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The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Blockchain Hackathons (2023)

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Blockchain Hackathons (2023)

Written by Turja

Brady Werkheiser headshot

Reviewed by Brady Werkheiser

Published on 2022-08-035 min read

Whether you’re a developer, designer, project manager or simply a curious mind - the progress from the initial discovery of Web3 to the constant learning can feel endless. Once you start learning about web3, there are always so many exciting paths for you to discover next. When it comes to the ultimate crash course for beginners that are new to web3, there’s no better place than a hackathon.

A web3 hackathon puts you up to the challenge of creating a minimum viable product (MVP) centered on a specific topic leveraging blockchain protocols, decentralized applications (dApps) or tools created by web3 companies.

During a hackathon you’ll be given various resources, incentives and access to industry-leading mentors to build with confidence. Whether its in-person or virtual, you will leave with a deeper and broader understanding of the blockchain industry.

Besides making use of a web3 hackathon starter kit, this article will explain 9 tips for making the most of your first experience!

What are the benefits of web3 hackathons for beginners?

There’s no better way to onboard into web3 than coming up with web3 hackathon idea, building a project, and learning from first-hand experience.

Following the similarities of a typical hackathon consisting of the unlimited food, non-stop coding, and of course, a chaotic good environment - these hackathons tie in all that we love about a hackathon with a focus on building in web3.

Web3 hackathons provide all the tools and resources to build fun and innovative projects no matter the participant's background. Because everyone is still learning, hackathons are the perfect opportunity to answer all your questions while associating with ambitious, talented builders.

An event jam-packed with workshops, talks and mentorship cultivating the perfect environment to unlock your curiosities and simply learn by doing.

Not convinced yet? Here are specific benefits you’ll be able to receive:

  • Solve a solution to a system blockchain problem

  • New relationships and opportunities to make friends

  • Receive mentorship from thought leaders and senior devs

  • Unlimited food and merch

  • Explore job opportunities

What web3 hackathons are beginner-friendly?

All of the best web3 hackathons are beginner-friendly. Blockchain hackathons are designed to be open and inclusive to everyone interested in learning more about crypto and web3. To achieve our collective mission to bring a billion people on-chain, it requires builders and creators from all backgrounds to launch innovative, and transformative decentralized applications.

Fortunately, this is exactly what these web3 hackathons aim to solve. Hackathons create an environment for you to participate with an open mind and be willing to absorb knowledge through conversations, tutorials and, building with like-minded people.

Here are a few hackathons and organizations to keep an eye out for:

  • ETHGlobal Hackathons

  • Gitcoin Hackathons

  • Polygon BUIDL IT

  • Ripple CBDC

  • Activate

9 Tips for Beginners Attending Their First Web3 Hackathon

Attending your first web3 hackathon can feel intimidating because you are going out of your comfort zone to meet new people, build with new technology, and compete against really smart people. To assuage any concerns, here are nine helpful tips to remember before joining a blockchain hackathon for the first time:

  1. Don't be nervous - web3 is a community-first place

  2. Work with hackathon organizers to find your team

  3. Be willing to help in any way possible

  4. Be curious and ask as many thoughtful questions as possible

  5. Be flexible to changes and challenges

  6. Hacking should only be done at the hackathon

  7. Try to Innovate and be unique with your ideas

  8. Document your lessons and milestones

  9. Enjoy the process and have fun

Hackathons are about gaining experience and meeting people in the industry. Being helpful, asking questions, and recording milestones will help you make connections and be able to add web3 hackathon experience to your resume.

Because hackathons typically offer a range of events including lectures, networking events, and down time, leverage all of these activities to make friends, learn something new, and recharge in between hacking sessions.

How can beginners prepare for blockchain hackathons?

Preparing for blockchain hackathons is easy: establish goals, create or find a team, do your research, brainstorm ideas, and have fun!

A hackathon is an excellent environment for beginners to be introduced to coding and designing for web3, but preparing ahead of time will help amplify your confidence and success tackling something for the first time.

Here are five rules that’ll help you prepare:

1. Establish Goals

Similar to any competition, a hackathon will require you to understand what you want to achieve. This means that you’ll need to narrow down the skills you’re looking to gain, the technology you’re interested in using, or the type of project you're looking to build.

With clear goals, you can make the most efficient use of time at an event that is fast-paced.

2. Create or Find a Team

For a beginner, finding a squad to tackle your first hackathon will be the best option compared to building alone! Each member will be able to contribute toward the project making the entire process more enjoyable.

It’s best to create or find a team before the hackathon starts to give your team extra time to collaborate and bond before the event starts.

To find a team, jump in Discord channels that are operated by the hackathon organizers, event sponsors, or ecosystem projects that are offering a bounty. If you know your goals, it will help you find a team with shared interests.

3. Research as Much as Possible

Now that you’ve set your goals and created a team, it’s time for you to dive into the details of the hackathon. This would include learning about the sponsors, tracks, rules, bounties, and most importantly, narrow down the web3 technology stack you’ll be using so that you can get extra practice familiarizing yourself ahead of time.

4. Brainstorm Ideas

Going into a hackathon without an idea will only leave the entire team scrambling to build something. Take time to plan potential project ideas based on your research. To come up with ideas, leverage your network of mentors, previous hackathon projects, YouTube tutorials, accelerators, incubator projects, and Alchemy resources.

5. Have Fun

Though hackathons are full sprint competitions, they are still meant to be fun! From steps 1 - 4, it’s important to enjoy the process of meeting, collaborating, and building with like-minded individuals exploring web3. Enter the hackathon with an open mind and be excited to participate.

Should I join a blockchain hackathon?

Yes, you should join a web3 hackathon if you are curious to learn about blockchain development, interested to build and test new ideas, and are considering a career in web3, or looking to become a developer.

There’s no better place to ask questions and understand blockchain fundamentals than a hackathon where everyone is eager to help.

There are many individuals in a similar position who are navigating similar questions. You’ll find curious minds such as yourself instantly and feel empowered to build!

Web3 Hackathon FAQs

Here are some common questions about web3 hackathons.

Are web3 hackathons difficult?

No! Web3 hackathons are designed to encourage everyone with any background to learn and build in web3. There’s no pressure to be an expert. The only requirement is to be curious, respectful, and to have fun!

Can anyone join a web3 hackathon?

Yes! Anyone can join a web3 hackathon and this includes people technical and non-technical backgrounds. Great hackathon projects can benefit from a diverse team of builders, designers, marketers, and managers.

If I don't have a team, can I still participate?

Yes! Teams are not required, but rather encouraged for beginners to collaborate and learn from one another. Everyone is encouraged to find a team with the support of the organizers, but not having a team does not exclude anyone from participating in a blockchain hackathon.

Which programming language is used in a web3 hackathon?

There are many types web3 programming languages that can be used in a web3 hackathon including Solidity, Vyper, Huff, Rust, Move, and more. Similar to a typical hackathon, both frontend and backend languages are beneficial to submit a winning web3 hackathon project.

What are the skills required for a web3 hackathon?

Curiosity and willingness to learn are the two primary skills required for a web3 hackathon. Web3 hackathons will require you to think creatively from start to finish, so be receptive to challenges and constructive feedback.

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