1. It is a fantastic learning opportunity.
You can use this time to test a new skill or framework in a setting that keeps you focused and motivated. During its course, you will hear about new advancements in the field, and realize that asking even dumb questions is encouraged, and not frowned upon.
2. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone and grow.
Expect to pitch your own idea for a project to complete strangers or explain why you are a good candidate for someone else’s team. Present your work in front of tens or hundreds of people. It will be intimidating but exciting, particularly if you are shy or suffer from an imposter syndrome.
3. You get a taste of smart management and team dynamics.
Hackathons are great lessons in terms of execution and efficiency. There is no room for perfectionism – you need to judge where to invest time, how long to try, and when to switch to a new solution. It is one of the pro’s.
4. It opens your eyes to new career choices.
Working on an exciting project may convince you to do a career shift. Besides learning while networking or through tech talks, large on-site hackathons feature company booths where you can approach their representatives and learn about your potential workplace first-hand.
5. It truly is intense networking with relevant people.
During these few days, you will have endless opportunities to get to know people on a professional level, be it during team-matching sessions, food breaks, or going for coffee together. And it could start already beforehand if a hackathon offers closed groups/messaging platforms to connect.
6. You make a step towards entrepreneurship.
People often go to hackathons when they have a business idea that they want to explore. Sometimes your idea/solution might be so amazing it could get bought, or you and your teammate(s) might resonate so well that you will continue working together beyond the hackathon (and maybe even form your own startup). It is one of the pro’s.
7. You catch attention if you win.
It is not the most important point but in case of success, it does help you market yourself and makes a nice entry on your CV. And if you aren’t a finalist, technically you won all of the above anyway.