Coding challenges — Skip sleeping this weekend

Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

Programmers, tech enthusiasts, say goodbye to your bed! Coding challenges will keep you up like nothing else. Find out why it’s all worth the effort!

There’s a lot you can do during the weekend that makes you stay away from bed for far longer than usual. You can party like there’s no tomorrow, and, to be honest, you should do that at least once in your life. What’s that? You’re a busy student? Oh, in that case you should study like your life depends on it. That exam you’ve got next week, yeah, exactly that one, you don’t wanna fail it. But what if you’ve had your fair share of parties and there’s no extremely important test on the horizon? We’ve got just the right excuse for you to say goodbye to your bed, and it’s about hackathons!

Wait, hold on, hacka…what?

A hackathon, your new word of the day. Take “hacking” and “marathon”, squeeze them together, and out comes “hackathon”, easy. So what exactly is that? Well, it’s an event held online or on-site that aims for all teams to solve a predefined problem, like a coding challenge. Teams are composed of individuals with different skills, like programmers, designers, and product managers, you will need to build one such team too. For the purpose of this article though we’re only going to focus on on-site events, these usually last one weekend. There’s usually free food and drinks around, and you will surely be taking advantage of that when you decide to take a break for a little while. You can read more on that subject in an article on our blog. So now you know what a hackathon is, but the question is…

…why would you attend such a coding challenge?

Well my friend, you’re in for one hell of a ride here, so buckle up!

Miss 3 hours of sleep…
…find that one programmer who knows the solution to the problem you’ve been dealing with for a week.

It’s a hackathon, you’re supposed to be solving the problem set by the organizers, but nobody can dictate what you’re going to be talking about with others! You will take breaks, everybody needs to use the toilet, get some fresh air, or get a refill of that delicious coffee. Use that time to talk with others, who knows, maybe one of the strangers there can help you with this annoying bug in your code you’ve been dealing with for way too long now at your job. Maybe you’re trying to progress with your own project and you lack ideas. You’d be surprised how inspiring a regular conversation might be. Use every opportunity you have to progress and get ahead of other teams.

Stay up all night…
…and write the winning app of the hackathon!

It’s no secret that some people take part in those coding challenges for the prizes, why should you be any different? You’re in it to win it, and that takes dedication. If a sleepless night is required to beat the competition then this is exactly what you’re going to do. You’ve done more exhausting things before, remember that New Year’s Eve party that ended up lasting three days? This one is a piece of cake in comparison, you can do it. It doesn’t matter if you attend a hackathon for the first time or, eventually, for the hundredth time. If you’re not giving everything you’ve got in you then you’re doing it wrong. You decided to show up so you might as well do all you can to win! Let’s not fool ourselves, you want that prize, who wouldn’t? So go out there, show all of them how it’s done!

Wake up before the alarm…
…and expand your portfolio!

You can never know during which job interview your busy weekend might come in handy, but it’s always better to be prepared! Hackathons make for a great learning experience, mainly due to unexpectedness of the events. Sure, you could just sit there and watch everyone around you and maybe you’d remember something useful, but that’s not really the case. For those coding challenges you need to adapt to difficulties and overcome them, and to be thrown in at the deep end equals you gaining new skills. Not only that, but being active aside from your 9 to 5 job is just a huge advantage for you to stand out from the crowd. Applying for a new job? You’ve done some extra stuff, your competitor did not. Asking for a raise? You have a proof you’re willing to go the extra mile not because you have to, but because you want to.

Say goodbye to your pillow for the weekend…
…and come back home having made new friends!

On-site hackathons are very social events, even if participants might not realize that initially. Among dozens, or even hundreds of people, there you are, working on a project with the same goal as the person next to you, both equally as passionate about the subject, you’re doing great. But what you don’t realize is that your team is not the only one like that, look around, all those small groups are just like yours! When you eventually decide to stretch your legs, maybe do some push-ups, look for people that aren’t currently busy, start a conversation, it doesn’t take much, but can go a long way. Simple interactions like those might be more beneficial than you think, because you never know what the other person might have to say. Is it going to be a joke to help you let go of the stress? Maybe an advice that you can use during this coding challenge? Only one way to find out, and chances are that in a crowd of all those like-minded people there’s at least one to make for a future business partner, or just a friend. Seize the opportunity, it might not arise again.

Miss a nap…
…and have some fun!

As serious as they may sound, coding challenges attract all kinds of people, those passionate kinds as well. Be one of them, take part for the experience, enjoy the ride! Chances are you’re not going to win, this is a reality that you have to get comfortable with. You have all it takes, talent, skills, passion, but there’s a team that has all of that too, plus some more luck. While you need to aim for the podium, realistic approach also goes a long way. That is why you should also try to have something different to take from such event. Try tackling the theme of the hackathon in an unconventional way! Is the goal to develop an entertainment oriented app? You can be sure most teams will try something along the lines of music streaming services, movie players, etc. You are different, you stand out! That is why your team will make an entertainment app for dogs! Sounds crazy? Yeah, it is crazy, dogs don’t use smartphones after all. But you will figure out how to make it all work, it’s going to be an unconventional approach to the topic, and, who knows, maybe that will be the deciding factor that wins you that coding challenge! Be an artist, express yourself, have fun!

Which excuse are you going to choose?

We know it’s not healthy to skip sleep, but you won’t be doing that every week. Yes, we also know your grandma wouldn’t be happy if you stayed up for two days, but we promise not to tell her. Sometimes going against the current is the preferred way, and in our opinion hackathons fall into that slot. We promise you won’t regret anything!

Convinced already?

Here at we often spend sleepless nights to make sure your experience during such coding challenges is the best possible, and if we can do it, so can you! Forget about your bed for the weekend, visit our list of hackathons and find an event that fits you! helps companies find and engage top-performing tech talent matched to their open job positions using online recruitment SkillChallenges.