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Who am I? 👨‍💻

I’m Rob Rose, a recent CS graduate of UMBC (go Retrievers!) and a long time attendee of hackathons. In my first couple years of undergrad, I participated in nearly a dozen in-person hackathons but found the stress required to participate was too much, even if I could consistently win prizes. So I switched to doing online hackathons only. But I have a full time job now so I don’t really have time to participate, so I decided to share the hackathons I find with everyone else!

So if you want a weekly list of online hackathons, go ahead and subscribe below, it’s free! You can also browse previous online hackathon lists if you haven’t made up your mind yet and want a taste of what’s to come.

Why online? 🕸

From my experience at competing in and winning both online and in-person hackathons, I’ve concluded that online hackathons are vastly superior to in-person hackathons. This is for several reasons: more time to work, lower barrier to entry and better prizes, each of which I’ll detail below.

Additionally, while COVID-19 has wrecked many in-person events, online hackathons are now stronger than ever! While many in-person events have moved online, there has also been an increase in the number of new online events as well.

More Time to Work 🗓

I find the biggest benefit to online hackathons is that most of them allow for several weeks for individuals and teams to develop entries. In my observations, this leads to better projects, which is a benefit for both participants and organizers. It also avoids some of the health downfalls of traditional 24-48 hour hackathons.

Because I feel this is such a valuable asset to online hackathons, every online hackathon I send out is at least two weeks long, so feel free to sign up today.

Lower Barrier to Entry 🛡

As someone who has lived in the US my whole life, I used to underestimate this one, but online hackathons tend to have a lower barrier to entry than in-person hackathons. Since online hackathons don’t require travel, there’s less upfront cost to participants, meaning people from all across the world and from different backgrounds can compete. Additionally, no visa requirements means people from almost every country can compete. More people can mean greater competition, but it also means greater opportunities for collaboration.

To keep the list of online hackathons high quality, I only post public and free online hackathons on the weekly list. It’s possible some of the hackathons I post may restrict certain entrants for legal reasons or demographic reasons, but none of them require you to be an employee or student anywhere.

Online interactions are also less prone to implicit bias than in-person interactions, which can allow people from backgrounds underrepresented in traditional hackathons and hackerspaces to compete and win. If you know any one who might enjoy an online-only hackathon experience, especially from an underrepresented group in hackathons, send them this substack with its list of online hackathons! I’m always interested in expanding my circle outside of the traditional techosphere!

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Better Prizes 🤑

People get different things out of hackathons: experience, connections, entertainment, etc. But one thing that’s on everyone’s minds is of course, the prizes. And I’ve found that online hackathons tend to have a better selection of prizes, instead of the mishmash of prizes and swag you’ll get at in-person hackathons, most online hackathons provide cash or cash-equivalent prizes.

To keep the quality of the online hackathon list good, I only list online hackathons with at least $1,000 worth of prizes, and at least three opportunities to win. So sign up today and get my list of online hackathons in your inbox every week!

Missing a Hackathon?

I try my best to get every online hackathon that meets the following criteria onto the online hackathon list.

  • Free

  • Open to the general public

  • At least two weeks long.

  • At least $1,000 worth of prizes.

  • At least three opportunities to win.

If I miss one for any reason, email rob at onlinehackathons dot com and I’ll make sure to correct it in the next issue.