A hackathon management platform, also known as a hackathon platform, is a web-based software that facilitates the seamless hosting of virtual coding events or hackathons. These platforms are designed to adapt to various specifications of online coding assessments, contests, collaborations, and other programming projects. An ideal hackathon platform enables organizers to manage all the processes and stages required to drive the event to completion, including sending invites, project evaluations, interactions, progress tracking, goal setting, organizing prizes, and keeping task records.
This hackathon guide provides an introduction to hackathon platforms, including their benefits and key features. Additionally, a list of the most effective platforms that you can use to conduct your online hackathon event is provided.
Features that define a perfect platform for the hackathon
Below are some features that you should expect to see in the hackathon toolkit offered by your chosen partner.
Hosting a hackathon can be a great way to generate attention for your organization, whether it be for recruitment or innovation purposes. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize marketing support when selecting a hackathon vendor to ensure the event’s success.
If your hackathon is targeted towards engaging with college students, your chosen vendor should have experience conducting campus drives and connecting with engaged campuses. Establishing a campus connection is a crucial aspect of hosting a hackathon for campus recruitment.
Personalized event page
Having an event page that serves as a centralized hub for all event-related information is crucial. To ensure a smooth experience for participants, it’s important to have a customized and self-serviced, white-labeled microsite that allows for easy configuration of various rounds and stages.
To ensure a successful hackathon, it’s important to choose an online hackathon platform that provides a streamlined dashboard for both admins and judges. The hackathon software should be robust and dynamic to allow for efficient scheduling and management of large-scale participation.
While onsite hackathons provide the opportunity for in-person collaboration, online hackathons require a platform that supports a seamless collaborative experience. Collaborative innovation is at the core of hackathons, and it’s important to choose a platform that embodies this value. The platform should provide tools and features that enable participants to easily work together and share ideas, even if they are not physically in the same location.
Hackathons are all about excitement and the thrill of innovation, and a leaderboard can be a great feature to include in your hackathon toolkit. The leaderboard allows participants to keep track of their progress and stay motivated throughout the event. It can also create healthy competition among participants, which can lead to increased engagement and more innovative solutions.
Automated shortlisting process
With large volumes of participation in hackathons, it can be impossible to assess every entry personally. To address this challenge, it’s important to look for a virtual hackathon platform that utilizes smart technology to automate the shortlisting process. This technology can help streamline the review process and enable judges and panelists to easily review submissions.
When organizing a large-scale hackathon, operational and execution hurdles are inevitable. These obstacles can range from registration inquiries to technical issues, and it’s essential to have a capable hackathon partner who can handle them all. Given the inherent technical challenges in such events and the increased number of participants, there will be numerous touchpoints and engagement opportunities. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that your hackathon partner is well-equipped to provide 24*7 on-ground support for all the mentioned areas.
In summary, selecting a hackathon tools partner with extensive experience in managing large-scale hackathons is a wise decision. This will guarantee seamless events and enable them to prepare adequately in advance.
Procedure for hosting a virtual hackathon
Decide a goal – the why of your hackathon
To prepare for a hackathon, determining the purpose of hosting the event is essential. What are your objectives? Do you plan to leverage it as a promotional strategy or verify the security features of your forthcoming app/software? The hackathon concept you select will establish the framework for the organizing process and enable you to draw in the appropriate participants.
Decide the other four w’s
Determining the objective of your hackathon addresses the “why” aspect. However, the remaining four elements – who, what, where, and when – are also crucial. Below is a comprehensive guide to each of these elements:
- Who: “Who” pertains to your intended audience, specifically those who will participate in the virtual hackathon. To boost participation and engage the audience, opt for judges and guest speakers who cater to the target audience’s interests.
- What: This refers to the prizes and incentives given to the participants and winners.
- Where: For in-person hackathons, it is the location where the event will be held. Online hackathons involve selecting a platform that satisfies both your needs and the contestants’ needs.
- When: Selecting the date for a virtual event is critical in ensuring maximum participation. Avoid scheduling during major holidays or events in the regions or countries where you plan to draw participants from. Additionally, consider different time zones when planning the event.
Promote the event
After finalizing the theme, prize, judges, and guest speaker for your virtual hackathon, the next crucial step is to create awareness and excitement about the event among your intended participants. To achieve this, you should utilize various promotional channels, such as your website, social media pages, and email marketing campaigns, to spread the word about the hackathon.
To effectively manage a virtual hackathon that tends to attract more participants than onsite ones, it is crucial to ensure a smooth and straightforward registration process. This can be achieved by specifying clear cutoff dates for registration and limiting the number of participants.
Take stock post-event
Conducting a thorough analysis after an event is crucial to leverage the aspects that yielded positive outcomes and identify areas that require improvement. One effective approach is to collect feedback from participants, either through a survey or informal conversations, to gain valuable insights that can be utilized for future event planning.
Moreover, it is essential to showcase the success of your virtual hackathon by sharing visual content, such as pictures and videos, with your target audience through various channels like social media posts, newsletters, and blogs. This will help in promoting your event and maintaining the momentum for future endeavors.
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