MamStartup - How to prepare for a hackathon

Feb 13, 2018

Unless you stumbled upon this piece by accident you probably know quite a lot about hackathons, but knowledge has this amazing quality that it never hurts to have more of it. This is why we invite you to sit back and discover a few pieces of advice on getting ready for that unique kind of marathon. The stakes are high - we’re here to play as well as to change the world for the better!

Número uno - build a team

Every success story in such competition relies on the efforts of the whole team, and as such you need to take care of being an organized and diverse party. Code is king, obviously, but the fact that many aspects are judged from the visual side needs to be accounted for as well. Sometimes a graphic designer from some other team might give you a helping hand, but you can never hope for being this lucky. Before you begin it is crucial that tasks are assigned in such a way that the process of developing the project is as optimized as possible. Presentation of the final product is as important as its development so don’t forget to appoint a member of your team for this task right when you start working. Looking back on numerous programming challenges it is clear that neglecting this element negatively influences the reception of the project.

Getting ready is the key

The next important piece of advice is to set your hardware and software up. A GitHub repository will be extremely useful, and if you don’t know about them already, task management services like Todoist or TeuxDeux, are a must. They help save time and resources that might come in handy later on. Make sure every member of your team has access to the documents and repositories, and can use them freely. There’s one more thing worth mentioning about GitHub, and that is to learn about “branching”, which means working simultaneously on different “branches” of the project. After finishing the tasks the results achieved by members of your team can be merged, which leads to your workflow being more optimized. Remember that if you ensure a proper preparation you will minimize the risks of encountering technical issues.

Use existing solutions

Make sure to find out whether companies present at the event are sharing any APIs, because access to those will speed up the development of your app immensely, you won’t have to be coding everything from scratch. Often a proper use of such solution might actually be perceived as an advantage. Adam Dubiel, Allegro’s BrainCode 2016 mentor, said that he is “pleasantly surprised by the number of solutions incorporating their API in an innovative way” which only goes to show that this is something worth considering. In cases when such possibility simply does not exist you can always rely on your strategy and carefully thought through steps.

Just do it!

If you’re still not sure remember, there’s nothing to be waiting for. A hackathon is a great opportunity to improve your skill set, meet interesting people, be noticed by respected players of that sector, but most importantly it is your chance to have fun. If you want to find out more make sure to check out ChallengeRocket. This platform is everything programmers, where you can find articles and several contests. Thanks to the above we are sure you will succeed in your first coding competition. So go out there and conquer the world!