Okta Q4 Hackathon: Pushing Technical Boundaries with Creativity and Style

Okta is a technology company and we celebrate that through events like our biannual hackathon. Since its inception in 2014, the hackathon has helped build a culture of creativity, innovation, and collaboration. Teams enjoy pushing the boundaries of what can be done with code, while competing for major bragging rights and super cool prizes! In addition, many of our hack projects have been integrated into Okta’s product and infrastructure to make our world-class service even better.

One of the recent challenges with the hackathon has been scaling the event as the engineering and product organizations (and Okta) experience significant growth. Going from a dozen teams and 30 hackers to over 30 teams and 100+ participants, all while maintaining a spirit of fun and camaraderie, isn't easy. This year we used an internal media channel called "Okta TV" to host all of our hackathon demos. We held a viewing party where the videos were shown, and teams had 2 minutes for a live Q&A. Not only did this really help with time management, showing the demos in video form also proved to be another creative outlet for teams. Since each hack project had its own video, anyone at Okta can view the demo anytime. We also used a "favorite" button in Okta TV so folks could vote on their favorite hacks, called the "People's Choice" award.

This November, 32 teams representing 3 categories—Product, Platform, and Infrastructure—hacked for 2 days and presented their videos to an expert judging panel of engineering and product leads to determine the first and second place winners, in addition to the "People's Choice" winner. Those 9 winning teams then advanced to the championship round where the entire company watched a live demo of their hacks, then voted to select the overall hack champion! Everyone who participated in the hackathon received a custom t-shirt with an awesome design commemorating Alan Turing, a pioneer in computer science.

The competition was fierce and some teams pulled all-nighters, but ultimately we celebrate with the winning teams as well as revel in one another's creativity, passion for technology, and shared experience of another great hackathon!

Check out the highlights from this quarter's hackathon.

Product Category

1st Place: Popsicle (Varrun Ramani, Mihai Iacob, Rajaguru Duraisamy)

dPoP POC implementation.

2nd Place: SHIELD (Magizh Thirunavukkarasu, Santhosh Kumar Bala Krishnan, Haisheng Wu, Raghu Pamidimarri, Nicolas Backal)

SHIELD provides better insights to Okta admins about attacks targeting their orgs and users.

People's Choice: The OAN (Jordan Melberg, Samer the Hammer, Royal Chan)

A humorous spoof to show off the creative skills of our UI Dev team.

Platform Category

1st Place: Automated(ish) Error Documentation (Bob Tiernay, Brian Retterer, Jakub Vul, Azhar Iqbal)

Pull error messages, descriptions, and codes out of the source code repositories and into our public-facing developer docs in an automated fashion.

2nd Place: Workflow Chiclets (Arun Thotta, Anna Luo, Mohit Khare, Ruth Adrineda, Mark Sztainbok)

Leverage the existing Okta workflow platform to deliver cool new workflows created by Admins for users.

People's Choice and Overall Hack Champion: Splunk Monitoring for Business System Applications (Vimarsh Karbhari, Afsal Ahammed, Madhav Vasudev)

Login and error log analytics for business systems and Boomi logs.

Infrastructure Category

1st Place: Redis OPS (Balaji Sundaram, Yujia Zhang, Ramya Mudduluri)

Automating Redis down/up sizing by rebalancing keys from an orchestration tool.

2nd Place: OktaTrain Dashboard (Umang Sehgal, Vikas Gupta)

One stop shop for all Okta Release trains. Provides accessible and available information about deployed images and versions across all services.

People's Choice: Terraformers (Varun Mukka, Vijet Mahabaleshwar)

An automated tool to set up test environments in new cells.

Interested in showcasing your coding chops and pushing boundaries with software? Does the title "Best Hack Champion" cry out to you? We’re hiring! Check out our Careers page to see our current list of open positions.