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Here’s Why Hackathons Are A Great Way To Identify Machine Learning Talent

Here’s Why Hackathons Are A Great Way To Identify Machine Learning Talent

Hackathons and hiring go hand-in-hand, especially for talent-starved mid-sized to smaller companies. These organisations can often be seen using hackathons to tap into a wider talent base. While we have already analyzed the value of a hackathon from a participant’s perspective who walks away with programming experience, cash prizes and a finished project with heavy backend work, sponsors and investors too can leverage it as a recruiting tool.

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Hackathons do play an important role in the recruitment process. They are usually an effective way to build trust and likeability among the developer base. Besides getting the IT community at a single venue, hackathons present an excellent opportunity to meet young, (often under the age of 26) talent who turn up to improve their skills.

According to a report by HackerEarth, hackathons have been surging in popularity and are becoming a great tool for idea generation. The report indicated that India grabbed the second spot in conducting hackathons, after the US, which hosted a total of 379 hackathon events. Indian cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Hyderabad were among the top 10 popular cities around the world to host the maximum number of hackathons.

When it comes to hiring machine learning talent, we have all heard how Kaggle is the best way to get noticed by top employers.

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In This Article, We Will List Down Why Hackathons Are A Great Way To Identify Machine Learning Talent:

1) Massive Online Free Resources To Learn ML: At a time when there is an explosion of free resources and developers are threading a self-learning path, it can be difficult to evaluate a potential candidate’s proficiency and skill sets. Hackathons provide a platform to developers to showcase their newly-acquired job-ready skill sets in a competitive environment.

2) Best Way To Beat HR And Employee Referral Filter: Let’s face it — most of the current crop of machine learning talent is self-taught. And at a time when the human resources have a strict standard for judging resumes (masters specialisation, extensive work experience, real-life projects) getting a CV screened for a top company may seem like a daunting task. During hackathons, product managers get an excellent opportunity to mingle with the developer community and snag the best talent, or perhaps put them on a waitlist.

3) Masters Candidates Are Hard To Come By: It is a common refrain in data science interviews that a Master’s degree is a prerequisite. But in India, where machine learning is a relatively new area, candidates with an MS background are hard to find. The talent pipeline is usually plugged with self-taught candidates who have interesting ML projects to boasts about. Self-taught candidates who have issues with object-oriented programming or may not understand how an algorithm scale.

4) Best Way To Use Company’s APIs And SDK: Hackathons are the best way to drive API adoption — which is one of the top six reasons to conduct hackathons, says a report. Today, around 80% of the Fortune 500 companies conduct hackathons as a way to tap into ML talent. API adoption can help a company in several ways. The Hackerearth blog indicates that even big tech firm like Google celebrated its 10th anniversary with an API hackathon to drive adoption of Google Maps to meet developers who are building the map of today.

5) Relationship Building With Employees: Internal hackathons are also a good way for internal recruiting and benchmarking employees for specific skill set. Most of the times, teams work in silos and internal hackathons provide an excellent way to promote current employees and find talent internally.


At a time when machine learning talent is hard to come by, hackathons provide an engaging way of harvesting prospective employee database, boost employer brand and present a great opportunity to meet developers under one roof. In fact, according to news reports, tech giants like Google and PayPal are known for using hackathons to find fresh tech talent along with older recruiting techniques such as campus hiring. Companies of all sizes today find experienced professionals highly priced and hackathons provide an excellent window of opportunity to young professionals to showcase their talent to big tech companies.

For hosting and participating in great Machine Learning Hackathons, visit

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