Playing fair at hackathons

Jul 31, 2018

Hackathons and idea challenges, at their roots, are competitions like any other. At the end of the day you participate to win, to be recognized, to grab the main prize. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the competitive mindset and start playing too hard. The importance of fair play at hackathons cannot be overstated.

What are hackathons and idea challenges?

Hackathons and idea challenges can be divided into online and onsite contests. When held in a physical location they last from 12 to 72 hours, and for online ones the duration can vary from few days to even months. The aim of those competitions is to solve problems, find new solutions, or to hone one’s craft. Hackathons are focused on software and hardware solutions from the technical perspective, while idea challenges won’t require a single line of code to be written. Each one might be more of a design challenge, innovation challenge, anything in between, or something entirely different, there are no real boundaries.

Why the competition is so fierce?

Participation in hackathons is voluntary, and that reason alone means people who take part in those care for the subject and would want to present the best of their abilities in the field. We are competitive creatures, even when there’s no tangible prize to aim for, gratification may come in the sole fact of being on top. A vast majority of hosts when organizing a hackathon or an idea challenges, however, do offer prizes, usually for more than just grand winner as well.

Those can include cash, gadgets, or even jobs. It’s not unusual for companies to hire developers during one such event. The more valuable the reward the more fierce the competition. In rare cases people will go to great lengths to be the ones on the podium. The biggest hackathon prize in the history was won by cheaters. It’s a sad fact, but it’s a fact nonetheless. One million dollars went into pockets of people who did not follow the rules, they had an unfair advantage over their competitors. Explaining why such practices are not okay is unnecessary, but we can focus on ways of preventing them.

What playing fair gets you at hackathons?

Working hard on a project feels very rewarding when it leads to some kind of success, and success is even more appreciated when you reached that point with no foul play. Doing things the right way opens up a lot of doors in the future with no fear of ever being held responsible for your wrongdoings. Winning a hackathon is not only about one time prize, as, in case of many, long term employment is at the stakes. The social aspect is equally as crucial.

Hackathons and idea challenges are perfect opportunities to build a network of contacts worth working with, burning those bridges by breaking the rules of the competition will get you nowhere.

Are you a fan of fair play? Do you enjoy putting your skills to the test? Idea challenges and hackathons are the perfect environment for you! Visit our list of hackathons and challenges, pick a contest, and sign up today! We’d love to have you join the family!