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4 Tips on How to Win a Hackathon

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Dominik Keller
Apr 27th, 2023
Blog

Four Tips on How to Win a Hackathon

Virtual hackathons are becoming increasingly popular in the tech industry. In fact, if you are reading this article in 2023, there’s a good chance that Five is currently running its annual low-code hackathon (May to June 2023)! Visit our registration page to sign up today!

They allow developers from all over the world to come together, collaborate, and create innovative solutions to real-world problems. While the process of participating in a virtual hackathon can be exciting, submitting your work can be a daunting task. Especially if your intention is not just to participate, but to win a hackathon.

In this article, we will discuss some tips on how to ace your virtual hackathon submission.

How Does a Hackathon Work?

If you’re new to hackathons, let us first explain how a hackathon works.

A virtual hackathon is an online event where developers build an application using a prescribed technology. Software developers can participate solo or in a team. What matters most is that they create innovative software solutions to real-world problems.

Typically, participants are asked to develop an application within a set timeframe, which can range from a few days to several weeks. During the hackathon, participants are given a specific problem or theme to work on, and they use their skills and expertise to develop a solution. Once their application is complete, they submit it for review to the judges who evaluate the submissions based on criteria such as innovation, functionality, and presentation.

At the end of the hackathon, winners are announced, and prizes are awarded to the top teams.

Virtual hackathons offer a unique opportunity for software developers to showcase their existing skills, learn new skills, network with other professionals, and create innovative solutions to real-world problems.

Four Tips on How to Win a Hackathon

Follow these four tips to increase your chances of winning your next hackathon.

Five.Co - Four Tips To Win a Hackathon

1. Speak About Both the Final Application as Well as How It Was Developed

When it comes to submitting your virtual hackathon project, it’s essential to talk about both the final application and the process of building it. This means explaining the problem you aimed to solve and the technologies you used.

One way to do this is to write a detailed report that outlines your project’s purpose, the technologies you used, and the approach you took to tackle the problem. Be sure to explain the technical details of your solution and highlight any unique or innovative features that set your project apart from other submissions.

2. Use Visuals: Create a Demo Video or Images Explaining the Application

When it comes to presenting your virtual hackathon project, a video or images, i.e. screenshots, that explain the application is a big plus. These visuals can help judges and other participants better understand your solution and its features and increase your chances to win a hackathon.

Walk judges through your solution step-by-step, highlighting those features that make your solution stand out. Explain them well without getting lost in detail. Remember that you first need to hook judges with the big picture. Once they are hooked, you can go into more details, as judges would want to know more.

If you have built a web application, for example, consider creating a demo video that showcases the different features of your project. As mentioned, it is also highly advisable to include screenshots or images that highlight specific elements of your project.

Additionally, you can also create a presentation that includes both visual aids and a brief explanation of your solution. This can help you convey the details of your project more effectively and make it easier for judges to evaluate your submission.

3. Maximize the Use of The Prescribed Technology

Virtual hackathons often have specific guidelines and requirements that participants are asked to follow. This can include using a specific technology, framework, or programming language. In our case, Five’s low-code IDE is the prescribed technology: the goal is to build something truly awesome on top of Five.

To ace your virtual hackathon submission, it’s essential to maximize the use of the prescribed technology. This means leveraging all of the features and capabilities that the technology offers to create a high-quality application. In the case of Five, this does include using its high code capabilities, such as Five’s SQL editor, or extending applications with JavaScript or TypeScript.

Be sure to explore all of the available resources and documentation related to the prescribed technology. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of the technology and how it can be used to build your solution. Additionally, consider seeking out help from other participants or mentors if you encounter any challenges or roadblocks along the way.

For example, our user community or our YouTube channel are valuable resources that can help you get inspiration for developing an application with Five. Most importantly, if you have a question about how to build something with Five, do not shy away from asking for support. That’s what we’re here for: we want you to be successful with your submission, so do ask if you have a question on how to build something with Five.

4. Follow the Submission Guidelines to Win a Hackathon

Last, this one seems obvious but do follow the submission guidelines to win a hackathon!

When you’re taking part in a hackathon, it is very important to follow the rules of the organizer when you’re submitting your project. After all, the response to the question of how to win a hackathon is really simple: create a quality submission!

For our hackathon, you have three options:

  1. upload a demo video on YouTube,
  2. write a blog post on Medium, or
  3. email your submission to us.

Do remember that a good explanation of your submission is just as important as what you have developed. Even if you have created an amazing application, messing up the submission process can reduce your chances of winning the hackathon. And judges go through dozens or hundreds of submissions in order to a pick winner. A high-quality submission is an easy way to stand out from the crowd!

Do make sure that your submission is professional. Keep it clear, concise, and comprehensive. This includes providing a detailed explanation of the problem you’re solving, the technologies used, the approach taken, and the project’s features and functionality. By following the submission guidelines and providing a thorough explanation, you can increase your chances of ranking highly in the hackathon!

 

Conclusion: How to Win a Hackathon

Virtual hackathons are an excellent opportunity to showcase your software development skills, collaborate with other developers, and create innovative solutions to real-world problems. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can maximize your chances of acing your virtual hackathon submission and making it into the top submissions!

Remember to speak about both the final application as well as how it was built, include a video or image that explains the application, and maximize the use of the prescribed technology. Good luck!


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