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Okta Innovation: Smart APIs, Rolling Robots and “No Phish” at Our Quarterly Hackathon


At Okta, we’re “always on” in every sense of the phrase, from our focus on customers to our products, service and innovation. If you stopped by our HQ last week, you likely saw that philosophy in full force.

During our quarterly hackathon, our engineers rolled up their sleeves to build clever new projects that go beyond our everyday responsibilities, whether to enhance Okta’s core platform service or create a new feature that helps us better serve our thousands of customers.

Fueled by a delicious breakfast and with an eye toward the grand prize (Ollie robots!), our employees were ready to start hacking.

And hack they did. Similar to previous Okta Hackathons, each team explored a product-focused innovation (building on existing functionality or introducing something entirely new) or an engineering-focused hack (improving internal processes among developer, test and operations teams). We gave out first- and second-place prizes within each, along with awards for two additional categories: “Most Creative” and “Fresh Blood.”

Check out the highlights – and help us congratulate the winners – from our 72-hour event:

Product Category

hackathon 2

Winner: “(G)No (F)Phish” by Nate, Reman, Taylor and Ujjwal

Phishing is tricky to reliably detect, so the “No Phish” team used the Okta browser plugin to identify potential phishing attempts and send an alert to the user.

Runner-Up: “Webhooks API” by Karl, Rahul, Ray and Trevor

This team built a simple webhooks API to support push notifications based on events in the system.

Engineering Category

hackathon 3

Winner: “Smart API” by Balaji and Vinoth

Less is more. Recognizing the power of choice, the “Smart API” team built a framework that lets developers express interest in a subset of a particular API output and filter out the rest. We’re excited to announce that, as a top voted hackathon idea in the engineering category, the team will dedicate two weeks toward making this a reality on the Okta platform.

Runner-Up: “SET Power” by Jeff B, Jimmy, Madhavi, Naveen and Wendy

Building on our Splunk logging implementation, this team enabled the ability to track of previously reported exceptions and mark them as known issues, or “ignorables.”

hackathon 5

Most Creative

Winner: “Visualizing Okta Taxonomy” by Felix and Nicholas

Fresh Blood

Winner: “Cross-Org Method Report” by Amogh, Brian, Meghna and Yuming

We added the “Fresh Blood” prize category at our May hackathon. As you can probably guess by its name, this award recognizes new engineering team members for showing innovation early in their journey at Okta.

In the spirit of true collaboration and productivity, engineers Amogh, Brian and Okta Hackathon first timers Meghna and Yuming set out to solve issues that inevitably arise in any multi-tenant environment. Their hack proposes an enhancement to our code build process that annotates and reports on potentially dangerous cross-org methods.

After three days of nonstop innovation – with treats, stickers and a happy hour thrown in the mix – we might be physically exhausted, but are energized by new product ideas and incredible ways of thinking.

Interested in learning more about innovation at Okta, or want to show off your own coding prowess at our next hackathon? Check out all open positions on our careers page.

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.