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    Lena Hierzi

How to prepare for a Blockchain Hackathon

How to get started, best practices and some tricks

1. Why participate in a Hackathon???

Participating in a hackathon offers numerous benefits, including gaining knowledge about the latest Web3 technologies, building a decentralized application (dApp), and acquiring valuable skills for future job opportunities. It also provides networking opportunities with potential employers, mentors, team members, friends, and investors, leading to potential job opportunities and professional growth. I have friends who got hired on the spot form a hackathon. Additionally, hackathons offer empowerment through the creation of new projects for portfolios, chances to win prizes, monetary rewards, and enhanced reputation in the industry. The most beautiful thing in wokring with H.E.R. DAO was the change in the confidence of a women or non-binary person that one a bounty or prize at a hackathon. They start to understand their value and their knowledge.

2. Knowledge

Participating in a hackathon allows you to delve into the newest Web3 technologies and gain a comprehensive understanding of building a dApp. This encompasses various aspects such as architectural considerations, community building, tokenomics, business models, and pitching skills. Working on an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) within a team during a hackathon enhances your skills, preparing you for future job roles.

3. Networking

Hackathons provide an excellent opportunity to expand your professional network. You can connect with potential employers, mentors, and team members who complement your skillset (developers, founders, marketers, etc.). Building these connections can lead to job offers, collaboration opportunities, and mentorship support. Additionally, you may meet friends and even potential investors who share your passion for Web3.

4. Empowerment

Participating in a hackathon empowers you in multiple ways. Firstly, it allows you to develop new projects that can be added to your portfolio, showcasing your skills and creativity. Secondly, hackathons often offer prizes, monetary rewards, and recognition, which can further boost your confidence and reputation in the industry. One of my teammates invested the money she won into a Solidity Coding Bootcamp. Normally it was more like a deposit, that you would get back if you completed the course, but she donated it for women that then could take the course for free.

5. How to prepare

To prepare for a hackathon, it is recommended that everyone familiarizes themselves with the sponsors' documentation and look into relevant tutorials. Additionally, reviewing the official guidelines and joining the official Discord channel can provide valuable information and assistance. Developers should find a simple quick starter template, integrate a wallet, set up a development environment (such as Truffle or Hardhat), and practice calling contract functions. Et your first Smart Contract writing experience in Solidity using resources like CryptoZombies.

6. Find a Team

To find a team for the hackathon, consider exploring developer DAOs like H.E.R. DAO or Developer DAO. Local tech communities, Discord channels, Twitter, and team-building workshops are also excellent places to connect with potential teammates who share your interests and skills.

7. Roles

During a hackathon, various roles need to be filled within a team. These roles can include back-end developers, smart contract developers, project managers/presenters, front-end developers, and artists specializing in UI/UX design. You can have a person for each role but more often one person is wearing different hats!

8. Product Manager

As a product manager, ensure effective coordination within the team by creating a comprehensive TODO list board. Regularly check in with team members, offer assistance, and prepare presentation slides early. It is crucial to practice an elevator pitch that every team member should be familiar with. Your whole team relies on you keeping an overview. Don’T think only because you are non-tehcnical that your only task is to bring coffee.

9. How to start

To kickstart your project, design a basic flow using tools like Figma or pen and paper, incorporating function names for front-end and smart contracts. Create a GitHub repository with dedicated folders for contracts, backend, and front-end to facilitate collaboration. Focus on building a minimal viable product (MVP) by prioritizing essential features and creating a timeline.

10. At the Beginning of the Hackathon

Organize essential information, team resources, and communication channels on a Notion page. Establish a Telegram group for team communication and discuss the distribution of prize money in case of winning. Engage with others to gather feedback on your idea, refine it, and create a small MVP before expanding further.

11. During the hackathon

During the hackaton it's crucial to ask for help when needed, stay focused on Web3 challenges, present your idea to gather feedback, and create a compelling presentation.

12. A great project starts with a good idea

Incorporates unique technical aspects, and showcases your passion for continued development and collaboration with sponsors.

13. Pitch

Deliver an effective pitch by keeping it concise, focusing on key points, tailoring it to the audience, and practicing extensively.

14. Social media

Go the extra mile by leveraging social media like Twitter, writing articles about your project, and documenting your experiences to provide valuable feedback to the sponsors. Many of them are startups and getting feedback on their documentation is one of the reasons that they participate in a hackathon for.