1. I know what you’re thinking: “But I can’t hack/code/program.”
Neither can I, but I can learn, have learned, and continue to learn. Any hackathon worth its salt these days would encourage hackers to share knowledge and mentor each other. No interest in programming? No problem. Designers and artists are in demand—in the workforce, in the Valley, and at hackathons. You have production-related design skills that developers will fight for. Every DFA project starts out as a hack and this is your chance to share your craft and demystify what you do hands on.
2. You get to meet hundred of other people just like you.
When you boil it down, these people are just here to build something cool. Incredibly talented students from miles away that are willing to endure 16 hour bus rides to build things they didn’t have time for, the resources for, the right team, the inspiration. And when you bring these people together in a risk-free environment with all the right resources (time, talent, food, caffeine, and a good monetary incentive), hackathons become an incubator for daring ideas.
3. There is no room for analysis paralysis.
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” Admit it, analysis paralysis is the worst part of the design process. When you have 36 hours to plan, build, and implement well enough to demo, you will spend all of ten minutes in analysis paralysis. No group of people have taken the phrase “f*** it, ship it” more closely to heart than hackers. Bonus points if your build works.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? To work on projects that are daring, bold, and feasible. To make impact. To work collaboratively, and cross-functionally. To build, and test, and share your ideas with the world. A hackathon is an ultra-condensed version of DFA’s core process.
Build an instrument out of a pumpkin. Invent a new currency. Challenge how we interact with social media. Make a way for me to grow vegetables under my bed. Whatever you do, just build something.
As a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign student, I have to encourage you to build it at HackIllinois. Registrations are currently open to come to our first space-themed buildathon April 11-13 in which we will be providing the ultimate hacker experience. Can’t make it to HackIllinois? Check out the dozens of other hackathons happening every week!
Image taken from http://www.annarbor.com/