What is a Hackathon?

Hackathon’s have become increasingly popular over the years, with tech-lovers all over the world participating and showing their creativity in these events. But many of you may still be wondering – what exactly is a Hackathon

Well, a hackathon is simply:

‘Creatively solving a problem’ or some may refer to it as ‘Hacking a problem’

The event itself is usually hosted by tech-organisations, in which community members come together to solve a problem in a selected time-frame. Hackathons are usually competition based events, where teams work against the clock, combining their technical and creativity to create the best solution of the day! If you’re wondering how a full hackathon day will pan out, see below for how does a hackathon work? 


How does a Hackathon work?




1. Introduction to the event

The day is here! The hackathon will start with an introduction from the organisations and hosts of the event. A chance for everyone to get to know each other and hear a quick introduction to the day ahead. The introduction stage of the event can cover the rules, selected time-frame for the event, allow all attendees to gather their teams, see the challenges for the first time and set an agenda for the day ahead.


2. Challenges & Rules

This stage may be the first time attendees are seeing the challenges and missions for the event, this structure to Hackathons encourages on the spot problem solving and creativity to flow throughout the event - organisers may choose to show the challenges the morning of the event or a few days prior. The organisers and presenters of the event will clarify the rules to all attendees at the start of the Hackathon - ensuring all team members are prepared for the day ahead. 


3. Tutorial phase

As Hackathons (typically) originate from the tech industry, using technology to overcome a problem, the tutorial phase of the event will consist of a workshop ensuring all attendees are familiar with the software they will be using. Running through the software, how to use it and key features that will be useful for the problem at hand.


4. Getting started!

After a thorough tutorial, organisers will ensure all attendees are comfortable with the technology, the challenges and the rules of the event. The fun part of a hackathon is that nobody gets left behind - everyone will be on the same page following an in-depth tutorial from the organisers. But now, it’s time to get to work! This is the main part of the event, the chosen teams will now gather - dedicating roles, exchanging knowledge and using their creativity to solve the problem at hand. When working within a strict competitive time-frame, the organisers will allocate breaks and check-ins with each team. 


5. Presentations

You’ve worked hard with your team to produce a brand new solution, matching the brief and within the time-frame - now it’s time to present! The presentation phase of the event is a fun chance to see what other teams have produced. It’s also a great opportunity to market your new solution to the judges (often the organisers) of the event. Go into detail about the technology used, how complex it was and how efficient it will be for your solution. Let the judges know how your solution works, how it fits the brief and the benefits of being able to use it.


6. Awards ceremony

All the teams have given their presentation, but now the best team must win! Here the judges will give a quick overview on all the solutions and ultimately come together to decide a winning team. 



So, that’s a short overview of how a Hackathon works! The creativity and problem solving skills within the technology industry are more important than ever, with businesses globally reaching for digital transformation over the next few years. Tech leaders are looking for new ways to enhance their skills and challenges their teams with different and exciting tasks. 

Here at Blacklight Software, we recognise the excitement and skills needed to produce effective technology solutions - that’s why we have created our own hackathon event ‘Hackathon For Housing’. Working closely with housing associations across the UK, we want to use our knowledge and expertise to benefit those. Our first event will be with Stonewater, taking place on Friday 11th December we will be working together to solve housing related problems! Be sure to follow us on social media for all updates on Hacking For Housing!

If you’re interested in taking part in a future Hackathon event, get in touch with our team! As digital transformation experts, we can assist you in your journey. Email us at or call us directly on +44 1924 640350.

Blacklight Software

Making Digital Transformation Happen