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 great result. In 2017 year, College Life got an inside look at the first Allianz Benelux Hackathon!

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 it's 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. 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.

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 organizing 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 adviser for anyone ranging 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 organized their first ever Artvis Hackathon for anyone from The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg (Benelux Region). Check out the video of the event on YouTube!

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. The winners got a 3000 euro reward. Not too shabby, right?

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.

Though the Artviz hackathon is over, Allianz is hosting yearly hackathons with different themes: this year's motto was #Balanceforbetter. Sign up for our newsletter to find out when's the next one!

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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