3 Fastest Ways to Improve as a Hackathon Judge

You’ve just got asked to be a judge at a hackathon. 

Now what? First, congratulations!

Second, here are three tips that have helped me gauge projects and their success in a hackathon environment.

Ask for a rubric.

Depending on how the hackathon is run and how prizes are awarded, having a starting baseline of a project evaluation form/rubric can be tremendously helpful.

Spend time prior to the event reading through any and all materials you have available to you. It’s important to have a grasp of what kind of projects/challenges are being hacked and beginning to formulate ideas on the creativity you’ll be bound to witness.

Now civic hackathons are trickier because we’re going past the normal “impressive” and “technical difficulty” criteria and building in the social impact aspect. But here is what we’ve worked with and it’s far from perfect, but it works.



Usually the criteria are some assortment of these:

  • X% — User Experience/Design
  • X% — Innovation
  • X% — “Wow” Factor
  • X% — Impact/Sustainability
  • X% — Technology Difficulty
  • X% — Collaboration

But make sure to get familiar. It helps you. It helps the hackers. It helps the event hosts.

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