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How Microsoft connects with developers through hackathons on Devpost

Learn about Microsoft’s history of hosting hackathons on Devpost.

Microsoft has a rich history of hosting hackathons centered around innovation, collaboration, and developer community engagement. Take a deep dive into Microsoft’s hackathons on Devpost to see how these competitions inspire creativity, foster a sense of community among developers, and promote its products.

Summary

Since 2016, Microsoft has hosted 30+ hackathons on Devpost’s public hackathon platform, leveraging its services and strong community ties to organize software competitions to connect with developers. The partnership between the two companies has allowed Microsoft to reach a broader audience worldwide and grow its developer ecosystem.

Many hackathon registrants have engaged with Microsoft beyond the hackathons, such as by joining Microsoft Developer Programs, joining the Microsoft Discord, joining Slack channels, signing up for Azure Open AI API Access, and signing up for various types of Microsoft accounts.

Infographic showing key stats from Microsoft hackathons on Devpost, including 25K+ participants and over 30 hackathons

Key themes and objectives

Microsoft’s hackathons on Devpost have covered a wide range of themes and objectives. Common themes include:

  • Artificial intelligence: Microsoft has been running AI hackathons on Devpost since 2018—long before generative AI became an everyday term. Participants in these events are encouraged to create innovative applications using platforms like Azure AI, Azure Cognitive Services, and Azure Machine Learning.
  • Learning: Microsoft’s beginner-friendly and learning-focused hackathons enable developers of all levels to sharpen their skills and gain invaluable experience with emerging technologies and Microsoft products. 
  • Productivity: As a market leader in productivity applications, it’s no surprise that many of Microsoft’s hackathons fall into this category. In these hackathons, developers are invited to build using products like Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365. 
  • Cybersecurity: In Microsoft’s cybersecurity hackathons, developers get exposure to products like Azure Sentinel and Microsoft Entra Permissions Management. The goal of these events is for participants to build solutions with these tools to help manage security in their own organizations. 
  • Social good: Microsoft is known for its commitment to social impact. Hackathons like the Microsoft Azure U.S. Hack for Accessibility encourage developers to use their creativity, passion, and cloud expertise to create an Azure-powered solution in education to empower people living with a disability.
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Featured hackathons and highlights

With so many great hackathons to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few! Here are some of the most notable Microsoft hackathons on Devpost:

Azure AI Hackathon 

Details: This hackathon challenged developers to create innovative applications using Azure's AI tools. Developers of all skill levels had the opportunity to use Azure AI to build AI-powered apps with pre-trained models or create their own machine-learning models.

Highlights: Over 1,900 participants from around the world built a wide range of AI-powered solutions, including a digital text/speech-to-Braille converter, a speech-powered controller, and an automated disease screening assistant. Check out the full project gallery to see all the submitted projects.

Microsoft AI Classroom 

Details: This hackathon empowered students to strengthen their understanding of AI by submitting apps, prototypes, reference applications, or schematic models using Microsoft’s Azure AI and Azure Data Services tools. 

Highlights: Over 3,700 people participated in this hackathon! “ChatEDU” took home first place for the Technical Project Prize. It leveraged Azure AI’s capabilities to provide interactive learning experiences that help students study with personalized study guides, quizzes, and other learning materials. Here’s what the winners had to say:

“As four students who've weathered the demands of intense study schedules, we channeled our shared experiences and insights into developing ChatEDU, a platform that we hope becomes a beacon of learning innovation,” said the winners of the Microsoft AI Classroom Hackathon.

Microsoft #BuildFor2030 

Details: Open to Microsoft’s partners globally, participants were invited to create innovative solutions aligned to the #BuildFor2030 challenge areas: gender equality, climate action and sustainability, digital inclusion and accessibility, enabling the nonprofit sector, and empowering communities.

Highlights: More than 900 participants from over 65 countries joined the #BuildFor2030 Hackathon community. Check out this blog post from Microsoft highlighting the winners in each category.

Microsoft Generative AI Hackathon

Details: Developers had the opportunity to learn how to use Azure AI and GitHub Copilot to craft multimodal apps that engage users through sight, sound, and touch.

Highlights: Over 1,200 people participated in this hackathon to build innovative apps, including a multimodal study aid, a mixed-reality virtual assistant, and an end-to-end fashion design pipeline tool. Check out the project gallery to see all the submitted projects.

Microsoft Developers AI Learning

Details: This hackathon empowers developers of all levels to master AI through the use of Azure Cosmos DB and the Azure OpenAI API.

Highlights: This hackathon is still open! There are already close to 6,000 registrants so far with over a month until the deadline. See all the updates here until then.

Connecting with Devpost’s community

Developers from all skill sets and backgrounds in Devpost’s community have participated in Microsoft hackathons. Here’s a closer look at the Devpost community members who have connected with Microsoft through hackathons:

An infographic showing Microsoft hackathon participants demographics on Devpost. It shows the top job specialties (the highest is full-stack developers at 40% of participants). Users from 138 countries have participated in hackathons

Devpost has proudly powered Microsoft’s hackathons since 2016. Along with providing a hackathon platform to manage registrations, team building, judging, and more, the Devpost team also assists with event logistics—from event setup to participant support to prize fulfillment. 

We also help Microsoft connect with developers in our community. These connections help Microsoft keep building and supporting its dev community, as many hackathon participants join its developer programs in the process. 

Takeaway

Microsoft's hackathons on Devpost exemplify the power of collaboration and innovation. Along with forging deep connections to Devpost’s community, Microsoft has made a lasting contribution to the hackathon community by allowing participants to explore new technologies, solve real-world problems, and create impactful solutions.

Ready to start planning your next hackathon? Book a demo to see Devpost in action and talk to our team of hackathon experts.