With the internet being made more accessible day by day, there are several platforms created for enthusiasts and creator to experiment and work on something new. This also applies to hackathon enthusiasts and participants. Suppose you live in a region that does not host these events, you will have to worry no longer as the internet has several platforms for you to showcase your skills and create something absolutely cool. Welcome to the world of online hackathons!
What are the benefits of online events than offline ones?
Online or virtual hackathons do have their set of one-ups when pitted against offline ones taking place in cities and educational institutions such as colleges. Here are a few for the table:
- Location: The primary factor for loss of participation in offline hackathons is mostly due to the location of these events. Many if not most of them in several countries, are only held in metropolitan cities or technology hubs. This cuts of many enthusiastic and willing participants from a having a chance, solely due to the fact that they cannot access the location either due to the long distance or failure to finance the travel, stay or both. However, online and virtual events eliminate this shortcoming. As the competition takes place over on the internet and remotely, anyone from any part of the globe can participate. All they need is a connection to the internet, to travel costs needed. The accessibility is a huge advantage also because participants can solely and fully focus in an environment, they are wholly comfortable in.
- Reach: With the offline event, hosts have a subject matter they have to deal with heavily- the matter of reach and turnover. When held in cities or schools, the reach is limited to that geographical area and mostly the participants present there. Therefore, in order to extend their reach, the organizers and companies involved would have to look for more sponsorship and funding to find diverse participation and engagement. After this step, there is still always a chance of a low turnover the location may not be easily accessible to whoever learn of the event. Virtual counterparts take out the gambling in this regard. There is always a high possibility of a wide reach as they take place over an easily accessible medium that can be interacted with at any time in any place at each prospective participant’s convenience. Since it is online, participants do not have to worry about the location and organizers don’t have to worry about a big reach and lesser turnover.
- Cost-efficient: As seen above, the two factors contribute to the third- hosting this event online is wallet friendly for both the organizers and the participants as well. There is no big amount of money being pushed toward promotion or traveling and lodging and basic needs. Furthermore, creating and setting up an online event is far cheaper than acquiring resources and setting them up offline.
- Scouting: Yet another benefit to hosting this event online is also based off of the reasons mentioned above. Due to them, companies and industries have a better chance of finding potential developers and submissions. Since the process is almost fully automated, recruiters can now shortlist their prospective employees and participants easily. This also gives more chances to participants as well. It helps to pick up the best ideas from all over the world and not just form one small region of it.
How is an online hackathon conducted?
Now that we have looked at why virtual hackathons exist and how they are beneficial, it is only natural to see how they are conducted and through what means and what is necessary to conduct a good and productive event.
The first and foremost is the platform.
If one is thinking of conducting a virtual hackathon, finding the right platform is essential and of paramount importance. The right platform enables the organizers to connect to everyone involved and the participants effectively. It also helps find the right and appropriate audience. It may also even help determine the right goals for the event. Furthermore, these platforms, when the best one is chosen according to needs, will help streamline the process of collecting and recording ideas, prototypes, and aide with the judging process of the same as well. It is advised that when picking a platform, to make sure they provide assistance and support for operational and/or marketing reasons.
Streamlining the process of the event is also essential. Many successful competitions take into consideration 4 main compartment:
- Registration for the event: This is where participants and those who want to be involved register themselves.
- Submission of ideas and prototypes: In this step, everyone puts forth their ideas, projects, and prototypes of what they have worked on to create.
- Evaluating the submissions: Here the submissions of the earlier step are judged and tested.
- Announcing the results: As the title suggests, during this process the results are announced along with the prize if there was any pre-planned beforehand. Having a leaderboard of sorts, for this reason, can enhance future participation.
Having this set as the process can help greatly reduce confusion during the planning and overall happening of the competition.
It is also important, whilst organizing the event to make sure the participants and registrations are managed in a timely and proper fashion.
The best hackathons always have the following:
- Streamlined participation: Participants do not have a hustle with registration and the overall administrative part of the competition.
- Effective Management: Successful events always have backing by an effective event management team that can create excitement as well as establish a good event through whatever is necessary for it in a timely fashion.
- Unbiased Evaluation through Expertise: Judging of ideas through experience in the field that is unbiased is always a welcomed plus.
In conclusion, online hackathons are a great way for both participants and organizers to find engagement without the confines of geography, time or finances and if you ever find yourself in that sort of a pinch, just Google up a few quick hackathons online!