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Equifax Hackathon Revamped: Championing Innovation

1747 Coding

In simple terms, a hackathon is an event where people come together with their unique skill sets and perspectives to build solutions for interesting problems and real-world challenges.

Equifax has hosted many hackathons over the years promoting “cross-functional teamwork between alliances and business units”, says David Stephens, co-sponsor of DevJAM.

What is DevJAM?

It’s an evolution of all of the hackathons that Equifax has hosted years prior. Teams competed against one another and developed tangible prototypes within a 3 week window. IdeaJAM came first, where the focus was on ideating concepts; and what is exciting about DevJAM is the ability to develop those concepts and bring them to life. 

Scott Johnson, co-sponsor of the event, explains “Unlike other years, we're asking teams to build something that works versus just creating a concept on paper.”

Those who participated had the opportunity to take advantage of leveraging a Cloud environment with Certified Pipeline, Github repository, and Equifax Shell access without going through the setup process.

Who participated?

Colleagues across Product, Data & Analytics, Technology, and Security teamed up to showcase their creativity and innovation. 

A big congratulations to the winning team of DevJAM 2022:

“This team brought to life an IdeaJAM concept: Equifax AMP, which aggregates Equifax data at a commercial property to help customers better understand the apartment complex, the tenants and the area, while making comparable apartments identifiable. All of our teams produced outstanding prototypes, and we’re excited to keep the momentum going! Talk about helping people live their financial best!” - Bryson Koehler, Chief Technology Officer

How was the experience?

We spent time chatting with the winning team and learned more about their experience. 

“..the chance to meet and work with people in other areas of our organization is a great experience.” shared Trey Ely, Commercial Product Manager. The Wildcards team pulled together a prototype of Trey’s idea from IdeaJAM.

Piyush Patel, Principal Big Data Engineer, also agreed that he enjoyed collaborating cross-functionally stating that “in D&A we hardly get to work with [the] IT development team.”

Piyush brought his data expertise to the table and addressed questions such as:

  • What data points or features do we need? 
  • Do we have those features? 
  • If not, how can we create those features? 
  • What data assets do we need? 
  • What different algorithms do we need? 
  • Can this be done in our environment?

Trey believes that one of the biggest takeaways from his experience is that “coordination and easy collaboration are key. We had a great coordinator (Sajitha Naduvil-Vadukootu, Software Engineer Specialist) that kept us on task and on schedule.” 

Even with the tight time frame of 3 weeks, the team noted that they didn’t deal with immense stress or burnout since they focused on what was priority and worked so well together.

Final thoughts?

The event wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of Project Managers, Alexis Kristky and Jennifer Tran, who worked closely with the event Sponsors (both David and Scott) to plan and facilitate DevJAM - from timeline to finance to getting environments ready for teams to code in. And we can't forget to mention the Cloud Engineering teams who played a vital role in the prototyping process! For the first time ever, DevJAM teams were given a special 'all-access' pass to our cutting-edge Cloud capabilities which enabled even greater innovation than ever before. 

“The most rewarding part was to see our idea of the program come to life little by little and seeing the success at the end. I am also excited to see the Wildcards' idea being capitalized and scalable across our [business units]!” stated Jennifer.

With much enthusiasm, Alexis wraps it up by sharing that “...DevJAM truly puts the “voice” in ''Your Voice, Your Equifax”. It’s win-win opportunities like this that drive success for both employees and the organization. We’re giving people a chance to innovate without limitation, work with cutting-edge technology and collaborate with senior leadership which I think says a LOT about our culture and who we are as a company.”

Learn more about available opportunities at Equifax.