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Okta Innovation: Highlights From Our May Hackathon

Our quarterly hackathons are one of our favorite ways to drive innovation, push outside of the daily grind and evolve our service. With the introduction of two new categories, drones as prizes, 37 participants and 14 projects developed in just 72 hours, our May event was no different.

Like in our previous hackathons, we recognized first-place and second-place hacks across two categories – product innovation (anything around existing functionality – or introducing new functionality) and engineering innovation (helping our operations and engineering teams improve internal processes) – and awarded a “Most Creative” hack. But we also took it up a notch, adding two new categories:

Lime Squasher: This award acknowledges a project focused on reducing technical debt that has accumulated over the years within the development process. (It’s also very much in line with our Ball Bearing Award that recognizes achievements from “unsung heroes” and our company-wide philosophy, “If it isn’t broken, enhance it so it never is.”)

Fresh Blood: Perhaps an easier one to distinguish by the name alone, this award recognizes our newest additions to our engineering team and gives our newbies a chance to shine at their first Okta Hackathon. Without further ado, here are the highlights from the three-day event:

Product Innovation:

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1st Place (pictured): “Touch Login” (Wendy, Naveen, Srinivasa, Jing, Nico)
We're always looking for new ways to improve our strong authentication capabilities, making it even more simple and more intuitive for our millions of users. This team focused on just that – developing the ability for users to enter Okta with just a fingerprint. No passwords required!

2nd Place: “Okta Mobile Android Overhaul” (Hans, Mau Castillo, Pinhua)
This team took the weekend to update the UX for Okta Mobile for Android to bring it on par with our latest end-user design improvements and Okta’s iPhone and iPad apps.

Engineering Innovation:

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1st Place (pictured): “Improved Caching System” (Vinoth, Mahesh, Preston)
This team evaluated our current methods for caching large amounts of data and prototyped a new method with a persistent cache.

2nd Place: “Making the World a Better Place” (Uzi, Jacobi, Felix, Paul)
It’s an aggressive goal, but this team proved that by enhancing an internal monitoring and logging tool, we’re able to get even better visibility into our service infrastructure and make the world a better place.

Most Creative:

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“Typing Cadence as Adaptive MFA” (Ray, Len, Ren)
People type their passwords with a certain cadence, and this team determined that this unique keystroke cadence could create a user profile and help determine whether to promote for a second factor of authentication.

Lime Squasher:

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“Scala 2 Java” (Rahul, Adam, Bryant) [Jacky and Nikhil not pictured]
Our inaugural Lime Squasher award went to the team that attacked the necessary evil of migrating Scala code to Java. The dedication to code grunt work will have a huge impact for our team in the future.

Fresh Blood:

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Tie between “Adaptive Access Based on Host Assessment” and “Static Analysis Tool for Build” (Mohit and Nanda, Brian and Amogh)

Mohit and Nanda’s “Adaptive Access Based on Host Assessment”
The team presented a proof of concept of functionality that would assess the security of a request based on several configurable indicators.

Brian and Amogh’s “Static Analysis Tool for Build”
This duo focused on integrating Okta’s build system with FindBugs to monitor for vulnerabilities and potential bugs.

Whether you’re a hackathon veteran or want to dip your toe in the water to see what hackathons are all about, Okta is the place to be. Head to our careers page to see all of our open positions. We’d love to hear from you!

Hector Aguilar
President, Technology

Hector Aguilar is the President of Technology at Okta, and is responsible for running engineering and technology. His focus is developing strategic planning for the direction of product development activities and managing the engineering team, as well as business technology and corporate IT.

Prior to Okta, Hector served in a variety of roles at ArcSight since its inception, driving technology development as the CTO and Vice President of Software Development for the company during its successful IPO in 2008 and after its acquisition by Hewlett Packard. Hector also has experience in software engineering and management at Impresse, ICA, Grupo Televisa and Ericsson, bringing over 25 years of networking, security and software development experience to Okta.

Hector earned his bachelor's degree in electronic systems engineering as well as his master's degree in computer science from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. Hector also enjoys running and taking bike rides with his family.

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Becky Oliver
VP, Technology Program Management

Becky is the VP of Technology Program Management at Okta. Her team's main focus is enabling the success of Engineering and IT, partnering with technology managers, leads and individual team members to deliver agreed upon priorities. She also works cross-organizationally toward advancing strategic company initiatives. Becky has 20+ years of software / systems / infrastructure project and program management experience, and 10+ years experience working in team management. She is delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the continued growth of the Technology organization, and Okta overall.