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Cover image for πŸŽ‰ Winning my very first Hackathon πŸŽ‰

πŸŽ‰ Winning my very first Hackathon πŸŽ‰

kaiwalyakoparkar profile image Kaiwalya Koparkar ・4 min read

I recently participated in my very first hackathon (Online) Hack You hosted by MLH season and Organised by Merge Intern. And Although it was the first time for every team member(4 members including me) we ended up winning 2nd prize overall πŸŽ‰ .
So In this blog, I am going to tell all the steps that my team took to grab the position in the top 3. Let's jump into it! πŸ‘‡

We participated in the online hackathon. All the below views are with context to it

πŸ“Œ Finding a good hackathon:

  • This is an initial step for getting to the environment. Now, what do I mean by that? Many hackathons are topic-centric like FinHack (which focuses on financial hackathons) etc. So if you are not familiar with all the techs used in fintech I won't suggest topic-centric hackathons.

  • Instead of that try to find the hackathon which accepts the ideas from diverse tech stack as well eg: AR/VR/MR, AI/ML, BlockChain, Open Innovation, etc.

  • Also, keep note of the side prizes like for eg: Best use of Linode or Best domain name registered or Best octocat drawing which run parallel to the main theme of the hackathon.

  • At least try to complete 1 challenge from this category as well.

πŸ“Œ Finding a team:

  • Finding a team is an important point.
  • You would like to have an open-minded and active team (Even if they have less knowledge) instead of having all the knowledgeable and inactive team.
  • You can easily find the team members via social media, communities, developer groups, etc.
  • While selecting a team make sure every team member is good at some of the other techs and will be able to devote the maximum time throughout the hackathon.

πŸ“Œ Arranging a team meeting:

  • Actually, this enhances the conversation between the team members and makes everyone feel like good friends of each other.
  • Try to introduce yourself to other team members and get to know about their background, knowledge, experience, etc.
  • The meet need not be too long it can be as short as 15 mins or 30 mins.

πŸ“Œ Ideas:

  • The hackathon portal shows all the accepted techs in advance to their portals so you can start brainstorming with your team members and start gathering the resources you might require.
  • Find an idea that helps the community out there.
  • Do something that spreads awareness or helps people instead of building a money-making or profit-making model.
  • Always think of an idea that can actually create a difference in society and can actually help the people out there.
  • Take your time to finalize the ideas. Giving the time turns out with a lot of creative ideas.

πŸ“Œ Team Work:

  • After the hackathon starts officially you can get much information and doubts cleared in the opening ceremony of the event.
  • Remember every team member of yours has some unique qualities and try to use them all to their fullest and distribute the work accordingly.
  • If someone doesn't know something you are good at teaching them. This will increase your bonding and will boost their energy.
  • Always be in consistent touch with each other and take constant follow backs of the work they are doing.

πŸ“Œ Build:

  • Building the project comes with lots of difficulties. So it is always useful to distribute the work and maintain the isolation of the tasks.
  • Create milestones for your role and share those milestones will all of your team members. This helps in keeping the track of all the sections of the project.
  • Don't forget to document the project side by side eg: Maintaining a Readme with all the info, screenshots, demo video, etc. this surely gives an extra edge to your project while they get reviewed by the judges' panel.

πŸ“Œ Pitch:

Pitching has two phases:

🚩 Submission :

  • Always submit a brief extract of the project. Describe the smallest detail while submitting.
  • Create a prototyping video as well. (PPT with a voice-over)
  • Add Screenshots and links to the deployed version, Prototype video, source code, etc.

🚩 Video Pitching :

This usually happens on zoom.

  • Try wrapping up the ppt presentation in ~1 min as they give restricted time to present.
  • Give more time to present on the live deployed version or the project (Your work comes over the ppts)
  • In 10 min divide the time wisely.
    • 1 min for ppt presentation
    • 3 min for a live demo
    • 6 min for Q & A More time to q&a because this creates the final impression on the judges.
  • Stick to the point and cause of the project while presenting and in q & a.

πŸ“Œ Results:

Wait for the results and enjoy your efforts. Winning or losing doesn't matter at all. If you made friends, connections, awesome projects, had fun then you have already won! πŸŽ‰

πŸ“Œ Personal Tips

  • Don't start the project before starting the hackathon. This will raise the red flag while reviewing and sometimes they may disqualify
  • Try to maintain frequent commits on the project repo instead of the entire project in a single commit. Otherwise, this may look copied.
  • Try to enjoy the process and do for gaining experience instead of the prizes
  • Always keep buffer time and milestones. This helps reduce the stress and change the plannings if needed.
  • Keep healthy conversations with the team members.
  • Help each other in completing their tasks as well.
  • Seek help from the mentors and volunteers if needed. Trust me they are super helpful.

❀️ Thank you for reading ❀️

May you win lots of hackathons

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Above was my views entirely I would like to hear your view in the comments below πŸ‘‡

Discussion (9)

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kerldev profile image
Kyle Jones

This is a really interesting read - I think hackathons and open-source software in general are serious drivers of innovation in the modern tech landscape and are producing some really interesting and game changing tools.

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kaiwalyakoparkar profile image
Kaiwalya Koparkar Author

Thank you! That's very insightful

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado

we ended up winning 2nd prize overall πŸŽ‰ .

Wonderfully done and congrats! πŸ₯³πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰

Don't start the project before starting the hackathon. This will raise the red flag while removing and sometimes they may disqualify

LOL, I had the MISFORTUNE of participating in a "hackathon" (also online) where this was allowed to happen. The winning team already had a project up and running. And the hackathon organizers were so biased towards them from the start! At this point I don't really want much to do with hackathons anymore...

All bitterness aside, thanks for sharing your experience and all these tips! Very insightful! 😁

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Kaiwalya Koparkar Author

Thank you, Amelia. That was very bad organizing then. They violated the spirit of the hackathon. You can always participate in many big-scale hackathons. You won't encounter this issue there. Hopefully, all the bitterness will be filled with the sweetness of success in your next hackathon or any competition. Thanks for sharing your view. πŸ˜„

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado

That was very bad organizing then. They violated the spirit of the hackathon.

Oof, tell me about it! They really killed the spirit of hackathons 😀.

Hopefully, all the bitterness will be filled with the sweetness of success in your next hackathon or any competition.

Oh DEVinitely! I'll be sure to try again in the future. One day I shall rise victorious πŸ˜‚

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kaiwalyakoparkar profile image
Kaiwalya Koparkar Author

Best of luck for you future ❀️

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technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado

Thank you! 😊

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Shoaib Khalid

Wonderful. Thanks for sharing Kaiwalya. I'm also looking for a team to participate in, would love to work with you if needed. And many Congratulations

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kaiwalyakoparkar profile image
Kaiwalya Koparkar Author

Thank you, Shoaib. Please do let me know on my social handles πŸ˜„