As a developer, I am always on the lookout to improve myself, try out new things and have a great time learning, brainstorming and experimenting. My weekends are often spent keeping my grey cells updated, trying to learn more about methodologies, practices and tools that I can use at work to make my life better. When I first heard about People10 hosting its first ever Codecombat, a coding event where programming and business converge to solve problems, create new tools and push the boundaries of technology, I was thrilled, to say the least. Here was the opportunity I was eagerly awaiting: a platform to showcase something new, to learn, experiment and have fun.
Soon I could see a wave of excitement overcoming my peers and everyone at the workplace. As part of the registration process, we were asked to form teams, complete with a mentor and a Business Development Executive to pitch our idea. Soon, there were six clans that formed: the Spartans, the Ninjas, the Vikings, the Rangers, the Samurai and us, the Sith. Being a Star Wars geek, we were excited, an excitement that reached a whole new level when little flags and badges emblazoned with our mascot, Darth Vader, went up around our workstations.
The event was split into two halves, both complementing one another. The first half was the Build Week or the ideation/execution phase, where the clans were to come up with an idea and were given a week to build a prototype of the same. The Build Week would then conclude with the Pitch Day, where all of the teams were given the opportunity to pitch their idea, while being evaluated by an expert panel of judges.
Our team immediately got to work and set out building our idea. Our idea was to build something that would make someone’s life easier, and we set out to build Talent Recruit, a platform for recruiters and talent acquisition teams to quickly sift through thousands of resumes and have a unified, centralized portal that automatically analyzes, scores and selects the best candidates from the long list of candidates who apply.
With the idea set, we set out executing it. Though we were pressed for time, our team decided to make a conscious effort to make sure that we learn something new. With Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning taking off across the globe, we decided to utilize SpaCy and TensorFlow, to immensely powerful tools used by developers working in this domain. Though we had no prior experience using any of them, we took it up as a challenge. This obviously did mean late nights spent reading the documentation, watching tutorials and making countless mistakes, but none of us were rattled: we were too excited that sleep eluded us.
The days went past us like a blur and before we knew it, we saw ourselves on the stage, pitching our idea to the panel and to our colleagues who had come to see us. We had no hopes of winning any accolades; all we wanted to do was to learn and have a good time doing so. But with the stage set and battle lines drawn, we felt the need for us to step up our game: this was our product, and we needed to make sure that people believed in it the same way we do. Little did we expect to win anything, but we astonished to see that us, Team Sith, had won the award for the Best Pitch!
I am so happy to be a part of this event, the first of its kind that People10 has conducted. It was a fantastic synergy of our strengths: agile development, emerging technologies, novel business strategies and solid marketing. Most importantly, it has helped remove the fear of the unknown from me. Over the period of the event, we all donned multiple hats: I even ended up creating mockups with graphic design tools! I surely had a blast and I cannot wait until next year!