Over the last two weekends, I participated in multiple hackathons. The Hackathons were hosted by MLH Season 2021 and it was the first time I participated in the hackathon alone.
Although I didn't win any but surely it was a surreal experience.
So In this blog, I am going to tell my experience and learnings from hackathons. Let's jump into it! 👇
I participated in the online hackathon. All the below views are with context to it
• 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.
• 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.
P.S. - Although I tried to find a team, but I didn't found any team. So I worked alone in the project.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
Pitching has two phases:
• 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
This usually happens on zoom.
• Try wrapping up the ppt presentation in approximately 2-3 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 QnA.
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! 🎉
• 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.