It’s hard to have fun at work. After all, you need to focus on professional tasks and complete each one successfully, so how can you enjoy the process? Well, everything is possible if you add a little bit of gamification to your job.
While people often perceive IT as boring or even geek, they don’t realize that the digital universe offers programmers a lot of opportunities to play and express creativity, particularly at hackathons. You might be wondering now – what is hackathon?
To put it simply, a hackathon is a computer programming competition in which participants have a very limited period of time to design a brand new product. This type of event is so popular that companies in all fields of work organized 3,450 hackathons in 2016, or almost 10 events each day of the year!
But what is it that makes this competition so popular?
Daryl Carter, an event manager at UKCareersBooster, explains it for us: “First of all, hackathons are highly competitive, which gives them a special dose of thrill and excitement.
Besides that, such events help IT, specialists, to prove their professional capabilities, while the end result is not some symbolic feature but rather a real software or app.”
On the other hand, hackathons also help organizers in many different ways. This post will show you five reasons why hosting a hackathon can benefit your company. Let’s take a look!
1. Generate Ideas
Hosting a hackathon, you get to meet a bunch of new people. While it’s a great opportunity to expand the network of professional connections, it also helps you to learn about the latest industry developments and generate fresh ideas.
Let’s be honest about one thing - working with the same colleagues over a longer timeframe can unify your way of thinking, which is never a good thing for inspiration and creativity.
On the other side, hackathons encourage you to engage in professional discussions, thus helping you to break the magic circle and embrace new ways of thinking.
When everything ends, you will find yourself enriched by a number of new acquaintances and probably a few fresh ideas for your business.
2. Recruiting Opportunities
If you are looking for a young and talented IT specialist, there’s no better place to find him than this.
Hackathons usually gather dozens of promising programmers who want to present their capabilities and find a new career opportunity. At the same time, it also gives you the chance to scan and analyze job prospects in the real-life environment.
It’s a win-win situation for both parties, so it’s not surprising to see hackathons have evolved into essential networking venues where talent and potential employers can cross paths.
Now you don’t have to take risks hiring candidates you’ve never seen before. Organizing hackathons, you can easily detect the perfect fit for your team and seal the deal on site.
3. Build a New Product
Networking and recruiting are the two huge benefits of hackathon organization, but it’s not where the story ends. On the contrary, building a new product gives you another highly practical reason to host this kind of event.
Namely, the goal of your hackathon can be finding an alternative way to solve a common problem or even to improve the existing product. This means you’ll get several teams of IT experts working on your apps.
While there are prizes included in the competition, it’s more or less the cheapest way to convince multiple developers to focus on your project entirely.
4. Branding Opportunities
Marketing is another area that you can capitalize on by organizing a hackathon. This is a nice opportunity to promote the brand and raise awareness among people who really mean something to you – key opinion leaders and industry professionals.
Besides that, you can bet that every participant is going to spread the word about your event, so you’ll earn dozens of brand advocates all of a sudden. You can add a plethora of valuable details to make the event more impressive, such as:
- Invite industry thought leaders to give presentations
- Provide participants with enough food, snacks, and beverages
- Make sure participants have a quiet place to rest for a while
- Give everyone a few souvenirs like t-shirts, caps, or similar
- Organize entertaining activities such as shooting video messages or social games
5. Build a Community
Community building is the last, but certainly not the least important reason to host a hackathon. While the event itself gives you a lot of one-time benefits, you also need to maximize its long-term potential by keeping in touch with all participants.
Make sure to meet everyone in person, and remember as many personal details as possible. Keep their contact information and stay in touch upon project completion.
Send them a follow-up with the most interesting moments, prize winners, funny photos, and all other details that made your hackathon so special.
Of course, you should engage with everyone on social platforms by posting questions, answering comments, and sharing exciting event materials. And of course – make sure to let them know about the next hackathon you are hosting.
Hackathons are IT events that gather the most talented developers and leading industry experts. With a slight dose of competitiveness, hackathons become very exciting and help programmers to present their skills to the wider audiences.
But these events also bring substantial advantages to the organizers. In this post, we showed you five reasons why hosting a hackathon can benefit your company. Think about it carefully, and don’t be afraid of giving it a try!
Eugene is an Australian-based blogger for UK Careers Booster, who is into stand-up comedy. His favorite comedians are Louis CK and George Carlin. A good morning laugh is what keeps Eugene upbeat and motivated through the harsh day.