How to win a code hackathon?

code, Hackathon 4 Your Views , , , , , , , , ,

Stay away from Great Ideas unless you are sure and expert in implementation! Great Ideas become very hard to finish in a 24 -hour code hackathon. Yes! When you fail to finish at-least an MVP(Minimal Viable Product) for your super cool, most complex, one of its kind app within 24 hours, you’ll end up seeing many other groups, who have implemented very tiny stuff as a successful teams. Following I have consolidated my learning which could make you rock and win in a code hackathon!


1. Remix existing Ideas to come out with your new App Idea.
2. Don’t take up more than 2 core functionality in your first iteration of building.
3. Don’t validate the flow too much considering all the possible use cases under which it works (in the interest of time) .
4. Be open to all ideas from your team-mates, If you feel, your idea is great, please stay away from pitching it, as great ideas is difficult to be built in 24 hours.ย 

Design and Development:

1. Don’t focus too much on building a great User Interface for your App
2. Start building the core functionality with a minimal UI and focus only on the functionality… No UI.. No cosmetic.. No extras.. (atleast to start with)
3. Once your core functionality is working, think 1000 times before adding any additional feature, because anytime your new feature can screw up the existing feature, causing a blank screen at your demo
4. Please don’t use GIT or SVN unless if you want to risk your whole 24 hours solving the Merge conflicts. If your team is completely comfortable with version controlling, then GIT and SVN can save great time, else say no to them.
5. If the hackathon sponsor awards the team who uses their API, use this to show the differentiation.
6. Please..Please…Please.. Don’t build a backend, heavy UI, perfect database, best design guidelines or optimized code.. This is not the place to show your skills, this is place to hack and make stuff smart and quick. QUICK…Very Important.. Take all shortcuts, use all shortcuts to make your app run faster, better… Use the existing API’s available and avoid building anything from scratch.
7. Storing in database, making modular code, using a perfect ideal MVC designs are surely time consuming, so always think twice before you start to build from scratch. You have to build your MVP inย 24 hours which should be cool, innovative.


1. If you have 4 members, please don’t log into 4 laptops, each one doing their own modules… Because the integration becomes too complicated if everyone starts writing their own module. Work in 2’s on a single laptop and maybe have another laptop to integrate the finished pieces.
2. If you are going to finish your whole app within 60-700% of the given time on the hackday, chances are 80% that you could win it!


1. Prepare a cool slide to demo your app.
2. If we win,launch a treat and enjoy! If we are not so lucky, remember that we din’t come here to compete.. We came to learn! We came to Understand how other work and think. We came here to measure ourself on where we stand among others in the ability to think better, do better. Remember, Anything could be learned over time. ๐Ÿ™‚

4 Responses to How to win a code hackathon?

  1. Deepak Kannan

    thanks for your info sir… wat app u have developed in driodcon?

    • Santhosh Vijay

      We developed an Application called “Diskonnect” which helps everyone disconnect from tech world and start focus on self! An app which keeps track of Personal Productivity time and give you a score in comparison with your friends!

  2. Anenth Guru

    Thanks for the detailed insight. Having attended so many hackathons recently, I can fully vouch for your observations.

    I slightly differ from your view that one must refrain from “Great Ideas”. I feel that most great ideas can be converted into to a doable MVP with the “right scope” and mocking up certain data/UI. But, getting that right is very difficult and hopefully I will also be able to do it someday ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Santhosh Vijay

      I wrote “Great Ideas” knowing well, most will slightly differ the other way… ๐Ÿ™‚ May be i was not having proper choice of word there… Flickr and many more great products were born from Hackathon MVP’s. I agree to you. What I meant by great Ideas here is ideas with these attitude, “My idea will change the whole world”, “My Idea is the next big hit”. Hope you agree with me.. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I was so happy to see your app getting featured by Google Play. Wish to see more of your app to get big hit. Congrats and Best Wishes @Anenth ๐Ÿ™‚


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