In today’s world of fast and cheap internet, anyone from every corner of the world has the internet and devices to access the web. This accessibility to the internet and device have reformed the entire knowledge/ learning ecosystem, thereby enabling a self-learning or self-training system where students belonging to any economic background, or location, can access the best courses, resources and skill training programs from the best professionals or institutes around the globe.
This is the internet connectivity map of the world currently:
Engineering and Technology development is one such field where the effect has been prominent, leading to a large number of talented and bright minds venturing into this field from institutes/colleges across the globe.
“If you look at history, innovation does not come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect”
-Steven Johnson, an American author
Hackathons are events where people engage in rapid and collaborative development or engineering for a short period. Hackathons are a means for people belonging to a particular field especially engineering and development to showcase their talent among a large pool of talented professionals. They engage in solving the pressing problems of the world using their knowledge and skill in engineering and presenting a viable and appropriate solution. Hackathons are generally organized with a specific focus or goal i.e. which can include creating functioning hardware or software to solve a particular problem. In a way, hackathons complement traditional innovation methods.
Traditionally, the responsibility of coming up with innovative products, services, and business models was assigned only to a handful of people within the organization. Generally, a dedicated R&D or a specific unit for innovation was assigned to the task. Nowadays, companies, irrespective of their size, conduct hackathons to drive innovation. Due to the extensive workforce connectivity, collaborative innovation has become a lot easier. Concrete ideas derived from hackathons have helped deliver top-notch products, better customer experience, and greater revenue.
Usually, the first stage in a hackathon is an idea submission round which is generally organized through an online platform. Participants are then selected from this round for the final offline stage where they have to build their software or hardware prototype in front of the panel. The participants are briefed about the competition and presented with a few projects/problem statements that are to be solved in the specified amount of time which is around 24 to 48 hours. At last, they have to present their solution to the panel and the best solution wins!!
Some Famous Hackathons:
Megathon: organized by E-Cell IIIT Hyderabad.
Megathon 2022 - Megathon official website
Hack in the North (H.I.N.T): organized by IIIT Allahabad
Hack In The North - H.I.N.T official website
Smart India Hackathon: it is a nationwide initiative to provide a platform for students to solve the pressing problems we face in our daily lives. It is organized under the umbrella of GOI.
hackCBS: India's biggest student-run hackathon**!!**
hackCBS 5.0 | India's Biggest Student-run Hackathon | 5th & 6th November 2022 | Offline Hackathon - official website of hackCBS
Microsoft Imagine Cup: organized under the umbrella of tech giant Microsoft
Imagine Cup - Student Developer Tools, Resources and Experiences | Imagine Cup (microsoft.com) - official website of MIC
HACKATHON by ML Club NIT Silchar:
ML Club NIT Silchar is coming up with one of the biggest and first-of-its-kind Hackathon in north-east India.
Benefits of Hackathons:
Hackathons serve not only the participants but also play an important role in the entire product dev market. They offer value to both organizers and attendees.
You learn a lot: The environment throws a participant into an environment where one has to build a fully functional end-to-end application or device to solve a specific problem. You have to think creatively and logically, which in turn brushes up your analytical abilities. You learn new skills that are well-suited to your industry.
Great networking opportunities: You get to meet highly skilled developers and get to learn from them. It helps to build a strong network of influencers and peers in the tech community.
Demonstrate your skills: A hackathon is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your skills in front of potential recruiters. Many organizations that sponsor such hackathons often scout for new talents during these events.
Accelerate Product Development and Ideation: Hackathons help to quickly check the feasibility of some of the ideas that can be taken up in the immediate roadmap. The dedicated time that one gets during the hackathon along with the competitive spirit and adrenaline rush can accelerate product development.
Few Tips for Future Hackathon Participants:
Study and explore previous hackathons by the host organization and winning solutions. These insights will help you to anticipate the types of challenges you’ll face.
Determine where to find the resources you will need during the hackathon.
Learn how to effectively work in teams, by attributing the right task to the individual with the correct skillset.
Focus on the Presentation, your team could develop the most advanced program ever achieved at a hackathon, it could be bug-free, work as well as any program could hope to, and be perfect, but all of it means nothing if your team is not able to sell the idea properly.
Few useful links for acing your first Hackathon:
To summarize, hackathons are now one of the front-runners in the market of product development and engineering. Right from developing new technologies for a pressing problem to validating a product idea, the bright minds of the hackathons are acing it!