Hard and Soft Skills: What it means and how important are they in a hackathon?

Hard and Soft Skills: What it means and how important are they in a hackathon?

Some terms are very recurrent in the hackathons ecosystem, “skill” is one of them. It’s usually following the word “hard” or “soft”. 

Hard skills: the “hard” mode of video games is always the one you have to spend a little bit more of time, right? That’s a perfect analogy! Hard skills are technical skills that take time to conquer.

In a nutshell, these are skills you can learn by studying or experiencing day by day in your workplace. Basically, anything that can generate some kind of diploma or certificate.

Examples of hard skills that can be found in a hackathon are mastering some programming languages; coding skills; experience with specific tools; UX design; notion of artificial intelligence (AI) and analytical thinking.

Soft skills: Compared to the “hard ones”, they are more abstract, subjective and personal. Soft skills have to do with how each one relates to and interacts with the world and with other people. Also known as interpersonal skills.

There are those who believe that these can also be learned in courses/classrooms, on the other side we have those who hold the idea that soft skills are a matter of personality or, at best, developed through lifelong experiences.

Examples of soft skills that can be found in a hackathon are empathy; communication; leadership; curiosity; teamwork and conflict management.

How do these two worlds meet in a hackathon?

Both skill formats can be developed during a hackathon. Even though hard skills are the starting point for being in an environment of innovation and technology, there is always something to learn from so many working hours and networking.

The same goes for soft skills, some of which are stronger in certain people and easily recognizable, such as the infamous “leadership spirit”, but others are generated through acquaintanceship and immersion in the ecosystem.

During a hackathon, the key to exploring skills in the best way is knowing how to identify which role each person would do best within the assigned theme. For example, there is always someone who is more communicative and/or eloquent and who can use their talent to make the presentation more attractive.

Just be careful, don’t let the certainty of a skill blind you! Participating in a hackathon requires that the ego be set aside and the mind open. We already repeated it here a few times, but it never hurts to say again: you will never get out of hand hackathon!

Even if you don’t get a place on the podium, the knowledge you absorb during an event like that will stick to you by osmosis. For real!

A hackathon is a safe environment for experimenting with new technologies, learn tools, and enhancing your communication, collaboration, leadership, presentation, and a ton of other skills. All very relevant to both professional and personal life.

Keep in mind: You don’t have to be a computer, programming, or coding master to attend a hackathon. The more diversity in capabilities, the better! What matters is your self-challenge.

Are you up to it? So keep an eye on our social networks, subscribe to our newsletter and come test your skills with us!


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