What Is A Hackathon and Why Should I Take Part?

Posted March 19 2018 By Chris Milne


From April 13 – 15, HRC will be the headline sponsors to Glasgow’s first ever Homeless Hackathon. Our IT & Change team are particularly excited about working alongside Gallus Events to create a successful weekend for those involved. For many people – not just those outside the IT industry – a Hackathon will be something of an unknown quantity.

Rest assured, it’s not just an event for those who are good at coding – although, having those particular skills will help. It’s an event about creating a product, marketing it and raising awareness for a specific cause. Teams from all disciplines within a business are eligible to take part. But, for now, let’s start with the basics …

What is a Hackathon?

A Hackathon is a very common event among programmers and can be for a social, educational for a charitable cause. Typically, they take place over 24 to 48 hours (although, some may well last longer) and focus strongly on teamwork. The participants can either enter as part of a team or be assigned one. During the Hackathon, these teams will then design, build and develop a particular product, such as an app.

They essentially try to offer a solution to a problem; be that social, political or economic. There can be an element of competitiveness – often there are prizes for the best product at the end of the Hackathon.

Why take part in one?

There are so many benefits in taking part in a Hackathon; not least for those who will benefit from the products developed on the day. The focus of the event is very much about teamwork and collaboration so, as well as honing your technical skills, there will definitely be the opportunity to work on your soft skills, such as communication.

Taking part is definitely something you can list on your CV; it demonstrates a host of desirable qualities such as innovation, technical skills and soft skills. The ability to come up with a useful product, develop it and market it within such a short space of time is incredibly impressive and prospective employers will want to know what role you played within the Hackathon.

It’s also a great opportunity to get in front of your peers – and potential employers. Market yourself as well as the product you create. Demonstrate your technical ability and your “people” skills to any potential employers in the room.

The sense of achievement, from building a product from scratch and creating something that will prove useful to a charity or local community, is immense. Your skills have contributed to the development of a product that will make the lives of others that little bit easier.

Glasgow’s first ever Homeless Hackathon is looking to attract anyone with ideas, time, skills and resources to dedicate to supporting homeless charities. As well as programmers and coders, the Hackathon will welcome, event organisers, social workers, graphic designers, care workers, digital marketeers, project managers, shop owners, journalists, accountants, PR professionals and those in transformational roles.

Get your tickets on Eventbrite.


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