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What the Hack? Why You Should Host Your Own Hackathon

hack-ed

If you asked someone what a hackathon was five years ago, chances are they wouldn’t have known what you were talking about. But today hackathons are rapidly growing in popularity and changing the way companies and individuals do business. A hackathon is a gathering where programmers collaboratively code in an extreme manner over a short period of time. These events usually last 24 hours or an entire weekend.

There isn’t a month that goes by where there isn’t a hackathon taking place in a major city, usually sponsored by a large organization. With the rise in apps and software development, hackathons are becoming mainstream.

Here are the top three reasons you should consider hosting one for your company or organization:

  1. Networking: If you’ve been wanting to get more involved in the tech community but are not sure how, there’s no better way than attending a hackathon. Not only are they fun, you will make friends and business contacts. Even if you don’t code, you should start with attending your first hackathon if you want to get a glimpse of the tech world.
  2. Job recruiting: Hackathons are quickly becoming the easiest way to find qualified job candidates. Whether you have a startup or a large company, attending a hackathon will help you find the right people to bring into your business. These events are a great place to find new employees, or even that techie co-founder you’ve been looking for.
  3. Different perspectives: Hackathons force you to work with people you’d probably never interact with otherwise, which in turn sparks new ideas from different perspectives. Ideas are looked into more deeply and progress is accelerated. The process allows participants to learn not only how to execute and follow through with ideas but also see things in a different light.

 

The North Texas Enterprise Center, or NTEC, a business accelerator based in Frisco, is hosting its very first hackathon at Parish Episcopal School in Dallas. This hackathon is unique because it has two tracks: an educational track, for middle school-age kids with little or no hackathon experience, and a competitive track for high school and college-age students and professionals.

As a business accelerator, NTEC has relationships with many startups and companies in North Texas. We had been hearing from many of our business contacts about the difficulties of finding good local developers. It’s not that there aren’t good developers in DFW, it’s that we need more of them. That’s when the idea of developing developers came about. The founder and president of one of its new member companies, Kevin Harris of the Guild of Software Architects, who is also the Lead Wearables Architect at Fossil, is facilitating the hackathon, called Hack|ED from 5-10 p.m. Feb. 26 and 9 a.m.- 8 p.m. Feb. 27.

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Susy Solis is president of Solis Media Strategies. She is former journalist who often works with startups and entrepreneurs and is the PR adviser at the North Texas Enterprise Center, or NTEC.

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