5 Tips for an Online Hackathon
Hackathons are competitive events in which teams of designers, developers, and subject matter experts work together to find solutions for a specific problem within a defined time frame. The goal of the event is to form a working model, in the form of a website, an app, or a robot, to solve a given problem. One of the most popular forms of a hackathon is the physical or an offline hackathon. The duration of this event is usually 24 hours and is usually arranged on the weekends. However, this article is about an online hackathon and tips on how you can successfully participate in one.
What is an online hackathon?
It was very difficult to be a part of an online hackathon platform previously as you needed to be physically present there at the venue, otherwise, you would miss all the fun and action. However, thanks to the internet a lot has changed. Online hackathons are now possible due to the introduction of the digital era and crowdsourcing platforms.
It is now possible to conduct online hackathon competitions or offline, or as a hybrid of both formats. No matter where you are in the world you can participate in an online hackathon. All participants are remotely connected in an online or virtual hackathon. An online hackathon gives everyone a chance to participate, showcase their skills, and have fun. Hackathons online test and challenge the participants' expertise and experience and are often used for narrowly-defined coding challenges These events can be based on specific APIs, frameworks, or programming languages.
A lot of companies use online hackathon platforms and have their employees participate simultaneously across different geographies and time zones to find a solution to a problem or drive innovation. In addition, online hackathons have a far bigger reach. With an online hackathon, companies are able to connect with millions of developers across the globe. The entire process of collecting submissions and evaluations is automated in an online hackathon, which makes it very easy for the organizers to select the greatest ideas at a much faster pace. An online platform is a basic requirement to conduct an online hackathon successfully.
5 tips for Participation in an online hackathon
There are a lot of things that we should know before attending the first hackathon. Usually, we are clueless about how to go about it the presentation, the split-up of the work, etc. It is always better to be prepared with some tips before you participate in the event for the long and hard battle that is about to begin. Here are 5 tips for you to participate in your next hackathon.
1. Know your team
A successful team is always a mix of various talents you have a frontend developer, a backend developer, a graphic designer, a business developer, etc. You should know what are your strengths and weaknesses and select a diverse team accordingly. It is more important to select a team that has people that you get along with (and can have fun with). There have been a lot of instances where individuals have come across teams that consist of people with insane skills but are not able to do well in hackathons only because of the fact that they have a few unresolved scuffles and ego issues during the hack.
2. Brainstorm and discuss ideas
Although a lot of hackathons release their problem statements weeks in advance, there are some who only release them during the hack. If your next hackathon is like the former, you must take some time out and brainstorm ideas with your team, you can look-up the previous winners of the hackathon, assignments that have won other hackathons, etc. It is always a great idea to discuss prevailing ideas and what can be done to improvise on them, this proves to be a great mental exercise for you and your team, and you often end up coming up with a good idea of your own. It is highly recommended to go through with this exercise even if your team has already decided upon an idea as you never know that you might find a feature that you could add to your project which could benefit your team. You can also subscribe to online hackathon courses.
3. Communicate with your team
It is extremely vital that you communicate with your team and the people around you. If you talk to potential end-users of the product it will help you comprehend their pain points. Communicate with the judges and mentors, and try to realize what they are looking for. You can also talk to other teams and see if they facing any problems and what sort of APIs they are using and learn from them. Consider all the insights that you have gained while communicating with these people, in your product. Most importantly, make sure that you communicate with your team. Discuss and finalize a place for communication, like Slack and exchanging files, like Google Drive, and have a short meeting every 3 hours to share your progress during the hackathon.
4. Time your execution
As soon as your team has finalized an idea that has been carefully discussed and outlined on a piece of paper, you should take at least 10 minutes to estimate how much time it will take to implement and execute your idea. Although it may seem cool and very appealing to add complex but impressive features, spice up the interface, etc., however, it might not be realistically possible to apply these in just 24 hours. You must choose only those features that can be built within the duration of the hackathon. If you really want to try new ideas you can hold a simulated hackathon with your team before the real one, so that you can get to know what possible problems you might face and the time that it takes to solve those problems.
5. Presentation is the key
Presentation is the key to your chances in the hackathon. Either your presentation will make or break your hackathon experience. A decent presentation describes what issues your product is solving, how is it different from the competitors, and market statistics associated to your product. You need to picture yourself in the judges' shoes and ask yourself about what you would like to see in a pitch. Try to keep it as simple as possible and don't talk too much about technical theory unless you have been asked to. You can also make your pitch more interactive by including the judges and/or the audience in your presentation. Remember-Practice makes perfect, so have a trial run before you make your way to the judges.
Tools you can use in Online Hackathon
Wondershare Mockitt is where direct workflow, collaborative teamwork, and rapid prototyping happens. So if you are planning to participate in a hackathon, Mockitt can be a game-changer for you. Let's take a look at some of the best features of Mockitt that can be put to use during a hackathon to enable you to work out amazing project ideas for the hackathon.
- Design Interactive and Animated Prototypes - With Mockitt, you can conveniently design prototypes that illustrate your ideas and enhance clients' experience.
- Libraries Full of Assets and Templates - Design prototypes faster using Mockitt's libraries full of built-in UI assets and templates. Create and reuse your own libraries for bringing customization into your workflow.
- Collaboration - Work together on the same page with your team during the hackathon. View the changes made by your team-mates in real-time.
- Customizable Visibility - Share a single document or your entire project with various stakeholders and clients in the hackathon by supplying simple URLs or customizing your project's visibility settings.
- Organized Communication - Keep all your communication around your projects organized during the hackathon with an intuitive comment system optimized for prototypes and designs.
Mockitt offers all the above and much more. Mockitt ensures that your sleepless hours during the hackathon do not go waste. Try us out today!