University Student

Engage with companies at hackathons

If you’re coming to a hackathon, we’re pretty sure it’s to revel in a double all-nighter where you can play with code, immerse yourself in tech, and indulge your wildest ideas. When you add to the mix like-minded peers, pizza, and gadgets galore, we imagine that meeting us – recruiters – is not top of mind. We get it.

We know you’re here for a lot of reasons. Hackathons are about creativity, experimentation and collaboration. We understand that. In fact, we love that! We sponsor these weekends because we love to support the spirit of hackathons. We also enjoy being a part of these events in person, in action, so we usually make time to attend.

So, at your next creative coding marathon, if you want to make us a part of your experience, here are four quick tips on how to leverage our presence:

1. Try our tech

Whether you’re borrowing our hardware, building on one of our platforms, or using our services for your backend, a hackathon is great chance to take a company’s technology for a test drive and decide if it’s the right stuff for your future projects.  Not only is this a good chance to sample new technology, but companies will often provide representatives during hackathons who can give you expert insight in-person on how to best leverage these tools.

“The support for the platform is right there,” explains Dan Stepanov, self-proclaimed hackathon junkie, Penn State student, and Partner at HackMatch.com.  “You’re able to make a side by side comparison of many platforms on the spot.”

Furthermore, many companies have programs, like DreamSpark, that will offer free or greatly discounted software and services, to student hackers.

2. Meet our people

We love to send hackers from our company to represent us at hackathons.  In addition to getting direct access to the experts on how to make the most of use our tools and debug a variety of other issues, you can also use them as a sounding board:

“Bounce your ideas off of tech evangelists,” Stepanov recommends, “it’s insanely helpful to get experienced perspective on your ideas.”  This is also a great chance to find out more about their company culture, and what life as a hacker is like after graduating.  How do they keep hacking away at new and interesting problems?  Maybe they have a company space like The Microsoft Garage that helps them keep innovation alive.

3. Find a job

Along with the technical folks who travel to hackathons, you’ve probably noticed some recruiters hanging around. We love to see students in maker mode, building projects they’re passionate about, trying new platforms and learning from this experience. But we aren’t just here for the ambiance and the free food — we’d love to meet you! Whether it’s to take a little more time to dive into your questions about our company or what we’re hiring for in a relaxed environment, or to review your resume and give our advice, we welcome you to come say hi! Please don’t feel like you need to be currently job searching to engage — we also love mentoring students on the hiring process and telling knock-knock jokes.

4. Get swag. 

So, about that free pen at our booth— take one! Everyone loves free stuff and hackathons are a veritable smorgasbord of swag. We order it with you in mind and we hope you will enjoy it, wear it, and of course, promote our brand in the process. Who knows? Maybe you’ll use it to sketch out the design for your next brilliant idea.

So when you run across a Microsoftie at your next hackathon, we hope you’ll say hi. We’d love to meet the maker of the next big thing, and give you a pen while we’re at it.