8 Useful Tips About Hackathon for Beginners
It is no surprise that the IT area is extremely lubricative and great coders are the shining stars. Modern industrial companies and consulting agencies are all about digital transformation. The demand for the sector grows every year, creating a gap in the IT departments that needs to be filled with capable others. For finding such bright professionals, renowned consulting agencies and companies organize technological events such as hackathons for beginners. Hackathons are a place where one learns a lot in minimum time by trial and error. The competition's primary goal is to solve a business problem by building prototypes and the minimum viable product that satisfies user needs.
What is a hackathon?
Hackathons for beginners might sound intimidating, but in reality, they are relaxed and fun events where one can learn how to create cool technologies. The term hackathon combines two words' hacking' and 'marathon,' but hacking here doesn't mean breaking global corporations' security mechanisms. However, more to the nature of organized chaos, these events entail-to form a concept by throwing ideas together. Generally, hackathons are weekend-long technology festivals, but an online hackathon for beginners can last up to a few months. As these are in the form of a competition, there are prizes, monetary or otherwise. Onsite events can help you meet like-minded people and learn a lot about new technologies. One doesn't need to be a coding pro to participate in the event. Beginners can observe the community, challenge themselves with hands-on tasks, and improve working in a team. In case of victory, one can grab good money or an interview at a prestigious corporation.
Image Source: University of Waterloo
Technically speaking, it is a competition for engineers, software developers, designers, and all those falling in these categories. The targeted demographics and skills tested are much broader now than before. If you are confused about where to start, look at the hackathon for beginners or the data science hackathon for beginners. Hackathons with small prizes are an excellent way to begin as a lower skill level must be competitive. Otherwise, there are many online hackathons for beginners, which you can choose according to your needs and skill set.
Hackathon: 8 Tips for beginners
Below, you can find eight hands-on tips related to hackathon projects for beginners:
1. Necessary tools
When going to a hackathon, you have to have your resources in check. Your laptop, USB cables, and most importantly, the platform you will develop or design on. It would help if you chose the forum that you are most comfortable with as, amidst all the brainstorming, it won't be possible to get satisfied with something completely new. It is essential to optimize your time and be efficient in a hackathon to yield the best results. Tools such as Atom and Sublime Text are great for beginner hackathon ideas. Sublime Text is a sophisticated text editor, and Atom is a customizable open-source programming IDE.
For design and inspiration, Wondershare Mockitt is a great tool. It is an intuitive online platform where collaborative teamwork, direct workflow, and rapid prototyping happens. Precisely what is needed in a hackathon! Mockitt provides a library full of assets and templates suitable for UI. You can design interactive and animated prototypes that illustrate your idea. The best part is that everyone on the team can work together on the same page in real-time. It is developer-friendly and felicitates organized communication. Thus, it is the right way to start.
2. Don't hesitate to register as a team or an individual
Once you are sure of your goals and have done your research, the next step is to find like-minded people and build a team. If you are going into a hackathon with people whose strengths and weaknesses you are aware of, it will give you an edge over other teams. But what if you don't have a team. The idea of signing up alone might sound intimidating, but don't worry. Most hackathons have room for team formation for all the individuals checking in. This lets both teams looking for additional members and individuals come together based on the individual skill sets.
3. Stuck? Ask for help
This is the most often given advice that doesn't be afraid to ask for help. When participating in your first hackathon, you are bound to get stuck, and the best part is that you are surrounded by people having years of experience in different areas and fields. This is rare access, and be sure to take full advantage of this opportunity. You will be pleasantly surprised by the response as most individuals and organizers are always ready to talk and share wisdom. Not only industry experts, but you will meet self-taught programmers who can help you learn new skills and sharpen existing ones. The hackathon project ideas for beginners will take you close to solving real-life issues.
Image Source: GeeksforGeeks
4. Connect with other teams
Hackathons are competitive, but discussing ideas and approaches with other teams can make you look at things differently and probably help shape a winning idea. There does not need to be ulterior motives, and often teams are just looking to chat and excite others. This makes a hackathon much more than a competition. It is a collaborative and inclusive space that facilitates building unique prototypes and software. It is pretty unlikely that any team would copy something in such a short span. So don't let ego stand in the middle; go out and make new friends.
Image Source: Girl Knows Tech
5. Know your objectives
Before starting anything, it is essential to set goals and then work towards it. Take your time to assess the problem and decide what you want to build. Don't forget why you participated in the first place when things get tough. Think about the skills you are gaining and how it will benefit your portfolio. You might have to build an app with an API you have never worked with before, but that's the motive. Beforehand, you can search for the topic and theme for the hackathon. You should do your research about the sponsoring company's API and look at how you can add to it.
6. Don't give up
Don't sweat if your project doesn't work. Hackathons are based on building and fixing. Remember that you are in a team, and one person giving up can hamper the team's morale in situations where things don't go as planned, be considerate, and be respectful of everyone's ideas. Even though it is a challenge, it is crucial to be a person someone can work with. Also, it takes a lot to win a hackathon, so you shouldn't be intimidated or scared as a newbie. Come prepared, give your best, and don't forget to have fun.
Image Source: ChallengeRocket.com
7. Go for healthy snacks
Your mind and body need healthy food to function in the right way. It is hard to resist free soda, chips, and cookies, but there are always delicious and healthy snacks such as granola bars, fruit, and trail mix on the side. Hackathons require much energy, both physically and mentally, so it is important to fuel yourself the right way. The last thing you want is to crash before finishing your project. So you can bring your snack and ensure that you had a good night's sleep beforehand because you would need to be charged up throughout.
8. Take breaks and have fun
Working around the clock on hackathon project ideas for beginners can be intense and stressful. To break the monotony, hackathon organizers plan both fun activities and informational workshops throughout the weekend. As it is hard to step away from the project, many of these scheduled workshops are designed according to the theme to help participants with inspirational ideas. In need of recreation? Take a few minutes to play a round of bags, ping pong, or any other fun activity planned.
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Ready to participate in your first hackathon? Check out the tool you need for preparation here.