Why do I have to stay up in a Hackathon?

Today a Hackathon invitation email pops up in my email box. I get excited until I saw the slogan in the Hackathon web – “24 hours unforgettable experience”. This is a buss killer. Ok, I know that almost all hackathon nowadays ask you to stay up the whole night and keep coding all the time. But this is just not a sustainable way in my view.

Last month I attended a hackathon organized by Celonis. There are 6 teams in total, 3 of them are formed by JADS PDENG trainees. When it comes to 11pm that day, almost coincidently, all of us, the JADS teams went back home to sleep, while the other 3 teams remained there. Although personally, I think one of the JADS team did a really good job in their task, they failed, along with the other 2 JADS team, who went back to sleep during the hackathon.

Well, to be honest, it is fair enough to put more weight on the team who put more effort into the hackathon (not going back to sleep) when considering the winner. But, I mean, is this whole “stay up the whole night” hackathon culture really necessary?

When I participated in the Data Challenge Week organized by JADS (which is also one of the interview processes for its program.) I was so glad that they have a no-work-at-night policy. So at 8pm, all the code will be collected and submitted to the server, and we can continue to work the next day morning. This is just so amazing that wipes away all my worries for attending this challenge.

There are a lot of debates on that it is time for us to rethink the whole hackathon culture. For a daily coding life, We generally have a great working table, with a proper widescreen monitor as well as a proper comfortable chair. While during the hackathon, most of the time, the working condition is horrible.


As an employee in TUE, we are asked to attend the workshop on how to sit properly in front of a computer. but why all the concerns can be disregarded when it comes to the hackathon? As a programmer, our health issue is already riskier than many other careers. Many of us have back pain issue or neck pain issue. I absolutely do not encourage sitting in front of a laptop for a long time, not to mention stay overnight!

So, here is my opinion, stay overnight is definitely not a sustainable way of doing things. Health so far is my top concern.

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