How to Effectively Mentor at Hackathons

Hackathons are events where software developers, UI/UX designers, and others work together to create a functioning solution within a set amount of time. It is important to note that the goal of a hackathon is not a finished solution but rather a working one. 

Considered indispensable to the event, mentors serve as advisers and coaches for participants. They can help teams to overcome challenges and achieve their goals. Often they share their expertise and offer clarity when teams feel stuck and running out of ideas.  

Here are a few tips on how to be a mentor efficiently:

1: Research the theme of the hackathon

Mentors are encouraged to be prepared before the hackathon. By being familiar with the particular business sector of the hackathon theme, mentors can help teams identify and solve potential problems. They also provide guidance on where to look for information and resources. This can be especially helpful for teams who are new to the hacking process.

2: Provide feedback on the projects

Providing feedback on the projects is one of the most important roles of a mentor in a hackathon. By offering constructive criticism and suggestions, mentors can help teams to improve their projects and make them more successful.

Though they are not always expected to provide answers, asking the right questions to the team is a great guide for them to think outside the box and challenge them to seek answers themselves. 

As mentors, it is not advisable to make the participants change direction if there’s not enough time. What the team can do is maximise the time that they have to improve their current project.

3: Encourage teamwork and collaboration

Hackathon mentors ensure teams are working together harmoniously–making sure that each team has a unique member with varying backgrounds is just one of the few tasks the mentors daunting tasks.  They encourage teamwork and collaboration among participants. By providing guidance and support, mentors help create an environment where participants can thrive and maximise each participant’s potential.

Be patient with your mentees. It can take a while for new developers and designers to get used to coding and designing in an environment with other people they barely know.

4: Connect with other mentors and participants

One of the perks of being in a hackathon is growing your network. Connecting with other mentors, judges and participants is a great way to network and build relationships within the community. It can help you find a new talent or learn something new and embrace an unknown technology. 

Be willing to give and take help. It’s important to be able to both give and receive help during a hackathon. This way, you can help your mentee immensely without feeling overwhelmed or like you’re taking up too much of their time.

5: Stay positive and focused

Helping the participants to stay positive and motivated throughout the event is a big inspiration to everyone. It might be too much to ask to stay positive throughout the event, but the rewards at the end are priceless.

Mentors need to ensure they know where the teams need to get – what’s the goal they want to achieve during the hackathon? Is it a working prototype of the product or just a wireframe to present the idea?

It is essential for mentors to keep their teams focused on the end game and to help them stay on track if they start to veer off course. This will ensure that the team is prepared to present their ideas professionally.

6: Have fun during the hackathon!

While the focus of a hackathon may be on coding and developing new ideas, it’s important to remember to have fun as well. After all, these events are meant to be a celebration of creativity and collaboration.

A great way to enjoy the experience is to offer support to participants who can help guide them through the process. With your help, you’ll be able to take the team’s project to the next level and be an inspiration to them.


Inspiration is one of the most important things you can give to others. As a hackathon mentor, it’s your goal to provide support and motivation. You can do this by sharing your tech expertise and experiences, as well as offering advice and guidance. 

Mentoring can be an invaluable tool for anyone looking to improve their performance or career prospects. By following the six tips in this article, you will be well on your way to becoming a successful mentor!