What is a Hackathon

What the Hack is a Hackathon?

Code Platoon is hosting a hackathon in a few short weeks. It’ll be a first for the Veteran and military spouse Coding Bootcamp and while we are all very excited for the upcoming event we had to ask ourselves a very important question. What is a hackathon?

Well, imagine for a moment that there is a room filled with some of the sharpest minds imaginable working towards a common goal with a finite amount of time. Sounds like a cause for a good, right?

That’s the bare essential of a hackathon, so don’t let the name of the event throw you off. Hackathon’s take place in the form of a limited-time activity with the specific purpose of solving a problem or creating something for a community in the way of software. It’s a marathon among good-doers, not for the criminal breed of hackers who want to break into your bank or twitter account.

The word ‘Hackathon’ is the blending of the words “hack” and “marathon.” The design of these events is akin to Film 48 competitions, where teams or individuals strive to create the best product within a set time limit and whatever resources are available.

Depending on the host of the event, the challenge can last anywhere from a few hours to 48 hours. The challenge programmers take on also vary. It could be creating an app that helps target and communicate with a particular group of people, designing a web interface for a company, maybe even making a mobile game for smartphones. Whatever the theme or case is, hackathons test participants’ skills on the spot while bringing some good into the world.

While the ultimate goal of a hackathon is to find a solution, nobody said it has to create a complete solution. Granted, it would be great if one could go from an idea to a fully developed application in two days or less without any bugs. Some hackathon creations have gone on to score significant payouts, too, but the main point is to get participants to test their innovations. As well as have a little fun hopefully.

Aside from the sprint challenge of creating a solution from scratch, hackathons can also be a great way to network. Whether you are attending a hackathon as a student, in the early stages of working as a programmer, an employer in need of a few good hires, or a seasoned professional in the field, interacting with fellow coders can lead to new opportunities for all. Some of these events also offer a chance to learn programming skills through workshops led by pros, skill levels ranging from novice to advanced and can be attended by people of all ages.

Code Platoon is hosting its first hackathon event Oct. 16-18, and you can consider this your invitation to join! Not ready for the challenge? No problem as there will also be virtual workshops on Intro to Coding, Cyber Security, React, and Tech Job Prep. Are you a Veteran or a military spouse who is interested in a Coding Bootcamp?  If so, please reach out to our Student Outreach Coordinator, Greg Drobny, at greg@codeplatoon.org today!

Amanda Michelle Gordon is Code Platoon’s Content Marketing Coordinator. She is a U.S. Air Force Veteran and a student of SUNY New Paltz for Journalism and Sociology. In her free time, Amanda enjoys reading, the outdoors, and turning coffee into copy. You can find Amanda on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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