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What’s the role of mentors in a hackathon?
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What’s the role of mentors in a hackathon?

If you have ever participated in a hackathon in your life (or at least read this blog a couple of times) you know that a hackathon is made by much more than beside participants. We’re going to talk about one of those “other” fundamental pieces, the one we called “mentors”.

Do you know how mentoring in hackathons works?

There are those who say that “it is THE key for a team to achieve promising results! After all, it is the mentors who guide the teams to follow the best path, Mr. Miyagi style, thirsty to guide their young grasshoppers.

Want to be a mentor, but don’t know where to start? We’ve put together some important features so you can avoid beginner mistakes. Let’s go:

Understand your role

Hackathon teams are made of people with very different backgrounds. Each with a function, a knowledge, and a history. Sometimes, as they try to solve the challenge, the participants get lost, lose direction and have trouble to trust in themselves.

Your job is to be the light at the end of the tunnel! You are the person with enough experience to give advice that really works. They chose you as a mentor for a reason, so put your knowledge into practice. The teams need someone who knows what they’re doing, someone to guide them.

Be available

This doesn’t mean that you need to be there during the 36 hours of the event! But, don’t get there already thinking about leaving. Whatever your schedule is, always remember to talk to the teams to see if they need something before you say goodbye.

Oh! They don’t have questions? Then you need to create questions! Challenge the team, poke them! After all, you’re there to help hackers, and the best way to help them is to get them to fail in time to fix the mistakes.

Go open-minded and open-hearted

Some ideas may seem very crazy at first sight, but they can become geniuses with some adjustments. Those adjustments are the job of a mentor! You need to encourage teams to polish rough ideas until they turn into diamonds. All this through constructive feedbacks and proper guidance.

“I was able to help teams validate their ideas, suggesting people or discussing their viability. I was very happy because some of the teams I mentored were in the top three places of the hackathon. Every Hackathon, I learn more and share knowledge with people that are helping the world to be a better place. “

Lays Rodrigues – Python Pleno Developer at Meta

There’s no recipe for good mentoring, but you have to keep one thing in mind: sharing knowledge and sharing your experiences is a two-way street. No one leaves a hackathon without enriching intellectually, mentors are no exception.

So, are you ready to mentoring?!

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