By on March 24, 2015

How to win Mashape category prizes at Hackathons

Hacker sleeping during a hackathon

Creative Commons image:

There is nothing more exciting than seeing hackers use their creativity in a small amount of time to create an amazing piece of software using APIs from Mashape. This is why we often participate and sponsor hackathons.

Most of the time we sponsor a category prize; where to win, you must use one of the 10,000+ APIs in our marketplace. We strive to find cool prizes you’ll enjoy, such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi starting kits, RC Quadcopters, Android tablets, and more. Since teams usually consist of four members, we always have a prize for each person. Not only can you win the Mashape category, but we also encourage you to compete for other prize categories at an event.

We know you only have a limited number of hours to build your idea, sometimes less than 24h! With that simplicity comes some challenges; mainly, people love our prizes and find Mashape the perfect place to find inspiration for hackathons, so you are competing with many hackers. So what is the secret to winning the Mashape category prize? It’s simple! Build the best app and impress the Mashape judge.

How to impress the Hackathon judge?

  • Build something that fills a specific need people have in today’s world;
  • Create something that may not be that useful, but which pump the cool factor to a maximum;
  • Use the API in an unusual way.

It can be a mix of these or just one item on this list. Mashape has a soft spot for the second type of app; after all, it’s a hackathon and we all want to have fun. There is another secret: the creation part isn’t enough. Your presentation will help you reach the top of the list. No matter if you present only to Mashape or if you’re speaking in front of all judges at the same time, here’s some tips to remember.

Hackathon Presentation Tips

  • Speak loud, and clear;
  • Show us what you built. There’s no need to have a final product. Tell us about features you didn’t have time to complete;
  • Feel free to talk about the technologies you used in the app; plus, be sure you tell us which APIs came from Mashape;
  • If you still have time tell us where you struggled. Also, are you going to continue this project after the hackathon;
  • We know you are tired, and it’s not easy to speak in front of people, but be excited about what you did!

These tricks are good for any hackathon. Mashape prize or not, keep these tips in mind the next time you pitch your latest creation. So now you know how to win, but where to start? The good news is that you can save time by doing some of the following steps before an event:

Pre-Hackathon To-Dos

  1. If you don’t already have a Mashape account, create one now. It’s free;
  2. Search for a specific API or explore our list of APIs to find inspiration;
  3. Test them in the browser (no need to code) to see if it’s what you are looking for;
  4. Read the documentation if needed.

When you arrive at an event you’ll already have some knowledge and a plan of attack. Best of all, with the help of our Open-Source Unirest Library, you’ll save a lot of time as you copy and paste code to use an API.

With this in mind you are way ahead of any other developer at your next hackathon. Don’t forget to say hi to the Mashape members on site, we’ve got lots of cool stickers to handout! See you at the next hackathon! We wish you the best of luck in the competition.

Join the next Mashape sponsored Hackathon