Like migrating birds, graphic designers, front-end developers, back-end developers, and project managers, among many others, come together to these events and code furiously until the end of the weekend. You may have heard the word hackathon before. This is where we dive into the subject matter in more detail. We will talk about what a hackathon is, its purpose, as well as where to find one.
What Is It?
Essentially, hackathons (aka codefests and hackfests) are events during which programmers come together and try to create a working project from scratch in a set time frame. Open-source codes are usually welcome. The event lasts a couple of days and it rarely exceeds a week. Codefests are places where teams come together to make what they want to make, regardless of their work projects. There are no limitations as to what you can create during this event if you have the means to do so.
Hackfests are a paradise for software and web developers since they come together with people with similar interests and skills. You find a team based on your preference and it has nothing to do with your employment. The goal here is to make the product that works in the shortest time possible, so it can get quite competitive.
Eating and sleeping are not taken care of in the conventional sense. Many programmers sleep in their sleeping bags on the floor, and the choice of food is usually limited to takeout. It is a very informal atmosphere that would also be quite relaxing if it weren’t for the insane time limit.
Apart from feeling awesome because people are doing what they love with their kindred spirits, hackathons have several different purposes, depending on their type. Sometimes, they are there to improve on a government-run program or website. Other times, they give way to products in a certain industry. They are also used as a memorial service to the internet activist Aaron Swartz.
Many companies have adopted the concept of hackathons to achieve better results on their projects. However, this sometimes provokes resistance on the programmers’ part, since some believe that the companies are taking advantage of their employees by denying them rest outside work hours.
Where Can I Find a Hackathon?
The final issue we must tackle here is the one dealing with the location of accessible hackathons. There are several websites that keep track of codefests around the world, like HackEvents and Devpost. They will greatly facilitate finding an event in your area.
If, for whatever reason, you are not able to make it physically to the location, there is no need to despair. Hackathons are not done only on location. Remember, we are talking about putting people together to work on software issues. There are many hackfests that are done completely online, so you can participate from the comfort of your home. This, for example, is a perfect option for introverts who still want to meet people and improve their hacking skills.