Help! I’m going to a Hackathon! | Beginner’s Guide to Hacking

You’ve just signed up for a hackathon or a friend has given you a ticket. Now what?

First of all, don’t panic. I know that it can be nerve-racking, but let’s define some terms for you and talk about why most folks go and what’s going to happen at a general level.

What is a hackathon?

Everyone has their own specific definition of what a hackathon actually is, but this is my version: A hackathon is essentially a design sprint that can last a few hours to a few weeks. The goal is basically to innovate and create fun solutions to problems.

I direct civic hackathons, which are niche events where we focus on making strides towards solving specific community problems. There are also more general corporate and technology hackathons that allow participants to identify problems and generate solutions around a specific product or business idea.

Why host or attend hackathons?

Regardless of what your reason might be for attending a hackathon, it’s fine to admit that you have no idea what you are doing, or that this is a bad first date idea. Most folks go because they love the thrill of “hacking.” They love the challenge.

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