Why You Need to Participate in a Hackathon as An International Student

Is technology your thing? Do you have a knack for exploring technological developments and innovations that can help a company really get ahead? Do you want to show the world what you're capable of producing? If you answered yes to these questions, then look no further. It sounds like a hackathon is exactly your thing.

First of all, what is a hackathon? A hackathon is an event organized typically by companies to challenge people like you to produce new software, fix bugs in technology, or solve relevant world problems with the chance of winning something. Now, figure out which kind of hackathon best fits your skill set. There are many different kinds of hackathons, such as:

  1. Application-based hackathons: focus on developing mobile applications or operating systems
  2. Specific program hackathons: focus on improving or working with existing programs
  3. Cause-based hackathons: focus on addressing particular social issues
  4. Hackathons for a specific demographic: focus on finding a solution to a problem plaguing a particular demographic
  5. Code sprint: focus on developing a whole new software

Still not sure if you should sign yourself up for a hackathon? Here are 3 reasons why you, as an international student, should sign up today.

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1. Meeting new people at a hackathon

In addition to using your own innovative ideas, hackathons allow you to form teams and brainstorm with other innovative individuals. This means you're working together with a lot of other hard-working individuals, and thus expanding your social base in the Netherlands. Especially if you're just arriving in the Netherlands, and then finding friends is always a bonus.

Beyond working with other participants in a hackathon, you're also meeting people from existing companies who either organize or watch the event. A hackathon isn't non-stop brainstorming and coding on computers; there is time to walk around and mingle with others. This gives you the chance to meet people in the industry you might imagine yourself working in in the future. First of all, this can give you a lot of insight into the industry and teach you a lot. More importantly, however, this rapidly expands your connections with important individuals. If you can think of a great idea for a company, or implement a software that will change their company's future, you bet you'll be on their radar. This is a kind of exposure you might not get anywhere else.

2. CV building, anyone?

Only a small amount of the population participates in a hackathon. This is because it can be kind of intimidating, it is hard work, and because only a few people are really capable of coding or coming up with such revolutionary ideas. If you can get yourself involved in a hackathon and do a good job at it, that's a great way to advance your CV. And who doesn't love a great CV?

In addition to the connections you'll establish with other participants and companies watching, you're setting yourself up for career success.

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3. Mobility, mobility, mobility

Today's job market is anything but static. Jobs are changing every day, and so is the demand for them. If you participate in hackathons and thus stay up to date with new software developments, ideas, and emerging issues, you make yourself a very attractive job candidate. You become well-informed, you have relevant and contemporary solutions, and you know the right people. This means you can be the perfect candidate for a specific company, but also have the ability to adapt to another candidate looking for someone like you. And in a job market where no job description or job demand time is set in stone, that's a very attractive quality to have.

You might be thinking, where can I find a hackathon? On September 28th and 29th, Allianz is organizing the Artvis Hackathon for the Benelux Region. It focuses on data and how we handle it, so it's a relatively broad category. This means it ranges across several categories mentioned above, and therefore covers a wide skillset. Are you new to the Netherlands and looking for a way to get ahead and get a network? Get yourself signed up.

Does a hackathon sound like something you want to do, but you're not yet sure what it entails? Find out more about hackathon projects and what they are here.

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