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 any of these questions then look no further. It sounds like you should join a hackathon.

First of all, what is a hackathon? A hackathon is an event typically organized by companies to challenge people like you to produce new software, fix bugs in technology, or solve global issues. Oftentimes, they're accompanied by the chance of winning something. Different kinds of hackathons exist, it's all about finding the one that's right for you. The 5 main types are:

  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.

Image of hackathon importance networking

1. You can meet 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 doing some precious networking in the Netherlands. Especially if you've just arrived in the Netherlands, finding friends is a welcome bonus.

Beyond working with other participants in a hackathon, you also get to meet 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 with in the future. First of all, this can give you a lot of insight into the industry and the people inside of it. More importantly, however, this rapidly grows your network of connections with important individuals. If you can think of a great idea for a company or implement software that will change their company's future, you'll definitely be on their radar. This is the kind of exposure you might not get anywhere else.

2. CV building, anyone?

Only a small group of people participates in a hackathon. This is because it can be kind of intimidating. It is hard work and 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, it's a great way to boost your CV. Who doesn't love a great CV?

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

Image of hackathon connections and job mobility

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 different company profile. In a job market where no job description or demand 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 of last year, Allianz organized the first ever Artvis Hackathon for the Benelux Region. It focused on data and how we handle it. Now it may be over but you can still check out the aftermovie here and check out their website to stay up-to-date with their latest events.

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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