Hackathons and Hack days

For many of us tech geeks, at some point, there’s a project idea that could be the next big thing, or at the very least, something that we’re really keen on doing. This particular idea, though, is invariably put on the backburner as our school, college, workplace and other responsibilities take importance. We know, but that given some dedicated time or an initial push, the project could bloom into, say, your next startup. This is the inspiration behind the hackathon phenomena.

Hackathons are basically where socialization and development fuse seamlessly. Ranging from a day to a week these are where you could meet like minded developers and geeks who could help you actuate your ideas. A hackathon is usually bound by a common theme- It could be as specific as a programming language, or an API (Application Programming Interface) or it could be as broad as say, Music. These events begin with a short introduction to the theme or platform of concern, the goals and the rules of the hackathon. This is followed by the actually coding period, often throughout the night, at the end of which one should have usable software or as close as one can get to it. Sleeping and rest is on-site with snacks and meals provided.

In India, the hackathon scene is in a nascent phase. There is the Yahoo Open Hack which recently concluded its 5th version. Google too organized a hackathon based on its dart programming language. Events like these though, organized by these dotcom companies, may not be enough to cater to everyone. More hackathons need to be organized by the community, us. So if you’re in a tech group or a chapter, organize a hackathon at local level. A lot of brilliant ideas are waiting to be converted to substance, and one night of dedicated hard work may be all that is needed. Happy hacking!

By Karthik Kannan