What is a Hackathon? A complete guide about Hackathon.

What is a Hackathon? A complete guide about Hackathon.

Hackathons aren’t just for the start-up tech crowd.

From the world's most powerful brands to small businesses, hackathons are one of the most popular ways for organizations to push creativity and ideas further.

The aforementioned factors have led to hackathons being held by many businesses. Professionals gain knowledge and experience in a variety of areas, like planning, communication, empathy, designing, leadership, creativity, and many more, when they collaborate on fun projects together.

Before jumping to the crux, let’s quickly and in simple terms understand what a hackathon is.

What is a hackathon?

Hackathons are big rituals in tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Netflix.

A hackathon is an event where people from different backgrounds, such as programmers, analysts, designers, business strategists, etc. come together to solve various predefined challenges within a specified time frame to create a working solution or prototype of a product/service/business model.

Stating an exciting fact here, Hackathon is a tool for sustained innovation i.e. Novelty + Commercialization = Innovation

Following suit with the likes of Facebook and Microsoft, an increasing number of digital businesses are using hackathons to boost their brands or quickly acquire new talent. Hackathons are organized by more than 80% of Fortune 100 firms to drive innovation.

Read More>>

What are the different types of Hackathons?

Many Organizations may decide to hold the hackathon internally (internal hackathon) or keep it open to the public depending on their goals (external hackathon). Apart from them, a hackathon can be conducted via 2 types either offline or online.


The Hackathon can be of the following types:

1. Internal Hackathon

This type of hackathon is only conducted for employees. It is an opportunity to engage employees in a time-bound competitive event that drives innovation, promotes skill development, imparts corporate culture, and delivers crowdsourced solutions. Tech giants like Google, Whirlpool, and Facebook hold internal hackathons to boost new product innovation by their employees.

Benefits of Internal Hackathons

  • Embrace a Creative and Innovative Environment
  • Promote Internal Networking 👋
  • Inclusion & Diversity 🙍‍♀️🙍‍🙍🏽‍♀️
  • Establish a process of Unique ideation
  • Collaborative innovation
  • Foster innovation within your organization

What are the stages of an internal hackathon?

Just like every hackathon, the first step will be the submission of an idea/objective. The event might be a 24- to a 48-hour hackathon or a two-phase hackathon where staff members from all organizational levels and branches throughout the world submit their ideas using an idea management website. This stage could persist for 2 to 4 weeks.

On Days 15 or 30 of the campaign, the second phase can involve an offline event when selected ideas are turned into prototypes. The winners are declared and celebrated after the presentation and judgment.

Success Metrics of Internal Hackathons are:

  • Rate of Participation – Participation and interest from existing employees.
  • The volume of ideas exchanged and learnings generated.
  • Conversion Rate – The hackathon resulted in practical prototypes and business plans.
  • Impact on the Team –A feeling of shared objectives and vision.

2. External Hackathon

External Audience – External Hackathon

External hackathons offer a fantastic environment for enlisting the help of outside talent, engaging with a community, and launching open innovation. External hackathon challenges are frequently used to attract new employees, garner media attention, and engage IT communities. External hackathons might need more organization, but they also open up a larger network of communication and interaction with the outside world of innovation-minded people. It helps companies engage with an external audience like a developer community, data scientist community, or even the general public.

Benefits of External Hackathons

  • Investigating novel technologies
  • Promoting commercial innovation
  • Procurement of incubator programs
  • Potential startup creation
  • Brand building for businesses or products
  • Developing remedies for societal issues
  • Data analysis and prediction
  • Rewarding original thought

3. Community Hackathon

Community hackathons are open to anybody with the same vision and a goal of carrying out solutions that can help mitigate the solution of a particular problem statement. It can be held between different college communities, organizational communities and etc. You can organize your own Community Hackathon! Want to know how?

Read More>>

Benefits of Community Hackathons

  • Networking with people having the same interest as you have
  • got to know more about community work culture
  • Helps in learning many interpersonal skills
  • Helps in Job seeking

4. Corporate Hackathon

Corporate hackathons are a fantastic method to motivate teams and foster innovation, teamwork, and creativity. There are over 1000+ hackathons conducted every year around the world and 48.5% of them are conducted by private companies. Yet, a hackathon is still an underutilized tool when it comes to corporate innovation.

Read More>>

Benefits of Corporate Hackathons

  • Experience with working with other talented people
  • Potential Breakthrough.
  • Healthy work environment

5. Online Hackathon

Online hackathons are used by companies to engage staff concurrently across time zones and geographic boundaries in order to solve problems or spur innovation, as well as to engage a larger external audience. They are also employed for coding tasks with a limited scope, which gauge participants' knowledge and proficiency.

The majority of the tasks required in setting up an offline hackathon and an online hackathon are identical, although certain jobs, including registration, regulations, and advertising, will also have a few distinct subtasks. Participants may be simpler to hold hands with online than at in-person events.

Advantages of Online Hackathon

  • Less overhead costs (venue, transportation, staff)
  • Larger and more diverse audience (no geographical constraints)
  • Better quality deliverables, which are more complete, when the challenges run for a longer duration
  • Improved chances of success via social media (sharing, reach)
  • Community creation

6. Offline Hackathon

The offline or onsite hackathon invites participants to a real-world location where teams sit down together to brainstorm solutions during the duration of the event. Of all the types of participation, the onsite hackathon challenge obviously requires the greatest preparation and organization. Onsite hackathons need months of organization and flawless execution, from renting a large space to providing meals for every participant, to fostering an environment that fosters ideation and invention.

7. Industry-specific hackathons

Industry-specific hackathons are held to promote innovation in sectors with proven technologies and products. An illustration of an industry-specific hackathon is the well-known Music Hack Day. Organizations may choose to hold several sorts of hackathons depending on their goals and intended audience. Companies may engage the developer community, foster creativity, create new products, and improve existing products through hackathons.

8. Application-based hackathons

These hackathons are based on certain development platforms, such as operating systems for mobile and desktop devices, game development, etc.

How does a hackathon help in innovation?

“If you look at history, innovation does not come just from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect,” says Steven Johnson.

Well-run hackathons lead to concrete ideas for new products and processes that can improve the customer experience and increase growth.

The duty was often delegated to a distinct R&D department or a dedicated innovation unit. Hackathons are being held by businesses of all sizes to promote innovation. Collaborative innovation is simple given how connected the workforce is now. Hackathons have produced tangible ideas that have improved products, consumer experiences, and income.

Why Hackathons Are Important from a career perspective?

Hackathons are a well-known concept that has evolved to be extremely popular with students, professionals, experts, and other computer enthusiasts for a variety of purposes.

It's also the ideal time to combine many company specialties into one large entity so that individuals may pool their resources and create solutions or address major difficulties. Therefore, hackathons are activities that increase productivity, creativity, innovation, and inspiration.

Read More>>

How to Build a Project in a Hackathon?

Hackathons are great places to build projects and learn new technologies, but it can be frustrating at times when you become blocked on something that is new to you.

To get an idea of the frameworks and procedures to build your own project in a hackathon, Read More>>

Some Tips to Win a Hackathon

Tips for winning a hackathon in 2 days. Twelve solid hours of coding. There are 700 lines of code and more than 40K data points. plenty of coffee.

  • The first and most important step would be to be organized and prepared.

  • Making a solid team foundation.

Read More>>

Dos and Don’ts while organizing a hackathon

Screenshot (785).png

Conclusion (That’s a wrap! 🍬)

In conclusion, a hackathon has shown to be the greatest and most engaging approach to finding original answers to original real-world issues while enhancing the worth of everyone engaged.

We Combined all our secret sauces to provide you with a complete hackathon Guide!

Happy hacking!!