What is a Hackathon?

A brief introduction to the World on Hackathons!

Hackathons are an incredible way to bring your community together to learn new skills, build amazing projects, and share ideas. A hackathon is best described as an “invention marathon”. Anyone who has an interest in technology attends a hackathon to learn, build & share their creations over the course of a weekend in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. You don’t have to be a programmer and you certainly don’t have to be majoring in Computer Science!

MLH Presents: What is a hackathon?

If you're familiar with in-person hackathons and are curious about how the fundamentals translate to the digital space, we've outlined some of the key differences and our recommendations below:





Checkin using an online form

In-person check-in process

Opening Ceremony

Pre-recorded, watched on a live stream, viewable anytime

Live presentation, seen once


Live-streamed, viewable anytime

Live presentation, seen once

Meals, Snacks, and Drinks

Hackers provide

Organizers provide


Online multiplayer games, trivia tournaments, and more

Cup stacking, trivia, video game tournaments


Shipped to hackers after the event

Hackers collect swag bag at check-in

Hacker Interactions

Via Discord or Slack across all attendees

Via Discord or Slack, or In-person with hackers nearby

Sponsor interactions

Hackers join office hours dedicated for the sponsor

Hackers approach sponsors at their tables


Pre-recorded demos submitted on Devpost, available to view after submissions

Live demos

Closing Ceremony

Streamed pre-recorded videos by organizers, viewable during and after the event

Presented live by organizers, with sponsors on stage

Edit on GitHub