Six tips for the best experience at Tableau’s DataDev Hackathon

Follow these helpful tips while preparing for and submitting a winning project to Tableau’s virtual DataDev Hackathon.

In 2020, most events went virtual, and the DataDev Hackathon was no exception. Our annual hackathon, usually hosted at TC (Tableau Conference), is back and going virtual! Here are six top tips to keep in mind that will help you enjoy the best experience and achieve success. 

1. Pick a project that excites you

You have two months to work on your Hackathon submission. Start your project on April 5 and you’ll have until June 1 to complete it. It’s important to pick an idea that keeps you excited. 

Sometimes, the inspiration doesn’t come right away, and that’s why we have a dedicated DataDev Slack channel to help you brainstorm with other hackers. 

Get inspirational Hackathon ideas from the community on this Tableau Public visualization

Tableau Data Dev Hackathon

2. Organize your time

Two months may seem like a lot of time at first, but you’ll be surprised how quickly it goes by. Once we have your team and decision on the Hackathon project, write down all the steps to help realize your hack and all of the dependencies that need to be accounted for. It is important to do that before coding, so you don’t notice mid-way that everything needs to change because the dependencies couldn’t be met and to avoid any duplication of coding efforts. 

While talking about planning, be sure to schedule dedicated time to work on your Hackathon efforts so you can make consistent progress instead of spending the last weekend drinking ten coffees and energy drinks to complete it. 

For teams, arrange regular catch-ups to check on each members’ progress and any potential blockers. As we are all remote, it might be hard to connect otherwise. You can also create a private Slack channel for your own team on our DataDev Slack workspace.

3. Build an MVP (Minimally Viable Product), not a production-ready project 

We previously talked about organizing your time; it is also important to agree on scope of the project and establish clear, attainable goals. Start your project by focusing on the MVP and getting it working. It’s easy to spend time on extra, polished features or functionalities and forget about the core project. If you have more time, then add more features or work to polish your project.

And don’t forget to be flexible with your idea and listen to the experience of end-users. That’s another advantage to creating a MVP; usually it’s ready early and then you have extra time to iterate based on end-user feedback and experiences. 

4. Work on your submission video

Once ready, submit your project, and include a demo recording with your submission. Be sure to highlight which problem or challenge you are trying to solve for with your project and how it solves that problem. Writing a demo script won’t hurt; ask the team for script feedback and do some slides, if you need visual support. The first demo recording doesn’t need to be the last one.

5. Learn as much as you can

If you are new to the Tableau Developer Platform or already an expert, we all have space to grow and acquire new skills. Take this opportunity during our Hackathon to challenge yourself and learn something new. It could be a new Tableau API—every Thursday in May, we are hosting a workshop dedicated to one of our APIs. Or, it could be a new programming language. Who knows? The possibilities are endless! 

6. Have fun! 

Don’t forget to have fun and add your favorite hack song to our collaborative DataDev Hackathon Playlist. Is it a Hackathon, if we are not eating pizzas? To rectify that, you can win gift cards for food delivery during the workshops and on the Slack channel.

Just remember, you have until June 1 to submit your project and winners will be announced June 4 with prizes going to first, second, and third place. Check out our hack page for more details and to stay in the know about trainings, workshops, and how to score sweet hackathon swag.

Data Dev Hackathon socks

Now that you know the keys to success, and can expect fun throughout the process with the possibility of being rewarded for your efforts, register for the #DataDev Hackathon. Mid-way through, on May 20, we will also hold a DataDev Day—an event for those who like to work and play on the Tableau Developer Platform. Participate in braindates with the Tableau Developer Team or ask any final questions about your Hackathon project.