ideas that will get the judge's attention.
Additionally, you must also have strong technical skills that will help you shape your idea. The events are a great place to brush up on your skills but you must come prepared for the competition to be in with a chance of winning.
Build a good team
Hackathons are all about teamwork, so your greatest asset is your team. Be selective about choosing the right people and ensure diversity in terms of skills. Select members from diverse backgrounds such as business development, frontend development, designing and more. You can also connect with friends from previous hackathons as well.
Learn to present well
You have conceived brilliant ideas and assembled a team but how do you pitch this prototype to market leaders? This is where good presentation skills allow you to show off your ideas creatively and convincingly. There is no point in designing something brilliant if you are unable to pitch it to the right people.
While participating in a hackathon, you have to be adaptable. Some ideas may work, and others may fall flat during execution, so you must be prepared to change course when necessary. Additionally, technology is constantly changing and you must be able to identify the latest trend that is suitable in a given situation.
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