Do you enjoy using code? Is your favorite language a computer language? Maybe, the answer is yes and if that's the case simply participating in or attending a hackathon is the next command to perform.
Basically, a Hackathon or hack day is an event where programmers and developers work together on sometimes a specific software project. Some people that will participate in these events include project managers, novice coders, gaming developers, mobile software creators, graphic designers, interface designers and students.
The goal may be to create usable software and it often is set up for educational or social benefit. Many times they will work with a certain set of tools, one or more programming languages, a particular operating system, an API, a game or focus on a specific demographic of programmers. It is also a chance to come together and work on new apps, websites or a creative new project. Although the word "hack" can be associated with a negative attempt to decry-pt a website, computer network or a program, it is more commonly used in a playful manner to refer to an exploration of new technology or systems and not a crime.
Hackathons will usually begin with one or more presentations. Next, participants will collaborate on ideas, form teams, and begin working together because of similar skill or interest. Finally the hackathon will start and can last anywhere from several hours to several days. If there is a contest involved the judges will select winning teams and prizes are given. At one particular hackathon in 2013 a payout of $1 million dollars was presented to the winners by a company called Salesforce.com. This is not a typical prize for many hackathons it is all dependent on the sponsors, universities, tech groups or internet companies and what they are willing to compensate for the work attained.
Picking the right one
Below is a list of the different types of hackathons to keep in mind when locating one to attend:
- Use of specific programming language or framework ie. game, mobile app, desktop application
- Educational purposes ie. Educational Hack Days
- Benefit or cause ie. Random Hacks of Kindness, Hack Day for Heroes, etc..
- Tribute, memorial or dedication
- Internal Company ie. yahoo, google or aol
- Demographic group ie. college, women or gamers
Remember its important to brush up on all computer language, software tools or API required for the event in order to be better prepared and knowledgeable on the day of the event. Focusing on the goals of the event and working collectively with your team(s) to attain it will help in completing your project and make for a better hackathon.
Check out future articles for some hacking and coding events to be hosted soon in the Los Angeles and surrounding areas: A List of Upcoming Hacking Events
Here are a few ideas on how to find a hacking, coding or gaming event in your area: