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Right now (June 1-15 2023) - Microsoft is hosting a hackathon, but what is a hackathon? - and should you join it?
What is a hackathon?
A hackathon is essentially a nerd race! - often limited by a set timeframe (14 days in the case of the current Teams HackTogether), usually there’s a set of boundary you have to stay within - this can be anything from “solve our business problem”, to as in this case build something that runs in teams!
I’ve attended hackathons hosted by smaller organizations while I was still studying, these where used as a way for the organization to find interns, but disguised as a fun event, with free pizza and beer, and some nerdy prices!
Microsofts hackathons are slightly different, first off, they’re usually longer then the 1-2 days that a classic hackathon takes, and they’re not used to find employees, but rather to get more developers to see the awesomeness of developing for Microsofts platforms.
Why should you join a hackathon?
So joining a Microsoft hackathon won’t get you a new job, at least not right away, but your open-source contributions are great to use in a portfolio, so not only do you get to learn something new, but you also get to show it off!
Secondly at least with Microsofts hackathons, you get to talk directly to industry experts, so if you have any issues, you can get help from the people who actually built the platform you’re building upon!
They’re also not just a good way to learn a new thing, and show it off, it’s also a great way into the communities surrounding whatever technology the hackathon you’re joining is focused on.
Lastly, it’s just a great way to have fun, and meet new people, and who knows, maybe you’ll even win a prize! or at least get an awesome badge!
What are the downsides?
Downsides you say? - well other then learning new stuff, and having fun, there’s not really any downsides, so unless you hate those two things, there’s no reason not to join one!
But I’m not good enough!
Nonsense! - A hackathon is not about being the best, it’s about having fun, and learning something new, so even if you don’t win, you might have learned a new skill that you can use later in life, which is way more powerful then any xbox you could’ve won!
Remember, every contribution matters!
So what are you waiting for?
Hackathons are a great way to let your inner nerd out, and learn something new, while having fun, and competing for a chance to win cool prizes!