How to Organize the Best Student Hackathon

How to Organize the Best Student Hackathon

Recently, Codebooq organized its first hackathon. Even though we’re still not experienced in the art of organizing events, we did pick up some tips along the way that can help you and your company or organization do it yourself.

Why Organize an Event at Your Company or Organization?

Hackathons and workshops are an amazing way to nurture community and unite forward thinkers. If you’re an organization, with the right workshop you can attract like-minded people, generate brilliant ideas, and achieve new objectives. On the other hand, if you work at a company, organizing a workshop, competition, or hackathon will distinguish you from others and demonstrate your commitment to innovation. It will also provide you with a nice talent pool to collaborate with.

Below, you can find a checklist of all the things you need to get in line for your hackathon/workshop or any similar event.

Tip: Start early. A lot of preparation comes to mind when organizing a hackathon. It’s important to start planning early to have enough time to face any setbacks that might come your way.

Hackathon Checklist

  • Theme
  • Space
  • Budget
  • Food
  • Marketing Campaign
  • Team Schedule


Think of a theme that’s relevant to your industry. If you’re a marketing agency working with healthcare companies, you can host an Ideathon focused on creating the best campaign for a pharmaceutical company launching new eye drops. Alternatively, if you are a software development company specializing in banking, organize a hackathon to develop the best m-banking app. Choosing an appropriate theme will attract participants who are already interested in your industry, which is a great addition to the talent pool you’re considering.

Tip: Don’t talk too much about the theme beforehand to avoid giving any headstart.


From food to merch and awards, events cost money. Once you have defined a clear budget, you can work from there. Define clear awards to avoid any confusion among the participants. Space and food also cost, as well as the merch which is always a nice memorabilia for the participants. Even though it might sound intimidating, if you’re smart about it, it won’t cost a lot of money.


If you’re planning to host an in-person hackathon, it’s important to find a suitable space. You’ll need a space that is spacious enough to accommodate all the participants and organized in a way that allows them to sit together in teams. Additionally, make sure there is enough room between different teams so they can’t cheat off of each other. It’s also important to have large tables that can comfortably hold laptops and snacks, plenty of outlets, and fast Wi-Fi.

Tip: Universities and co-working spaces usually have spacious rooms like this available at a reasonable price.


If your workshop lasts longer than just a few hours, it’s a good idea to provide food and snacks for your participants. In our case, we organized a 24-hour hackathon and made sure to offer lunch, dinner, breakfast, and snacks to keep everyone energized throughout the day. We were also lucky enough to secure a sponsorship from Red Bull, and it’s safe to say that the students who participated really enjoyed having energy drinks available.

Tip: A few days before, decide from which restaurants you will place your order and check with the restaurant if they have the capacity to accommodate it.

Marketing Campaign

Once you’ve taken care of the other important details like space and budget, you can begin promoting your event in a friendly and engaging way. This involves announcing the event and encouraging participants to sign up. It’s important to start early so that people have enough time to make their decisions and form teams. During the event, you can go live on social media to highlight the participants and showcase their solutions. After the event, be sure to follow up with the winners and express gratitude towards all the sponsors and participants.

Tip: Encourage team members and participants to engage on social media during and after the hackathon.

Team Schedule

You’re all set with the space, food is on the way, and the merch is already here and ready to go… The only thing remaining is to ensure that the entire event goes smoothly. To achieve that, it’s important to get organized in advance and plan accordingly. In the case of our 24-hour hackathon, we made sure to have at least 2 staff members present at all times, with at least one of them being a developer who could handle any questions or provide assistance. During peak times, there were even more of us, running around and lending a hand to students, engaging in conversations with them, and so on.

Tip: Get your team excited by encouraging them to contribute their ideas about the hackathon and invite their friends and peers to join.

Good Luck!

With all of these steps in place, your event is sure to go as smoothly as ours did. Just make sure to choose a great theme and set a budget. After that, you can work out the details such as the venue, food, and team availability. And, don’t forget to put together an amazing marketing campaign to maximize the benefits of your investment. Remember to prepare well and, above all, have fun!

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