Five Types of People You Meet At a Hackathon

Florida Polytechnic University recently hosted its first student-led hackathon, which brought about 130 students from seven schools together. Their goal: spend 24 hours developing apps and software that tackle life’s most common problems.

Some of the winners from the Florida Poly hackathon included an app to make life easier for people living with mental illness and an online tool to improve team collaboration. While the recognition is nice, most students will tell you that’s not why they attend. It’s more about the fun atmosphere and the chance to hang out with students who have similar interests, explains Jessie Pullaro, one of the Florida Poly event organizers. Because the hackathon draws students from all over the area, it’s a great opportunity to meet new people. That being said, hackathon veterans know certain personalities will always show up at these events.

Jessie and his friend, Frank Cales, share five types of people who show up at every hackathon.

The Sleeper

This hacker packs her laptop in a pillow case. Most hackathons last no less than 24 hours, with others extending up to 72 hours. So it’s understandable if people slip away through the night to catch a few Zs. The Sleeper, though, scopes out hier siesta spot the second she walks in the door. By 10 pm, she’s zonked out for the next five hours.

The Cheerleader

You know when the Cheerleader shows up because he announces it to the room with all the subtlety of a circus ringleader. The cheerleader spends most of the event dancing around the room, pumping people up and having loud conversations.  They usually finish, but rarely win.

The Prize Hog

How do you know she’s just here for the prizes? She’ll straight up tell you, “I’m just here for the prizes.” To the Prize Hog’s credit, she works hard the whole time and really puts in the effort. Unfortunately, most of the time the prize hog’s apps are really bizarre with little chance of winning.

The Free Stuff Guy

Even the most zealous apostle of hacking cannot last a 24-hour hackathon without something to boost their stamina. That’s why the tables are loaded with free energy drinks and food, and hackers can look forward to snagging free T-shirts and other swag at the finish line.  Most participants consider the free stuff part of the experience, but for this guy it is the experience. Look for him hovering around the food table shotgunning Red Bulls.

The Overachiever
This hacker isn’t playing around. She knows it’s time to start because the half dozen smart watches she won at previous hackathons tell her so. There’s no time for sleep or eating. Overachievers tend to band together and sweep all the categories.

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