How Hackathons Benefit Developers and Companies

The secret is out – hackathons have bled into the mainstream as a recruiting tool for in-demand tech talent.

Once regarded as an underground ecosystem of developer fight clubs, hackathons now come in various shapes and sizes to improve our daily lives, solve the world’s problems and to support the future of the industry. Read on to learn who’s taking this opportunity to the talent bank, and whether or not you should get into the hackathon game.

Hackathons: More Than Caffeine-Laden Career Fairs

Companies are competing daily for skilled front- and back-end developers, and everything in between. Employers may find that attending or even hosting their own hackathon is a useful way of identifying candidates with skills that can immediately apply toward a business technology objective. But hackathon events can be more than just Red Bull-infused career fairs. One standard template of hackathons involves a technology company that opens its API and invites outsiders to improve upon or create new technology solutions for its business. The 24-hour competition is one of the quickest, most effective ways of gathering talent that would otherwise miss out on traditional interviewing opportunities due to lack of formal experience with a given language or stack. A newer model involves bringing investors into the mix to help hackers determine whether or not these new innovations warrant creation of a new company as well.

AngelHack Global Demo Day

Recently, Robert Half Technology had the opportunity to attend the AngelHack Global Demo Day, a culmination of the 12-week Hackccelerator program where developers invest dozens of hours of high-pressure problem solving into one of the industry’s top developer competitions. The AngelHack series is unique in that they not only create an event circuit for hackers to showcase their skills, but they also source investors and VCs to identify new product or business opportunities outside of the companies that exist today. For Global Demo Day, nearly two out of three hackers were looking for a full-time career opportunity. The rest were in pursuit of business partners and funding. That, combined with the spectator companies in attendance and sponsor giveaways, made it nearly impossible to walk away from the event without making a valuable connection. The combination of best-in-class hacking and Silicon Valley A-list judges made Global Demo Day an exciting evening that even the purist hackers would have approved of. I look forward to (and will pack more No-Doz for) the next one, AngelHack friends!