Do I Have to be a Programmer?

Do I Have to be a Programmer?


When I tell people about Hack for Change, a common response is, “That sounds really cool, but I’m not a programmer!”

Think of a hackathon like a movie. Actors are only one part—you also need directors, producers, screenwriters, editors, production designers, costume designers, sound engineers, and art directors. Actors alone cannot make a movie, and programmers alone cannot make a hackathon.

So what are some of the non-technical roles on a hackathon project team?

  • Project manager: we’re only working for one weekend, so it’s critical to keep the team on track
  • Documenter/scribe: it’s also critical for teams to document the decisions they make throughout the weekend and to document their solution so people can use it
  • Presentation preparer: each team will have a chance to show off its work, so someone will need to get ready (slides? screenshots? the daring live demo?)
  • Designer: someone who can make the project look good and create a great user experience
  • Problem solver: every great team has someone who can see the big picture, solve problems, and get people unstuck
  • Social media maven and blogger: we’re one of 90 events happening across the country, so it’s important to share your work and projects on social media and on our blog (so others can see what we’re up to!)

If you aren’t able to join a project team, you can still help make Hack for Western Mass a success by volunteering. We have lots of jobs and would love you to sign up for one.

So what are you waiting for? Register here, and join us at UMass on June 1-2.


  • by
  • May 21, 2013

becky, you’ve articulated the perfect answer to a question we get asked ALL THE TIME. Your words are really going to help us keep people on track at our first civic hack this weekend!!

Many thanks from Sacramento!

candidate for captain 2013
code for sacramento