Announcing National Hack the Government 2023

Join the Hack Labs Network

Get paid to participate in friendly hackathons where we have your back.

Hack Labs has a network of developers, designers, and researchers who come together for events over a short period of time to solve real-world problems posed by our clients. We call our network members “hackers”.

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What is a Hack Lab?

A Hack Lab, or “hackathon”, is an invention marathon. We bring together talented technologists for a short period of time (generally one or two days) to answer a challenge statement with a prototype.

Hack Labs can take place for a number of reasons, such as Research & Development (R&D), for product feedback, to test a hypothesis, or to support sales.

Whatever the reason - we commit to you a fun and respectful environment to flex your creative muscle. We make sure the clients are happy, and you have everything you need to be successful.

The Hack Labs network

We are building a network of hackers to invite to run Hack Labs with. Hackers are technologists with a range of skillsets - many being developers, designers, and researchers. Being a member of the network is a pre-requisite to participation in our events.

For now we’re purely focused on providing these paid opportunities, rather than building a community. In time this may change, but we believe this is best for all parties.

Who we are looking for

Hackers can hold any employment status - some are full-time freelancers, others employed, students, and hobbyists. Taking part in labs is done in a freelance capacity, so it is expected that you have the ability to take the time to join us at events you are attending, and that you can invoice us for work completed.

This is a vetted network of individuals, but that doesn’t mean you have tonnes of experience in every aspect. While we generally expect some proficiency as either a developer or designer, we accept other skill sets and experience levels.

Joining the network

Apply to become a part of the Hack Labs network below. We ask some questions to understand if you’re a good fit, and will let you know the outcome via email. If we’re unsure about anything - we’ll just ask. It’s super chill, and just the one step.

We do, however, reserve the right to remove you from the network at any point and for any reason. If this happens we will let you know, and this means you’ll stop receiving opportunities via email.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find out about upcoming Hack Labs?

Once a part of the network, we’ll email you opportunities either explicitly inviting you or inviting you to apply.

What is the format of a Hack Lab?


When we publish Hack Lab opportunities, we’ll share information about the client and the challenges we are posing for the event. You can choose whether to apply to participate.

Once you’re in the crew for the event, we’ll provide additional context about the problem space we are exploring and provide a space for you to share any thoughts or ideas you might have about the challenges posed.

During Lab

At the start of the event, you’ll hear even more detail from the client, chat with other hackers, and choose whether to work alone or in a pair. You will work on a prototype solution to the challenge until the end of the event.

During the event, experts in the problem space will be available to validate your thoughts, or to challenge your assumptions. We will make sure you have what you need to be successful.

At the end, you will present projects back in a show-and-tell format to the group and stakeholders.


We will ask you to fill in a summary document about your project. If it’s part of the engagement, we may also ask you for your code and/or supporting materials. Invoice us, and you’re done.

How much do I get paid? What is the catch?

You will always get paid for your time for events you are invited to and attend. The rate differs per event, but this will be made clear upfront before you make a choice to participate. We will make sure you are fed during the event, but you may have to cover travel and accommodation.

The key thing about Hack Labs are the very time-boxed nature of them. Expect no scope-creep, or more time needed than what we specify.

As part of each Hack Lab, you may be required to license your works to Hack Labs and/or the client. This will be specific to each event, and will be made clear before application.

Do I have to attend Hack Labs I am invited to?

Nope. Given the only benefit to network membership are these paid opportunities, it’s expected that you will attend some, but there’s in no way an expectation that you attend any given event. All we ask is that you are communicative with us about your answers and needs.

What do you mean “you have my back”?

  1. We will always be very explicit about our expectations. No nasty surprises.
  2. We don’t mess around with payment. We will ask for what we need to pay you swiftly.
  3. Our engagements are incredibly time-boxed. You don’t have to worry about scope-creep.
  4. We make sure you are well-equipped and are put forward for opportunities that fall in-line with your skills and interests.

Ultimately, if we don’t build a trusting and respectful relationship, this won’t work for anyone. We’re extremely committed to this!

Why should I trust you?

Hack Labs is brand new, but we aren’t new to this. We’ve previously run events for central and local government, huge businesses, charities, startups, and everything in between.

We know that this format works, and we know how to run it in a way which keeps out clients happy while never compromising the experience for hackers.

How do you make your money?

We charge clients for our direct costs (venue, food, equipment) and time involved in putting these events together. We charge your time to them at the exact amount we pay you.

Who runs Hack Labs?

Hack Labs is run by Julia Higginbottom, Nat Higginbottom, and Kevin Lewis.

Apply to be in the Hack Labs network

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