You Should Participate In Hackathons

What are hackathons?

Hackathons are innovation competitions where people come together to solve problems. According to Wikipedia hackathon is a design sprint-like event, in which often computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, product managers, project managers, domain experts, and others collaborate intensively on software projects.

The goal of hackathons is to develop a product at the end of the event. Every hackathon tends to have a specific focus;  be it the programming language used, the target audience, and the duration. Hackathon has two primary names. The first one is “hack,” which in the context of software development refers to a creative approach to a challenge. The second is a running contest known as a “marathon.”

By participating in hackathons individuals come to the realization that they are capable of accomplishing great things.

What do hackathons expose people to?

Hackathon ignites the innovative thinking of participants. Hackathons do not take any particular form. The topic area for every hackathon is different. Organizers provide hackers with tools they can use, participants are not obligated to use them but it does help. By doing so, participants are learning something new to prepare them for the industry.

Here are some of the benefits of hackathons:


Exposure to working in teams and potential leadership roles.

Team formation is necessary for the success of the project. Participants learn how to work and share ideas with similar minds within a stipulated time. Hackathons are the best place to teach, learn, test, challenge, and share everything. It is for individuals who believe that working in a team can help them improve. When leading a team, patience is pretty much needed as tension is created during brainstorming phase


In addition to the work and knowledge acquisition, hackathons give a conducive environment to network. Participants meet a lot of people from different backgrounds, mentors and potential inventors they can exchange contacts with.

Confidence Booster

Anybody who hasn’t participated in hackathons is likely to have self doubt and probably think they aren’t good enough. By participating in hackathons individuals come to the realization that they are capable of accomplishing great things.  Usually the best solutions are thought of by teams with different levels of knowledge and also have a lot of creativity and harmony. Their skills are utilized in a group to make the hack successful. Many unleash their skills during these events which boost their self confidence. Different skills are needed at each stage, whether in pitch, ideation of proposal, brainstorms or simple HTML coding.

What type of hackathons are available?

Hackathons are held for a variety of reasons and purposes, thus they may be categorized into a wide range of categories. For this article we will focus on two categories: technical and non-technical.

Technical:  These hackathons are mostly concerned with technical issues. On specific platforms like mobile apps, desktop operating systems, web development, etc. The goal is to build or develop new technologies that will in some manner aid in the growth of the neighborhood, improve business solutions and more. Several hackathons have also been held with the goal of enhancing education.

Examples of organizations that periodically organize hacks are reach (, Gitcoin also has cool bounties for developers.

Non-technical: Other hackathons are occasionally held in honor or memory of individuals who have left a lasting legacy in certain disciplines. To connect programmers, developers, and engineers, several hackathons are also organized. Some businesses host internal non-technical hackathons to solve problems in the organization, which can result in the development of new products.

According to a LinkedIn article written by Thyra Allen a non-traditional hackathon “can provide numerous benefits, beyond the potential for crowdsourcing the most innovative solution or opportunity from all of the organization’s mind power.”

Why should black women participate in hackathons?

According to the University of Colorado Boulder Atlas Institute the ratio of women’s participation in hackathons to men can be as low as 1:15.  Black women participation in hackathons can be the beginning of exposure to career opportunities. One does not necessarily have to be in tech to participate. Women with business and other non-tech related backgrounds can equally participate in hackathons.

The opportunities in participating in hackathons are endless. It will increase chances of landing a job after the event. Also, black women will be well vested in the latest technology since a lot of tech “gurus” will be around to share their knowledge and tools they use at work.

It’s an opportunity for black women to refine their presentation skills, collaboration, design and thinking skills. The participation of Black women in hackathons will not only boost their confidence but also help motivate other ladies to come on board and also give it a try. With the ability to think and solve problems, we encourage black women to participate in hackathons more frequently.

Author: Mary