What are the best coding challenge prizes?


May 31, 2018

coding on laptop

So you code in your free time, code at work, and for your university project. You’re fairly confident in your skills but don’t really know where to go from there? Well look no further, coding challenge is what you’ve been waiting for all along.

Hackathons, another term for those competitions, are best described as events of organized chaos. For organizers those events go smoothly with occasional hiccups, as is the case with everything in life. But for participants? That’s a different story, nothing ever goes quite according to the plan, and the reason for that are a very specific environment and mindset that competitors are in. The time for completing a project is limited, with on-site hackathons even to 24 hours in some instances, the uncertainty of how well or how bad the other team is doing fuels the feelings of stress and need of speeding the workflow up. One small error leads to another, and the final result is an app, a website, consisting or hardcoded fixes just to get the project to a state when it’s suitable for presentation. In all honesty, that’s the beauty of coding competitions, a wild west for software developers that hunt for the reward.

Prizes in past coding challenges

What’s at stake depends solely on the event and its organizers, so when picking a hackathon that you want to participate in you should always account for the prize that you can potentially win. The bigger the company or organization behind a given event, the more tempting the prizes will be. Let’s take some hackathons as examples of most profitable and interesting rewards. offered 1 million dollars prize in 2013

Undeniably the biggest, best prize to ever be on the table in a hackathon had been taken by a team whose success was questioned by many. The rules stated that projects had to be developed from scratch solely for the purpose of the Dreamforce hackathon, yet the app had been showcased weeks before the event. It’s always crucial to play fair, but one shouldn’t be surprised by questionable tactics when a 7 figure prize is at the stake either.

Nearly $43.000 prize pool in NVIDIA® Jetson™ Developer Challenge

NVIDIA, a global leader not only in computer graphics technologies but also in deep learning and AI solutions, organized a programming competition on the platform. It aimed at developing solutions that can be beneficial for the whole society, and suggested topics included security, healthcare, and education. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd place, honorable mention, as well as public choice received NVIDIA Titan Xp graphics cards in addition to monetary prizes, first place having received $10.000. Finalists were also ensured an expense-paid trip to Silicon Valley.

$100.000 prize in Makers Against Drought coding challenge

Staying in California for a bit, their drought problem in 2016 was so severe, Samsung resorted to a hackathon to engage the coding community in creating solutions in analyzing water consumption using Internet of Things to pinpoint the problem. The event was organized for a good cause, and being as important as it was the generous prize was meant to attract as many participants as possible.

Almost $12.000 prize pool in bankITup - Data Rules! on-site challenge

Organized by Santander Bank on platform, this hackathon was focused on participants building a tool, a model, or an algorithm that assesses a company’s investment and development potential solely on the data available on the internet. We say almost $12.000 because the prize was actually 43.000 PLN which nearly perfectly translates to that amount US dollars. The programming challenge was divided into two stages, first taking place in Zone of Student’s Culture on the campus of Wrocław University of Science and Technology between 14th and 15th of April. Second stage is scheduled to take place between 18th of April and 15th of June. Winner of first place will receive 8.000 PLN, so over $2.200!

$27.250 in prizes in Anita’s Moonshot Codeathon

To fight the gender gap in tech industry Systers organized a coding challenge for everyone that identifies as a woman. The hackathon was held online, and the factor that made it stand out from other similar challenges was no necessity of coding skills. The main focus of this initiative was on education and raising awareness of the disparity in number of male and female workers in STEM fields. The Grand Prize winning team received full scholarships to Grace Hopper Celebration 2018 worth $10.500 for a team of 5 members.

Pick a coding challenge for yourself

While money should never be the only factor that pushes you to participate in a programming challenge it has always an important factor in the decision-making process. There are other benefits to be gained in hackathons, be it experience, recognition, or landing a better paying position. In the end it is you who has the final say, but now that you know what kinds of prizes can be at the stake. Now is the time to choose an event that meets your expectations, we suggest that you take a look at out list of coding challenges. Join us today!