Hackathon Projects: What They Are and Why They’re Great

Hackathons. Hackathon projects. Blockchain hackathons. Code hackathons. You've probably heard one of these terms before, and that's because hackathons are becoming increasingly popular in an effort to spur innovation. Group together intelligent, motivated, and creative individuals, and you're likely to get a result. This year, College Life is presenting you the first Allianz Benelux Hackathon that you can take part in! But, more on that later.

But what exactly is a hackathon? A hackathon is an event where specialists in software, such as data analysts, programmers or software designers, come together to create new, innovative solutions. Hackathon is a combination of the words hack and marathon, so basically a marathon event to create new software. This means teams work intensively for a long period of time with little rest. At the end of their allocated time period, teams present their project to a jury, and a winner is chosen. Sounds cool, right? It definitely is, and it's even cooler to be able to take part in one. Even better? A big data hackathon, because big data is becoming one of the most prominent aspects of data analysis today.

Hackathon projects can be tough, especially if your team is small

So what's the purpose of hackathon projects?

There are many types of hackathons, depending on the purpose of the project. For example, a company seeking to launch a new app will have a hackathon specifically for apps. A company seeking to change the program of their computers will have a hackathon for that. Really, hackathon projects differ based on what a company needs, or what kind of people are participating in the hackathon.

Big data hackathons are becoming increasingly popular since we are living in a world with so much data and insufficient resources to make sense of them. Simply, big data hackathons are a necessity because, without them, we can't do anything with the data that we have.

It boils down to this. We are living in a very fast-moving world, and not innovating is not a choice for companies. By initiating hackathons, companies are striving for innovation and allowing people like you to be the ones who give them that. How cool would it be if you would win a hackathon & perhaps score a job at the company organising it on top of that?


hackathon projects involve using laptops

Who can take part?

Hackathons are actually open to anyone who wants to join. As can be expected, a large portion of participants is computer science majors, as they have learned to code in their studies. However, other individuals in similar fields, like design or engineering, who have taught themselves to code can also take part. As long as you have a passion for data, design, coding, and development, a hackathon is a great place to be.

Taking part in a big data hackathon is a great way to learn a lot about the field as well as learn professional skills. As you'll be working in a team with other like-minded individuals, you can bounce ideas off of one another and learn tricks from each other. These teams will also help you learn how to work well with others, collaborate, and make the best of your unified ideas.

More importantly, hackathon projects are run by companies that need people who are skilled in programming, coding, and big data analysis. Hackathons are therefore a great way to interact with these companies and show them exactly what you have to offer. Instead of just reading some dry facts from your CV, companies are seeing how you work in real life and apply your knowledge to real-life situations. Now, this can really work in your favour.


Writing code during hackathon projects

So where can you get started?

Look no further, because your chance to take part in a hackathon is at your fingertips. Allianz is an insurance and financial services advisor for anyone, from an individual to a large company. Because Allianz deals with data from various companies and various financial aspects, they need to find a way to handle their big data, as well. That's why Allianz is organizing their first ever Artvis Hackathon for anyone from The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg (Benelux Region). You can sign up as either an individual or as a team, but keep in mind that working in a team can help you learn a lot (and perhaps win).

The reward? Learning so much about how data works, how we approach it, and how we can handle it, as well as meeting interesting professionals and eager young data analysts like you. And, if you win, a 3000 euro reward. Not too shabby, right?

Find out what you can do with your degree in programming, design, computer science, or if you're self-taught, how far you can get. A hackathon will teach you so much about your field as well as how actual work will be like for you in the future. And all it takes is 36 hours.

Want to find out more about what to do with your degree after you've graduated? Visit our Career section in College Life Magazine to find out how you can get ahead.

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