Tips to Build a Project in a Hackathon
7 min read
Have you ever arrived at a hackathon with an original concept but no idea how to get started? Or maybe you're having trouble with an issue since you've never used this framework before. Or perhaps you tried to implement something yourself when a library would have been a better option?
Hackathons are excellent environments for developing ideas and learning about new technologies, but getting stuck on a new concept may occasionally be stressful.
Today we will be offering some advice that will assist in accelerating the development process because many individuals leave with unfinished projects as a result.
To help you make the most of your time, below we outlined a few strategies for finding an idea and strategies for fleshing out the idea.
In this article, we will share an overall hackathon game plan for building a project.
First things first—What is a hackathon?
In contrast to regular office hours, the time spent at a hackathon is extraordinary. Why? Because everyone can concentrate on delivering something within a 24-hour deadline and a small number of features! You just have the ability to complete tasks. How do you approach a hackathon project, though? Where do you begin? How do you establish what is possible and what is not? By walking you through our hackathon organizing platform, we will try to untangle all these queries.
This will provide you with a framework and procedure to help you go through your own.
There are ample ideas available online, you just need to collect them according to your interests and skills.
2.👩💻 Choose a project:
You'll need to select one after gathering dozens of project ideas. Look through your list and mark the items you can finish alone or with a colleague. Sorting your thoughts based on relevance is an additional method of deciding. Which do you prioritize more? Do you really want to work on that one? Finally, you should evaluate the project's scope. You must select a project that you can complete effectively in under 24 hours.
3.📑 Begin your project with a boilerplate:
The hardest, if not the trickiest, part of the development process might be deciding how to construct your idea/Project. When creating a full-stack web project, setting up your code base with certain frameworks might be time-consuming. Boilerplates are useful in this situation.
As per Wikepedia Boilerplate are:
<html lang=”en”> <head> <meta charset=”UTF-8"/> <title></title> </head> <body> </body> </html>
When creating a website, here is the most frequently used code with which people start their coding. Many major frameworks offer their own boilerplates, and even Major League Hacking offers ones for Flask and Node.js. You can discover a ton of boilerplates that are ready to use on GitHub. Don't forget to make use of the project templates that are available in your own IDE!
4.🔧 Craft requests with API clients:
What do accessing Pokémon battle statistics, computer vision for object recognition, and mass emailing have in common? They can all be made possible using APIs! If the hackathon is awarding API awards, as they frequently do, there is a good chance that your project will utilize one. (API clients) can make your life simpler if you're having problems writing requests, adhering to documentation, or correctly evaluating API results.
5.🎨 Use open-source and free design assets:
Even while creating your own icons and graphics may give your project a personalized and distinctive touch, it's definitely better to keep things straightforward, use materials from other sources, and save fresh designs for high-impact items like logos.
Visit websites like Google Material, the Noun Project, and flaticon if you're seeking logos! Wherever you chose to seek, be careful to read the license for the relevant symbols and confirm that you are authorized to use them. Other component libraries and frameworks include Blueprint.js, UIKit, Milligram, Semantic UI, Bootstrap, and Flutter. They make it simple to quickly develop adaptable websites and applications and apply themes to them. Google Material also features a UI component library. In terms of typography, Google Typefaces is a fantastic resource for free fonts; similar to icon websites, there are other free font websites, so once more, verify license details.
6.🤝 Collaborate on user-friendly platforms:
Using technologies that encourage cooperation makes it simpler to stay organized and maintain the pace of a project! Users may work on project files concurrently using Glitch (mainly for developing websites and online apps) and Google Colaboratory (Python code notebooks that are useful for data/ML reasons). This makes coding with others more enjoyable. Use more visual programs like GitHub Desktop or GitAhead, which offer attractive diffs to compare and make it easier to execute git commands, to avoid wasting time on merge conflicts or searching through history if you have a classic version-controlled project (i.e., anything using Git).
7.👩💻 Leverage workshops and mentors:
Participating in panels and workshops can help your project develop. You could leave one feeling motivated to use a novel technology in your project or with a greater comprehension of the one you're currently familiar with. At a hackathon, nobody is ever alone. Asking those around you may sometimes be quicker than looking online for information, and it also gives you the chance to meet new people and gain knowledge from them.
Tips and Tricks
-> Check out the rewards that are offered before you start; this will help you come up with ideas and give you a solid concept of what to construct.
-> Decide if you want to do a hardware or software project. If you want to do a hardware project, borrow the hardware needed asap! You can talk to a technical mentor for advice on what you need in terms of hardware!
-> Discuss your project with the company representatives! The judges and selectors of the winner will be the representatives of the company providing the reward. Talking to them will help you understand what they're searching for. Company representatives are frequently just waiting around for visitors to approach them, so when you do, they will be THRILLED!
-> Consult with technical advisors! Visit a technical tutor if you're stuck on something! Since you don't have much time to construct your project, you don't want to waste too much time getting stuck on something. They are here to help.
The Hackathon Project
There are two things you should keep in mind when working on any project: first, that it is a hackathon, and second, that it is only a hackathon.
You won't boil the ocean, but a wacky enough business concept may make a million dollars. But within hacking hours, develop a fantastic project to take the hackathon. Stick to the theme if there is one for the hackathon. Don't go out of your way or makeup nonsense to defend your hack; it should be clear how your endeavor relates to the issue. If there isn't a theme, take a look at the winners or sponsors lists and come up with a creative hack that will stand out from the other 100 projects. Finding an issue linked to the topic and finding a solution is the greatest technique to come up with a project idea.
Keep asking, “what is the use-case” when developing a feature.
Keep in mind what the judges will be looking for while you work on the project. Edge cases and other such issues are not worth your time. The hack aims to fix the most important features to grind on. Making a list of "must-haves" and "nice-to-haves" quickly can help you get started.
Don't spend too much effort on the UI if the functionality of your product is the main emphasis. Instead of starting from scratch when creating a bot, consider utilizing Messenger. A great project can be even a clusterfuck of APIs that each tackle a specific issue and have real-world applications. It was merely an Alexa skill to compute GPA, but I once saw a fantastic idea where the user drives a car and answers questions to get points. Even while having a stunning UI/UX feels fantastic and gets plenty of praises, judges may not give it much credit.
Pro tip: Do not implement features for which you have in-built libraries. Use as many frameworks, libraries, code snippets, and APIs as you can.
Put On Your Creative Cap!
Conclusion(Let’s Sum up)
Hackathons is a good way to generate some abstract insights that can lead to suggestions for modifying and introducing new features. Additionally, a hackathon is more than just a single occasion to meet people; it's a chance to get to know them personally while working closely together to create something that, in the past, would have seemed unachievable or unattainable.
Before going to the first hackathon, there are a lot of things we want to know. We tackled it with contagious enthusiasm and food high in sugar to keep us going for the next 24 hours. Our planning, however, ended there. Regarding the presentation, the division of the labor, etc., we were all very unsure about how to proceed. No amount of advice will fully prepare you for what awaits you at your next hackathon since various hackathons provide you with different difficulties.
Good luck with your upcoming Hackathon! And remember that failing is 100% better than not trying.