name is Sarah Kahn and I love hackathons. I am here as a five-hackathon veteran
to recruit you to attend your next local event.
hackathon (hack + marathon) is an event where people who make things (software,
hardware, content) come together, form teams, and work together for an intense
period of time, often something like 48 consecutive hours, toward common goals.
have several great hackathons in the Triangle area, including CityCamp and Triangle
Startup Weekend, and we want YOU to attend! Hackathons are a great way to
test out new skills, make friends, network, and even add a piece to your
portfolio or kick off a new company to work for!
idea of a hackathon comes with many misconceptions that keep people away. I
hear these five most often, and I’m here to tell you that these are not good
reasons to miss out on the fun.
I’m not a developer.
teams are making software or trying to solve some problem along an accelerated
timeline. This works the same way it does in the normal development lifecycle,
including requirements definition, research, content creation, design,
development, testing, and QA. A hackathon team needs a variety of different
roles, not just developers.
I’m not a good enough developer.
hackathon is a great place to try out new skills, practice, and hone your
skills. You don’t have to be a wunderkind to participate or even win!
But I don’t want to stay up all night drinking Mountain Dew.
personally have attended at least five hackathons, two of them where my team won
prizes. I have never pulled an all-nighter. If your team is organized enough
and can define roles, you can arrange the work in a way that allows everyone to
get some sleep, too.
4. I’m anti-social/don’t like going to stuff/am shy.
are really fun! You’ll meet some of the most welcoming people around—after
all, they feel the same way. They’re nervous, don’t know anyone, and don’t know
what to expect, just like you. You’re all in this together, that’s a big part
of the fun! If you go with friends, you’ll get to tackle a challenge together.
If you don’t, you’ll leave with some new friends. I’ve made many friends and
even got one of my favorite jobs from attending a hackathon.
5. They aren’t doing stuff I’m interested in.
beauty of hackathons is that they give you the space to solve problems that you
don’t make time for in your daily life. They often have a civic or social good
focus, or they can be just for fun. I’ve seen hackathon teams tackle everything
from tech support for elderly relatives, pairing mentors and new developers,
and fixing healthcare for veterans, to putting a robot arm on a vending
not convinced? Come check out our panel discussion next week, Hackathon
and ask us your questions.