The Keys to Crafting a Winning Hackathon Submission

Nowadays, hackathons are gaining a lot of popularity. Hackathons allow developers the opportunity to create new software and apps in a short period of time. The downside is that it is difficult to win these competitions because the submissions can be very close in quality. It is very difficult to separate the very best contenders from the rest when they all have the same resources in terms of time, equipment and skill.

It is important to have a unique idea from the beginning and be able to implement it well. The use of a good design can make your submission catch the eye of the judges. One final note is that there are no set rules for winning a hackathon. It very much depends on if your submission is capable of generating excitement in minds which to some degree is subjective.

The first step to completing a successful hackathon entry is brainstorming and getting ideas for the project you want to code for this particular hackathon before you even arrive at the competition. Virtual Hackathon is a huge event with hundreds of hackers working on solving tough problems from diverse industries and disciplines.

Hackers come prepared with ideas as well as a willingness to learn during the course of the event and take away new skills and know how that they can use in the workplace or at home.

1. The choosing the idea that you want to work on


In the beginning, you will probably have several ideas floating in your head. The key to a winning hackathon entry is that it should be a good idea and able to grab the attention of other developers.

You should make a list of most wanted hackathon submissions and try to think about the best way to tackle these problems. There are several ways in which you can do this and the low hanging fruits are more likely to end up being picked because they will attract more attention from judges and developers who will attend.

2. Choosing the tech stack


The tech stack will determine how viable your idea is compared with your competitors. It determines what tools have been used in order for this project to be completed successfully. Once you have decided what tech stack to use then you can proceed with the design of the app or website.

You should keep in mind that if your application is data and content heavy then you are going to need a robust backend system to support it. It is important to keep the user experience in mind. There is no need to reinvent the wheel and write a new backend system from scratch. You can use an existing one that has already been tested.

3. Designing the user interface

The user interface and the experience of the app is extremely important. The user interface should be aesthetic and catchy. The use of colours and graphics can make your entry look cuter. You should make sure that the interface is able to attract users who are interested in using your application.

You should also make sure the flow and logic is easy to understand and is consistent. It is important to keep in mind that you are going to have a lot of code so the programming language should be easy to read and interpret.

4. Coding


It is very important for programmers to create a good workflow for themselves when coding. This will allow them to remain focused and increase productivity. You should treat this as any other project for your employment or school project.

There should never be more than two programmers working on one project because it would become difficult to maintain the structure and workflow. It is important that all of the code should be written in a way which is readable and easy to understand.

5. Testing

Testing the application is very important because it will allow you to catch bugs before the submission deadline. There are several ways in which you can test applications such as manual testing, automated testing and bug bounties.

Manual testing allows developers to test each feature individually so that they can ensure that all features are working properly. Automated testing means developers will automate test cases while others write unit tests which are manually tested by developers. The advantage of automated testing is that it is quick and effective but the downside is that it takes longer to build and maintain automated tests than manual tests.

6. Creating a great demo


You should be able to stand out from the rest of the entries by creating a great demo for your project. Your demo will help you convince people that you have created something useful that solves a real problem.

You can even show how your demo solves other problems in non obvious ways. The idea is to get everybody excited about your project and gather support around it.  It is important that your demo is able to do that according to what you have written in the description of your project.

7. Researching

Once you have determined that your idea is a good one and is overall better than other competing ideas then you should start doing research on this idea. You are looking for an interesting problem to solve or an interesting way to solve a difficult problem.

If you do not come up with a good solution or even an interesting one to begin with then there is no point in coding it up and submitting it because it will probably not win anything.

8. Establishing Your Team


When you are setting up your team, it is important to get the correct balance of skills and knowledge that can make a good team. You need somebody who is able to write code and someone who can read code so that you don’t end up wasting time on anything unnecessary.

You also need to have some people who can give some ideas for how to improve or modify the product or service that you will develop for the Hackathon guide without ruining its integrity. It is important that the team is able to communicate between each other so that you can make sure that everything is going according to plan.

Mercer | Mettl is a platform that helps to organize hackathons in communities. It provides a platform for people to collaborate on events, hackathons and how such activities can benefit the community. There are many benefits in participating in events such as hackathons while also developing skills that can be used by the community.