Download the AHA Hackathons PDF

Hackathons organized by All Hands Active

A Hackathon is an event, typically lasting a day or a weekend, during which a number of programmers come together and work as smaller sets of teams in an attempt to build a new piece of software or product. Programmers from the immediate area, and possibly neighboring towns would attend such events. These are great opportunities to get some products built which consume your API, get a new website designed, or even for the purpose of recruiting skilled developers.

Why should you put on a Hackathon?

A Hackathon is a great way to get a bunch of developers around your product or API or who use your language of choice. You can follow up with these people regarding possible engineering positions, offer to buy the products they build, get a few open-source applications using your API in the wild, or even just ride the sweet sweet wave of exposure among the tech crowd.

Types of Hackathons

Hackathons typically consist of writing software, but they can also encompass similar tasks such as graphic design or hardware engineering. Is your goal to find an awesome .NET developer? In that case, you might want to consider a .NET themed hackathon for any type of project. Are you looking to get a few apps out there using your medical company’s API? Let’s host a hackathon for just that!

Example Types of Hackathon:

  • Build software to consume your company’s API
    • If an API is consumable via HTTP, many different developers can use it
    • If your API requires a DLL or compiled library, fewer developers can use it
    • Likewise, SOAP or direct database access limits audience
  • Redesign a website
  • Come up with a fun game related to your market
  • Build whatever product you want using whatever platform/language you want
  • Build a particular product using a particular platform/language
  • Any combination of these

Audience size

How many developers would you ideally like to attend your hackathon? Would you like them to work in small teams or large teams? Will you be referring developers to the hackathon, or would you like All Hands Active to do all the people hunting? We will do our best to get your ideal number of people to attend, but depending on the product and technology requirements, as well as timing, this may be easy or difficult to pull off.


Developers typically like to get their hands on some free swag. It can be surprising how many people will come to your event with the promise of a free MacBook Air. Something less concrete such as gift certificates to computer hardware outlets are generally easier to share for larger teams. Should we have runner up prizes as well?


Your place or ours? We have a ~1300 square foot building in Ann Arbor, right downtown on Liberty street. Our shop is full of hardware, electronics, and literature, however it can be a little cramped. Perhaps your place is bigger?


We can contact various catering companies in the area and get some food together. Or, if you have an existing relationship with any caterers, we can always skip that part and let you do it. Remember, a well-fed and caffeinated programmer is a happy programmer!

If you are running a 24 hour Hackathon, you’re going to need more than one meal. Plan on having food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in that case, and snacks won’t hurt either.

What exactly does All Hands Active do?

We find people, set up the event area, figure out when the event will happen, determine prizes, call up caterers, and help you hash out the details of what is to be built. You can be as hands on or hands off with this process as you’d like.

All these prices are negotiable, too. Give us a call and we’ll help figure it out with you.


“Amazing AHA Folks! Thanks so much for coming today, what a great treat for these kids! I truly appreciate you taking time to be here and make this a great day for our SFT participants. You Rock!”

– Eppie, University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

“My name is Anna Chatfield. I have the honor to work as a site-coordinator of a 21st Century Community Learning Centers after-school program. Eastern Michigan University has fifteen Bright Futures after-school programs in grade levels ranging from lower elementary through high school. The program I run serves students in fifth and sixth grade.

“I have partnered with Josh Williams and the crew at All Hands Active for each of the three years that I have been involved with EMU Bright Futures. I have continually been impressed and inspired by the passion and innovative spirit that AHA brings to the table. AHA works so hard to bring our students engaging and thought provoking science-based activities.

“I have been particularly pleased by the way in which the AHA team addresses challenges with energy and loads of creativity. They are always brainstorming new ways to present information in exciting and meaningful ways. I have personally witnessed AHA teachers handle exigent situations with incredibly quick response and thoughtfulness.

“The AHA team has really generated a strong, “science buzz” amongst our group! Both students with and without prior interest in science walk away from an AHA session armed with a great handle on terminology, processes, and applicability. They are able to articulate what they did and in many cases extend their learning beyond the session. In the words of one of our students, “the AHA people make science cool!”.

– Anna Chatfield, Marshall Bright Futures

Contact Information

(734) 994-1595

525 East Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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