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Have you ever heard of a Hackathon? Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s a buzzword. Why? One, Hackathons are a great chance to meet people who are just as excited about programming as you are. Two, they can lead to great product creations, interviews, and even new jobs! If you thrive on creativity, enjoy free food, memorabilia, and cash prizes, then hackathons are worth checking out. Plus: you’ll be building a fully-functioning product that may be picked up! Here are seven benefits you’ll see from competing in your first hackathon.

Heads up: Hackbright Academy, partnered with Cisco, DocuSign and Girls in Tech, is calling for hackers to participate in Hacking For Humanity, coming up this July 8th and 9th in San Francisco. Purchase your $20 ticket here.

1. You’ll build experience for your portfolio

As a coding bootcamper, you’ve got the skills, but what you need is the experience. The more Github commits and impressive projects you have in your portfolio, the better. A Hackathon is a great way to build a fully-functioning product in less than 48 hours. 

2. You’ll flex your collaboration muscles

Building a product in less than 48 hours takes a village. You’ll need to come up with an idea, whiteboard, assign roles (front end, back end, etc.), build out the tech, and present your project to a panel of judges. By working with a group of about four other developers on a project, you’ll see what it’s like to put your heads together and what you can create as a team.

3. You can do GOOD!

Hackathons exist to enable the rapid prototyping of a complex problem and provide a range of solutions in a short period of time. By joining a hackathon with a social mission, you can truly impact communities that need innovation.

For example, Hacking for Humanity, sponsored by Hackbright Girls in Tech (SF) and DocuSign is a social innovation hackathon. That means you’ll be innovating for social change for girls and women over two days on topics that deal with girls and women’s issues including (but not limited to): homelessness, sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking and women's health.

4. You can win prizes (read: $$)

In addition to gaining great experience, meeting other women in your field and collaborating as a team, you’ll also get the chance to win some serious cash. Your team’s project is presented in front of a panel. And if selected, your project could even get funded to go live in the real world. For example, the LaunchHackathon awards up to $1M in prize money. 

5. A hackathon could lead to your next job

If you're not a natural "networker" (who is?!) then a hackathon could be the perfect place to flex your new tech skills and mingle, without diving head first into the networking scene. Between judges, attendees, and other competitors, you'll be meeting other like-minded techies in these 48 hours...you might even come across your next job! Hackathons are big in SF (and around the country), and it just might lead to your next job as a Software Engineer at some of the top companies

6. Learn and teach a new technology  

Many hackathons are centered around a specific technology, so if you want to hack on something new like React or Angular, this is your opportunity! No only will you learn new tech, you’ll also step into a leadership role right away by teaching new things to others. What’s more, you’ll be in a comfortable, supportive environment so you can get familiar with teaching and leading others.

7. You’ll network with others like you

Oh, the places you’ll go and the people you’ll meet. Hackathons are home to a great community of techpreneurs to make new friends and gain connections for jobs down the road. You’ll meet developers from diverse backgrounds and experiences, and you may even meet future Hackbright Academy work colleagues or bosses!


Hackbright Academy, partnered with Cisco, DocuSign and Girls in Tech, is calling for hackers to participate in Hacking For Humanity, coming up this July 8th and 9th in San Francisco. Purchase your $20 ticket here, which covers meals and snacks during the two-day event, including a deluxe swap bag with premium goods. This hackathon is beginner friendly and for participants new to coding or hackathons. However, any and all levels are welcome. Don’t have a team? No problem - You'll get opportunities to network and connect with like- minded hackers in our community before any hacking begins. Form a team, solve a problem, create something awesome, present it to the audience and win prizes!

About The Author

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Mahsa leads Hackbright Academy's social and events in San Francisco. She is passionate about increasing the number of women in the tech workforce.

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