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over 3 years ago

Did you know?! Fun Hack Fact Friday tips from your fellow devs

Did you know?!

These impressive devs took home prizes in the first series of Facebook Hackathon: AI, and wanted to share some of their insights to help you along the way:

Luis: Think of approaching a hackathon as if you were founding a startup - of course within the limitations of the rule book. The idea you’re developing needs to be technically viable, while having strong potential to become a real-world product with more development. Secondly, the documentation and video/screengrabs you provide for your project are very important to supplement its Code and functionality. We’ve seen some awesome ideas, code and functional prototypes in other hackathons that lack strong submissions or pitches, mostly due to poorly showcasing their capabilities. This is why a designer/editor teammate, often with some video production skills, is very nice to have. Whenever we have in-person hackathons that require presentations again, this will take even more importance, as having one or two teammates that are great at pitching the best features of your solution can really contribute to your chances of winning. 

Victor: Try not to lean too much on mockups. They may look great but if your project isn’t functional first, then your chances of winning are going to be very low. It’s much better that you do something small but functional than to gather big amounts of documentation and try to do everything without having a viable solution at its core. Judges tend to respect simple ideas that were executed in a compelling way within the submission period, and solve important problems. Every time my team has won a hackathon, the solution has worked as intended and is functional.


Taking part in the Facebook Online Hackathon’s AI track was such an exciting experience for our team, since it gave us the chance to compete with participants from all over the world. Never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined winning second place in the hackathon. Our solution aimed to help tackle challenges relating to the current COVID-19 pandemic. I had experience researching chest X-ray images, and my other teammate, Sagar, is an experienced web developer. Therefore, a web-app for COVID-19 chest X-ray diagnosis was the perfect choice for our team of two. We went ‘all out’ and tried our best to create a functional prototype for our submission. The prototype came out better than we expected and the final winning result was beyond what we could have imagined. My top tips would be to keep calm, even when you have to make what feels like major changes (eg. team members dropping out). These challenges will test your resilience and adaptability, which is a great learning curve!) I’d also recommending getting to know each of your team member's skills as deeply as possible, so you can find a problem and solution that leverages everyone’s strengths.  It’s also really important to make a compelling pitch video, with professional diagrams, a functioning demo and background music. Most importantly, be sure to read all of the requirements on the hackathon information pages to keep your submission relevant and meeting all the guidelines. Happy coding, y’all!

Do you have a tip you’d like to share with your fellow devs?  Be sure to share it in the Hackathon Facebook Group, we know they’ll appreciate it!