What is a Codeathon and Why Should You Run One?

A codeathon can be a great way to find the perfect coders for your business. Here’s what you need to know to run your own.


What on earth is a Code-a-thon?! How is it different from a Hackathon?

Well, I don’t know how to code and I thought hacking was illegal…

Don’t worry. It’s not that kind of hacking!

Codeathons and hackathons are actually the same thing. They’re synonyms for each other.

Even better, anyone can run a codeathon. Yes, anyone! Even if you hate computers, you lose your phone constantly, and you think Google’s the new Skynet.

You can run your own hackathon, and you should for many reasons.

Continue reading to learn what a codeathon is and why you should run one.

All Brains and Hands On Deck

A Codeathon (or Hackathon) is an event for coders and all types of professionals to work collaboratively on software development. Simple as that! The results usually end up being websites, apps, or robotics that fit a specific need.

If you’ve ever invited coder friends over to stay up all night working on a project, you’ve technically organized your own codeathon before. Anyone can host a codeathon–even someone who’s never coded in their life.

Most codathons have a theme or defined purpose. Participants are divided into small teams and are given a deadline. The deadline is usually at least 24 hours away, hence the nod to “marathon” in the name.

Each team must then come up with technology that meets the theme, design it, and code it to completion before time is up. There’s typically lots of caffeine and very little sleeping involved to make all this happen.

As of writing this, there are currently hundreds of independent organizations dedicated to introducing lamen to the world of coding through public codathons. Private companies will invite their employees to a codeathon with the intention of rewarding the team with the best project, or even using the best project to improve business.

Run your own codathon if you’re dying for a solution to a seemingly impossible coding problem. Or, if you just want to hang out all night with like-minded creatives.

Builds Team Unity

There’s something special about losing sleep with strangers. Maybe that’s why staying out drinking is such a popular pass time. Maybe that’s why hundreds of people are willing to camp outside of venues for their favorite artist.

Although computer programming may not be everyone’s first idea for a great time, there’s something to be said for working through the night with peers to meet a common goal.

Most gamers and coders will tell you, staying glued to your screen until the sun comes up isn’t all that hard. In fact, most students with an impending deadline have done this on accident. But having people next to you who understand your vision and can help keep you motivated is a whole other experience.

Bring some friends of yours to a hackathon near you, and see if you don’t become closer because of it.

Get More Coding Done

It often takes several million lines of code to make one program or operating system. Keep in mind, the number of lines hardly matter if the program is designed poorly.

Anyone who’s been to a hackathon will tell you, figuring out exactly what to code takes the longest. Everyone has to agree on the purpose of the program, how it will work, and what it will look like.

But once your team decides what to code, it’s just a matter of downing that Redbull and typing it all out. Many hands work better than one, in this case. Your team is able to divide up the workload and flesh out all aspects of the program at the same time.

The Facebook “Like” button exists today because it was first demoed at an internal hackathon. Who knows, maybe the project you’re stuck on just needs several dozen fresh pairs of eyes and hands on it for about 72 hours.

Inspire and Empower

When most people think of coding, they think of an introvert hiding behind a computer by themselves all day. Most people get into coding so they don’t have to interact with other people.

But coding actually takes an enormous amount of creativity. Not many people can come up with an innovative project and code it into reality all in the same day!

The largest benefit of a codeathon, by far, is how empowered and inspired each coder feels after creating something from nothing.

If computer coding was a sport, codeathons would be matches. And the larger the codeathon is, the more it starts to feel like the Olympics.

You should host a codathon if your team is feeling lackluster. When everyone’s looking a little brain dead and morale is low, announce a codeathon and give everyone something to get excited about. Empower your team by letting them showcase their problem solving and coding abilities.

Life’s a Codeathon, Not a Sprint

In a world increasingly dependent on technology, there will always be more coding to be done. Running a codeathon is one way to get massive amounts of brainstorming and coding finished in one day.

Besides, better ideas are made when large groups of diverse people brainstorm together. A codeathon also gets people who normally don’t talk to each other to work together to meet a deadline.

Have you been struggling for months to brainstorm an exciting new project?

Are members of your team having a hard time sharing their good ideas with peers?

Run your own codeathon and watch the magic happen! Setting an exciting, ambitious deadline for your team and staying up late together to meet it will create memories that will last for years.

But first, make sure all your coders are up to snuff with our coding assessment.

Happy coding!

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