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December 9, 2022

The power of participating in hackathons

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“Hackathon” may be a word you frequently encounter in the web3 community. But what exactly is a hackathon, why are they important to web3, and how can you get involved?

“Hackathon” may be a word you frequently encounter in the web3 community. But what exactly is a hackathon, why are they important to web3, and how can you get involved?

A web3 hackathon is an IRL or virtual event where builders, developers, and thinkers work together as a team (sometimes in competitions) to create minimum viable digital products (new products with enough features to be used by early adopted customers). Participants are rewarded with various incentives from sponsors, such as cash prizes, grants, NFTs, and more. Hackathons typically consist of bounty tasks, contests, and competitions (which are judged by a panel).

Hackathons are essential for several reasons. For one, they create a decentralized environment for participants to build a product more significant than themselves in the web3 atmosphere. Multi-faceted software engineer Genesis said, “Hackathons also provide great networking and learning opportunities for developers at every level.” DAOs, web3 hackathon conferences, web3 dApps, blockchain protocols, and collectives typically have open applications for participants interested in hackathons.

Gitcoin also has a hub for various hackathons in the web3 ecosystem. The unique aspect of hackathons supported by Gitcoin consists of builders and developers supporting public-good projects. Let’s explore more about people’s experiences at hackathons and why they are essential.

Builders and Developers Reflect on Hackathons

Contrary to popular belief, hackathons are not exclusive to developers. Many individuals in the web3 ecosystem have taken part in hackathons without the technical experience needed for a project. According to web3 builder and designer, Cannablitch, “Hackathons are also for designers, technological creatives, and product managers. The great part is that you don’t necessarily need to have experience. When I joined my first hackathon, I had 0 experience in Product Management or Design, but my team took me in with open arms. It truly comes down to your end goal through participating in hackathons.”

Cannablitch participated in Developer DAO’s #web3con and considered it a life-changing experience for them. They said, “Hackathons are necessary because they provide opportunities for developers and crypto-curious builders to build new products in the web3 space while earning compensation through placing specific category prizes. It also further empowers blockchain companies because, through hackathons, new products are built utilizing their technology.”

Genesis has participated in several hackathons before and during web3, such as Activate x Wormhole and Web3athon. “I always enjoyed hackathons but found them to be a bit stressful with the time constraints. In web3, however, there are so many opportunities and hackathons that focus on bigger projects that take longer to build, and I’ve enjoyed those as well,” they said.

When we asked our community about the benefits of participating in a hackathon, they said that hackathons helped them gain experience working on technical teams, learning about product development, networking with other builders, exposure to companies that may hire you, and the additional revenue from hackathon prizes.

Stay Focused on the Goal

The key to enjoying and succeeding at hackathons is to be a team player and stay focused on the end goal. Challenges like team management, time management, and team building may occur, but participants must stay focused on the project and overcome those obstacles.

Participants at hackathons have landed job opportunities, created timeless products, built professional rapports, traveled the world, and so much more. According to TAIKAI, 40% of people who participated in a hackathon were hired within six months after the event. Companies like Twitter, Adobe, Meta, and many others offer annual hackathons. A survey respondent stated, “[Hackathons] gave me good networking [opportunities] and clarity that anything is possible to build in [the] short term.” We all have the potential to join a meaningful hackathon project. Will you be on board?

Get Involved

Check out the hackathons happening now on Gitcoin!

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