How to conduct a hackathon ?

Briefly about the essence of the hackathon:

“Hackers” come to the hackathon, as the hackathon participants are called, who want to: -get new knowledge at lectures and from other participants during conversations, -apply the knowledge gained during hacking, -find friends by interests, -cheer up from the routine by getting excited, -get material rewards (prizes, money) -find a job -compete in the speed of hacking.


Your task is to provide hackers with a well-planned schedule. To help newbies gain confidence and introduce them to the hackathon, otherwise new hackers will never come to hackathons again.


Thus, I will cite the main factors that the organizers should not do at the hackathon:

-conduct a hackathon with alcohol --- Alcohol is a complicated thing, and many do not know the measures, which is why there is a high probability that productivity will decline.

-forcing participants to attend events --- hackers don't like that their valuable time is being taken away. To attract a larger audience, broadcast online and put the event at a favorable time. Don't start the event right away, but only after the participants are settled in their seats, share tasks in teams and are ready to work. With their confident schedule, participants will be able to devote time to your lectures.

-prohibit listening to lectures at full strength (for example, when hackers listen to lectures and simultaneously sit with laptops and code). --- this will allow hackers to listen to lectures and be distracted by trigger words during the lecture. They work this way because it is easier for some to immerse themselves in work, and someone already knows a lot from the lecture and wants to hear a different point of view, or to replenish their knowledge from the lecture.   -conducting active games (this is not a pioneer camp and not a corporate party) --- hackers are very annoyed when they are distracted from work that needs to be done in a short time. The main goal of hackers is to bypass other teams, not to get to know each other and strengthen trust in each other. Such actions will only take up the time of the teams to implement projects.




Hackathon Themes

What is the hackathon for? If you are a commercial organization, then the article at the link [link] describes why you may need a hackathon, most likely you have already decided on the theme of the event. Usually, the topics and nominations at the hackathon depend on the sponsors and partners of the event. Hackathon directions can be a solution to your problems. Don't expect the solution to be implemented by the end of the hackathon, it happens rarely! For each topic, it is desirable that there is an expert who will tell you more about the topic and all the nuances, in addition, he will advise the teams in their problems.

Not all topics need to be complex


since the level of participants is different and super experts do not always attend hackathons.

Attract specialists for topics


As mentioned above, you need to look for experts, if there are none


It would be good if experts would make recommendations in advance and a list of sources for beginners to study with each topic of the hackathon.

What should I do if there is no expert on the topic?

For example, if the topic is new, complex or rare, it means that the probability of solving the problem decreases, because there may also be no hackers who understand this topic. This increases the complexity of the topic or the hackathon itself, but it is not always necessary to have experts for the topic as an organizer.


Place and date


Think about whether if there are a lot of people in the room, it will become stuffy here. If possible, consider whether it is possible to ventilate the room, whether there is a direct-flow system (ventilation), whether the windows open, if the windows open, whether it will be cold, whether it will be noisy when the windows are open. If the room is poorly ventilated, then plan events in this room so that there is enough time between events to ventilate the room.

During the event, you need to find a place for each person and provide it:

- 1 seat at the table (where you can put a laptop), count so that there is enough space on the table not only for a laptop, but also for a computer mouse.

- 1 socket (for laptop),

- internet access via wi-fi is the biggest problem of any hackathon, no matter how fast the Internet is, it is always not enough. For example, participants can download large “data sets” for neural networks, to prevent this, ask participants to download their datasets in advance.

Find out where the toilet is and the nearest round-the-clock places to eat and possibly the nearest hotels (hostels and other overnight places).

If the audience is large, then check the volume of the microphone and speakers, so that the back rows can hear the presenter at the end of the audience through the noise and rustling of the participants.

Think in advance where the final of the hackathon will be held in order to :

- there were enough seats for everyone;

- the screen did not glare from the sun;

- everyone could see the presentations from all the seats;

- prepare the computer on which the presentations will be played;

- if possible, there was a remote control for the presentation or an assistant at the computer.


If your hackathon will continue at night, be sure to clarify this point with the landlord so that an unhindered passage at night is organized and there is an agreement with the security, do not be lazy and talk to the head of security about all the nuances.


The most difficult thing is to find partners and sponsors.


We have no clear instructions on how to look for sponsors and partners. Usually it depends on the organizer's acquaintances, the more acquaintances, the easier it is to interview, so there is a chance that someone will respond and sponsor the event.


BUT the genhack system provides an opportunity to declare themselves to persons interested in sponsoring hackathons. Where you can choose a suitable sponsor and arrange a partnership. If there are no suitable sponsors for you, then before searching for partners outside the platform, you should have a well-formed plan so that there is a clear understanding of the event as a whole.


What are sponsors for?


Sponsors can give not only valuable prizes to the winners, but also help with other expenses. The biggest expense item, if there is one, is food and room rental. The expenses also include equipment and furniture rental.


About the plans

Think about the capacity of your event, put a limit on registration. Only 50% of those who have registered can come to the event, so expect that not everyone will be able to come.

Create a chat in the messenger (Slack, Telegram ...), remind 3 days and 1 day in the chat about the imminent start of the event.

Before the start of the event, check everything that everything is done and everything is enough.




Do not close the registration, let the employee (assistant) not leave the registration, the employee must be at the registration 1 hour - 1.5 hours before the start of the event. Participants can be from other cities and arrive taking into account traffic jams and emergencies a little earlier. For those who are late, leave instructions for actions or contacts to whom to contact in case of delay. Of course, it is better to use our platform in this regard, where registration takes place online and everyone (without assistants from your side) he could have known how to get through and notified you that the team had started work or knew where to go to get badges.

Introductory speech

It should be short and preferably not mandatory, do not force everyone to go to it, unless you have obligations to sponsors and partners to advertise them and their products. Imagine administrators to whom hackers can contact, imagine experts, tell us where you can smoke, where the toilet is, the nearest places to eat. If you are planning to hold an event not on our platform, then tell us the short nearest schedule of the event, where they can contact the administrators remotely (for example, which telegram chat) and give the teams the word that need participants, no more than 1 minute so that they have time to say how many of them, where they are from and who they are, what they are doing and who they are looking for. In another case, a convenient event plan has been implemented on our platform, where hackers can track events, declare themselves as teams that need participants or as people who are looking for teams to join.





Approach each team. Pay special attention to newcomers, help them with the choice of topics, involve specialists in working with newcomers so that they help with the choice of a course of activity at the hackathon, and give a hint in the form of Internet resources for studying the topic.


If you have a free assistant, ask him to photograph the event and shoot a video. Then create a group on a social network and post photos under your hashtag.


At night:


It is not necessary to stay up all night and guard the event. Arrange with the landlord and security in advance. Warn the hackathon participants about the rules of staying in the building at night.


The end

The hackathon ends in such a way that each team presents its final project. Do not let the teams go beyond the time frame of the performance. Warn in advance who is next and make sure that the next participant is warned and ready, if the next participant cannot speak, then warn the next participant. Ask the jury to take notes in detail and with scores according to different criteria, each of which is evaluated on a scale. So that when the jury went to confer, the decision-making time would not take more than 1 hour.



Do not forget to clean up the room, post photos, thank the participants in the chat for participating. Do not delete the chat and all the information, someone may like the projects from the hackathon and they will be contacted to find out more or find new friends among the participants, or in this chat you can



Planning an event can be a difficult task. But with our platform, filling in all the fields and following the prompts is a good tool in your hands. The developers are trying to achieve this so that the platform becomes a convenient and full-sized tool at the hackathon.