You may have heard the term tossed around a few times, but do you know what a hackathon is? What are some of the pros and cons of hackathon? These are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about registering for a hackathon!
What is a hackathon?
An event focused on collaboratively creating software, usually in effort to solve one or a variety of problems utilizing computer programming. Hackathons tend to have a specific focus (be it programming language, OS, or any other number of specifications), and usually involve team competition and collaboration. They typically last for a weekend and occur year round!
What are some pros of participating in a Hackathon?
Networking. One nice thing about attending a hackathon is you can be sure that you share something in common with everyone else there — a love for computer programming. In addition to the rigorous hackathon event itself, there’s often opportunities to get to know other programmers and spend leisure time together.
Camaraderie. In line with just making connections, the intensive nature of a hackathon will foster community between attending members. Either for the weekend or for years to follow, you will find a community at a hackathon.
Creation. The focus of the hackathon, of course, is on problem solving and software development. So at the end of the weekend, no matter what the problem was, you’ll have created something incredible — be it an original application or altering the purpose of an appliance. Over the course of the hackathon, you might work with people from vastly different programming backgrounds than yours and on projects that are vastly different than ones you’re familiar with. Hackathons provide opportunity to branch out and test some less-used programming muscles.
What are some cons of participating in a Hackathon?
Tiring. As can be expected from spending a weekend developing new code and software, hackathons can take a toll on your sleep habits.
Frustrating. As with any high-pressure, low-time event, there are bound to be frustrations along the road. From bad or unusable code, to bugs that simply cannot be fixed in the time constraint, unfortunate things can happen unexpectedly. Like any competition, the prospect of spending hours and hours working on something, only to come up short in the end should be considered.
Loss of focus and drive. Burnout is real, and it’s unfortunately not uncommon at hackathons. Between sleep loss, frustration buildup, or simply brain fatigue and procrastination (which occur at hackathons just like they occur before your big paper is due!), it can be difficult to focus on completing hacking tasks.