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What Is a Hackathon and How Do You Prepare for One With Gwendolyn Faraday (S6E11)

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“Hacking” isn’t always a bad word in the tech space anymore—thanks to the growing popularity of “ethical hacking” and events like “hackathons”.

What is a hackathon? Often, the events don’t have anything to do with the ‘breaking in' connotation of hacking at all. Instead, it’s more like hacking something together, where a group of people come together to collaborate or compete on a coding project.

Gwendolyn FaradaySenior software developer Gwendolyn Faraday loves the power of hackathons to bring beginners together and let them sharpen their skills in a fun and supportive environment. Her first hackathon got her hooked; it turned into attending one every other month and evolved to hosting her own hackathons for beginners.


In the episode below, Gwen talks about why hackathons were so important for her own learning journey, how to prepare for a hackathon and other hackathon tips, what to do if you’re going alone, and more.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hackathons are great for beginners because they can help you build your confidence, your skills, and your experience collaborating and working closely with a team of other developers.
  • Hackathons can be intimidating, but if you're going to go to one, don't feel like you can't contribute because everyone seems more experienced than you. The team will need all sorts of skills, even non-tech-related ones like business acumen, marketing, designing, etc.
  • The best way to prepare for a hackathon is simply to read the rules for the event, and go prepared with a few ideas or even the start of a basic project that you think might be useful.
  • If you’re on your own, don’t worry! A lot of people turn up with a ready-formed group, but there are also people who go alone and will need people to join their team after they pitch an idea.

Links and mentions from the episode:

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