A hackathon is best described as an “invention marathon”. Anyone who has an interest in technology attends a hackathon to learn, build & share their creations over the course of a weekend in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. You don’t have to be a programmer and you certainly don’t have to be majoring in CS.

        Hackathons tend to have a specific focus, which can include the programming language used, the operating system, an application, an API, or a subject. Hackathons focus on a particular platform such as mobile apps, a desktop operating system, web development or video game development.

        Hackathons typically last between a day and a week. Most are 24-36 hours long. Most hackathons provide food, prizes, and a couch to sleep on! You should bring a pillow, sleeping bag, anything to keep you comfortable at night.

        Don’t stress out too much, this is suppose to be fun. You will be able to meet new people who share similar interests as you, and most of all build your skills! If you are looking to practice, build, or tune-up your programming skills then you should definitely check out the following list of online programming contest sites. The more you participate in projects the better you will get, as the saying goes “practice makes perfect”! So, even if you find yourself scoring low initially or having a hard time finding a solution, don’t give up, instead ask someone like a faculty member or student for help! Actually, if you are struggling that means you are in the process of learning and that means you are on the right track to succeeding.yes

         Some hackathons have a registration fee of approximately $20. However, many hackathons are FREE , especially ones offered on the Major League Hacking (MLH) site!

        Be ready to send an error free, grammatically correct resume to the organization holding the hackathon. Make sure your resume includes information about any special skills and accomplishments you have achieved. These organizations tend to pass on your resume to employers that are sponsoring the event, so this could be an opportunity for you to land a job!

        Visit Resume/Cover Letter and Tips to learn how to create your own resume.

Alright, so there are a few sources you may use to find hackathons both locally or out of state:

  1. Major League Hacking   (list of hackathons offered by nationwide universities)
  2. Hackathon IO  (find local and out-state hackathons)
  3. Hackalist  (find hackathons around the world)
  4. CodeDay (hackathon in Michigan and is great for noobs, no cash prizes)
  5. Automation Alley (24 hour hackathon in Michigan, $5000 grand prize)

If you choose to go out of state, some hackathons offer some kind of travel reimbursement. This could help you reduce your travel costs, so be on the look out.