5 reasons why YOU should waste your weekend at a hackathon

With the hackathon season upon us, some of you will be pondering why the fudge you should ‘waste’ your weekend sitting indoors geeking-it-up when the sun is up (in some places, *cough* Manchester we’re looking at you *cough*) and you could be playing outside.

Whatever it is that you do during the week, here’s 5 reasons you should jump into your next local hackathon.

1. Sharpen Your Skills

Not been able to use a specific set of skills in your 9-to-5 or uni coursework? When better to give yourself a rapid refreshers course than during a weekend of fun tinkering?

This doesn’t only apply to coding and hardware hacking, if you’re interested in the business side, but never get a chance to give it a shot, here’s your chance. Take it.

2. Learn something new

Sometimes you haven’t got the skills you’d like to sharpen. Hackathons are a great place to try and learn something new. With several new programming languages launched over the last 12 months, we’re sure there’s something you haven’t given a shot yet.

Also, you may find it easier to learn from other people who have an abundance of the skills you’d like to acquire… which brings us onto number 3. Kinda.

3. Meet other ‘crazies’

There’s very few times you’ll see more raw tech talent than when the clock’s ticking away and there’s so many experiments going on all around you. Whether in your team or not, be sure to keep an eye and ear on the discussions at the coffee/beer table around 2am.

If you’re ever going to be building a tech startup, you probably want to see/feel what it’s like working through crazy o’clock right up until go-time. It can also be a great way to build (read: test) working relationships.

4. Test a business hypothesis

Everybody’s got ideas. Most come up with them in the shower, others whilst perched on a porcelain throne, others write them down in encrypted code before throwing them in a safe they then drop into the ocean for safe keeping.

But as every single online ‘entrepreneurial advisory’ piece would say, an idea without execution is worth less than nothing, and we’re afraid they’d be right.

So why not give one of your ideas a go? Why not give your best idea a go!? Worst case scenario? It works, you build a team, quit your job and build something you are really , really passionate about.

Bonus: stuck without an idea? Simply think about what has annoyed you the most over the last 4 weeks. Then ask your friends which items on your list annoyed them too. Take the most popular annoyance, and then pitch that you want to find a way to fix it. There will probably be other people at the event who’d love to join you on your mission of making life a little less sucky.

5. You probably won’t go play outside anyways. Right?

With Playstations and Xbox, Facebook and Twitter, Netflix and Lovefilm, as if you’d be playing outside anyways!

And if you were, why not make a plan to learn/try/build something new for one weekend, and take your new friends outside with you the next weekend?

Got anything to add? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.

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