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5 Hackathon Roles for Non-Coders

If you want to participate in a hackathon but are worried that you do not have the necessary “tech” skills, here’s some good news: you don’t have to be a programmer or coder to participate. A hackathon team comprising mainly developers and programmers may not be the perfect recipe for success.

Coders and non-coders play crucial roles in a hackathon team, and that teamwork is key to the team’s success. Keep reading to learn what roles non-coders can hold in a hackathon team.

1. Project Manager

​​​​A hackathon is a fast-paced event with many activities simultaneously under tight timeframes. As such, an individual who oversees a team’s general state of affairs at a time like this is crucial, and that’s what a project manager does. A project manager is responsible for managing the team, ensuring that every member understands the project, and keeping the team focused on their tasks to achieve a successful result.

As a project manager, you will lead the team, oversee each phase of the project development process, and ensure each member delivers assigned tasks. Additionally, every project manager should have these hard and soft skills to execute the role competently.

These skills include excellent communication, accountability, problem-solving, decisiveness, strategic thinking, leadership, and delegation. Finally, you must be able to monitor project progress, identify shortcomings, and set deadlines while ensuring that each phase is completed within the set timeframe.

2. UX Designer

A UX designer is responsible for processing abstract ideas and modifying them to improve the user experience. Having a designer on the team helps bring a different perspective on actualizing the project. As a designer, you will typically handle designing, branding, and creating the pitch video for the hackathon event.

However, your role involves more than blending colors and different shades. The product’s aesthetics, positioning of each functionality and menu on the screen, and how smoothly the user can flow from action to action are premised on the designer’s expertise. Hence, you must have a great eye for aesthetics.

In addition, to get started as a UX designer, you should research the product and the problem it’s supposed to solve before creating a rough sketch of what the product’s interface should look like. Ultimately, your job is to ensure that the end users have an enjoyable experience using the product.

3. Technical Writer

Things can get confusing during a hackathon. Hence, having a great writer on board will go a long way to simplify the development process and help the audience understand the main purpose and value of the product. Through the hackathon process, the team will need an expert writer who can make the product easy to understand by communicating the essential features.

As a writer on a hackathon team, you will be responsible for writing convincing pitches and the interface text alongside the necessary instructions. Your major goal is selling your team and its product, and you can achieve this by creating storylines and catchy texts that capture the problem your product intends to address, and the process involved in implementing the product.

Furthermore, you will likely work with a lot of technical information, providing a detailed explanation of the development process, instructional texts on complex processes, and how-to manuals. These writings guarantee that every area of the finished product is understandable to the audience.

4. Researcher

Researchers play a vital role in almost every industry. If you enjoy gathering data, conducting surveys and experiments, and implementing findings, this role might be for you. At the initiation and planning stage of a hackathon, the researcher is saddled with the responsibility of researching areas relevant to the team’s project.

As a researcher, you must conduct an in-depth analysis of the subject through surveys and interviews. To this end, your research findings should answer questions such as: Why is there a need for this product? Who are the major beneficiaries of this product? What problem does this product solve? What action steps are involved in developing the product?

While the team is focused on the development process, the researcher works on gathering evidence-based knowledge on each development stage, forming hypotheses, and presenting the findings to the team. Well-structured research can also be useful in generating new ideas and innovative concepts and obtaining vital information.

The skills you need as a researcher include critical thinking, analytical skills, information dissemination, objectivity, and other transferable skills. You must also have a keen eye for details and be able to communicate your findings swiftly and efficiently.

5. Presenter

​​​​​​The pitching session at a hackathon is more or less the determining session. The quality of a team’s pitch presentation demonstrates how prepared the team is, the level of effort invested in the project, and how valuable the project is. Consequently, all teams desire a presenter who is capable of presenting their work effectively and helping the judges through the presentation.

For a successful presentation, the presenter must be well-prepared and fully understand the project and its development process. Knowing where to find beautiful presentation templates to deliver top-notch presentation visuals is also essential. Furthermore, the presenter must make the pitch understandable, clearly describe what was built, and give a clear and accurate explanation of how the product works.

The aim is to make the presentation as impactful as possible and leave a lasting impression on everyone. As a presenter, you must maintain a confident stance while excitedly sharing how the project proffers a solution to an existing problem. Rehearsals will be very helpful in nailing this task. Most importantly, if you cannot sell or convince the audience of your product’s value, the product might not record tremendous success, no matter how great it is.

Start Looking for a Hackathon Role

If you think you do not have the technical skills to participate in a hackathon, here’s your cue to think again. Successful hackathon teams comprise programmers, coders, and other professionals. Whether you’re a designer, writer, or in other creative niches, your skills are useful, and there are several roles you can fill at a hackathon.


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