Hackathon team working together

Aegon Hackathon: top tips for rocking the innovation marathon

Here's a few pro tips for first-timers attending the Aegon Hackathon.

As the name suggests, a hackathon is a software coding (hack) event that tests the participants' ability to produce a presentable prototype in a relatively short period of time. Often, such events last a weekend. The Aegon Hackathon ups the ante by limiting the period to 24 hours to create a solution that meets the Wealth + Health challenge.

But don't be fooled. This isn't a sprint; it's a real marathon. Similar to the long-distance race, participants of a hackathon need to draw up a strategy ahead of the starting line, stick to it during the 'race', and above all, they need to pace themselves.

Here are our top-10 tips to rock the hackathon

1) Get enough sleep in the days before. 

2) Take frequent, short breaks during the event. Stand up, walk around and stretch. Spending hours on end crouched over your laptop isn't healthy.

3) Bring comfortable clothing, together with a cushion and earplugs for those precious moments when you can snatch a power nap. A towel, toothpaste and brush will allow you to freshen-up amid the innovation mayhem. 

4) Share tasks between the team. If you don't know how to do something, ask your colleagues. It's a group effort!

5) Hydration is just as vital for creating a Wealth & Health solution for hours at your computer as running a marathon. Coffee and energy drinks may have a limited role to play, but water really is the way to go. Bring your own bottle and keep it refilled.

6) Ditto in relation to food. Food, snacks and refreshments are available at the venue.

7) Think of the tools of your trade before entering the event venue. Is the battery of your laptop charged? Do you have the power pack, the right power adapter and mouse?

8) Hackathons are a great way to promote yourself, so don't forget to showcase your personal brand on social media (#AegonHackathon). 

9) You and your team have no doubt spent hours planning a strategy for the event. Take the time to draw up your own check list. Do you have all the previous points covered? Maybe you have other unique needs: asthma inhaler or other medication. Make your list. Check it and check it twice. 

10) The Aegon Hackathon will at times be high pressure. But when you are properly prepared the experience will be incredibly rewarding and a great buzz. Who knows, you may scoop one of the prizes at the end of the marathon.

Aegon Hackathon is an initiative of Aegon and Aegon's Americas business Transamerica. The co-sponsors of the event are Microsoft, AWS, Tata Consultancy Services and Deloitte.