6 Top Tips for Hackathon Success

Want to win this year?

Developers, if you want to create prototypes that are both successful and feasible, then you need to focus on data and AI. In this blog post, we’ll share with you 6 of our top tips, to increase your chances of success at this years #HackTheHub hackathon.

Use Github for Version Control

Save yourself a lot of pain and frustration by setting up a repository on Github at the very start, and remembering to commit early and often. It’s much easier to roll back a minor change instead of a fix with a bunch of features in it. 

Even better name your branches after your features or have each team member work on a separate branch. Rather than merging into main and potentially breaking the app for everyone else on the team, and only once after you’ve merged everything correctly merge it back into main. 

Prepare your Trello or PowerPoint in advance

Use one of Trello’s kanban templates and this will give you a good lead on other teams. The same applies to PowerPoint so you can spend more time on the prototype and the actual script of the pitch. When the time comes, it will save you a load of time. Also, if you planned ahead, each person can do a bit of research on the tasks they have to complete on the day.

Find out in advance what technologies you will use

Whether it’s a dataset, a PaaS deployment service, or technology stacks, choose it before the day of the hackathon. It will save you many hours of trial and error but remember it is also a great opportunity to learn something new. Even if it’s pulling down data from API beforehand, these are the edges that will give you a head start over the competition. 

Configure your local environment

Sometimes it can’t be avoided, but there’s nothing worse when you hit a snag with a package manager or a virtual environment. If you have it already configured and ready to go, it will give you more time to brainstorm in the initiation stages of the hackathon.

Set small and achievable Goals

Instead of getting overwhelmed and biting off too much, just focus on something bitesize to build momentum and get quick wins. It is easier to target a small and functional product and add additional features later, than attempting to get 10 features built into the app from the get-go. Also, sometimes we can get caught on small bugs, that we spend hours fixing, but don’t provide a lot of end value so be careful and be realistic! 

Regular Check-ins

It is essential to be aware of the progress of the members of your team. You can rely on meal times to make these meetings, and a little more if needed. This makes it possible to reevaluate the tasks and objectives of your application when problems come up. You will be able to decide the remaining tasks according to the time you have left since it is always necessary to provide a functional application. Also, at each meeting, set a list of tasks that should be completed before your next meeting. This is the secret to achieve and deliver a finished product.

If you’re looking for hackathon success, then these six tips will help you get there.