This post is part of the Tech Tuesday series brought to you by NTEC.
Hack used to be a bad word. When the emails of 53 million people were stolen by hackers in 2014, the word definitely had a negative connotation. These days, however, more people than ever align the word ‘hack’ with programming, coding and hackathons.
Hackathons are now held in almost every major city and they are changing the way companies and individuals do business. A hackathon is an event where programmers get together and collaboratively code with the end goal of creating something that could turn into a viable project or application. They are usually only 24 to 48 hours over aweekend. With the rise in apps and software development, hackathons are becoming mainstream. Here’s how hackathons are changing the landscape in business:
- Networking: Hackathons are a great way to network and get to know people who might be able to help you as you progress in your career. These events are an easy way to get in touch with people with both technical and non-technical roots. Even if you don’t code, attending a hackathon is a good way to get a glimpse of the tech world.
- Job Recruiting: Large companies are now using hackathons as a way to recruit qualified job candidates. Hackathons give recruiters a look at how potential candidates work with others in a pressure environment. These events are a great place to find new employees, or even that techie co-founder you’ve been looking for.
- Different Perspectives: Hackathons force you to work with people you’d probably never interact with otherwise, which in turn sparks new ideas from different perspectives. Ideas are looked into more deeply and progress is accelerated. Hackathons allow you to put your ideas out for review by experienced judges who can provide constructive criticism.
- Execution: Hackathons force participants to execute their ideas in a finite amount of time. When you’re working on a project at work, it’s easy to get caught up in creating perfection. In a hackathon, you are forced to put what you have out there for review whether it’s perfect or not. This allows participants to focus on the validity of the concept.
The importance of pitching and presentation: What can start as a great idea can flop pretty quickly if it’s not presented well. If the pitch is not timed correctly, or is not adequately rehearsed, the idea can bomb in front of the judges. Some participants spend too much time on their prototypes instead of explaining who potential customers are or thoroughly explaining their business plan.
If you’re looking to participate in a hackathon soon, try NTEC’s Hack|ED, taking place on Feb. 26-27th, which is unique because it has two tracks versus just one. The first track is an educational track for participants with little to no hackathon experience. The second track is a traditional competition for high school and college students as well as professionals who may compete for the big prize. Hack|ED is one of DFW’s first educational hackathons, so it’s a great way for someone to get their feet wet and and learn some basics! Hack|ED is founded by the North Texas Enterprise Center, Parish Episcopal School, iLLUMINATE STEM, and the Guild of Software Architects.
Perhaps the most important thing Hackathons provide is the ability to immediately get involved. Procrastination has no place in a Hackathon and for many, especially those entering the entrepreneurial world, the experience of executing ideas in a finite amount of time will provide lessons that will last a lifetime.