Innovation Central: A Cendyn Hackathon

As part of our continued mission to push the boundaries of technology, Cendyn’s Web Production team recently took part in a month-long hackathon competition, during which participants were required to create a website, application, mobile app, or a library/plug-in from the ground up.

Specific ground rules were set and as always, the Cendyn team rose to the challenge, creating applications that might even end up in future client solutions or internal processes.

“I loved how the hackathon was set up to push the participants out of their comfort zone,” said Emily McMullin, VP of Interactive Design & Development at Cendyn. “By challenging them to learn a new program or language they have not used before, we’re promoting innovation at the company level as well as opening new doors for those team to continue their own personal development.”

To learn more about Cendyn’s recent hackathon and why we decided to take up this unique challenge, we sat down with Amos Ford, Cendyn’s Director of Production.

Why a hackathon?

Hackathons are something you see going on more and more; in part, because they offer so many benefits for participants and companies alike. These types of team building exercises allow individuals and groups to engage in innovative thinking and development, which is a big part of what we try to do at Cendyn daily.

Developers and other people in the web services field tend to get bored and unsatisfied when they don’t get to work with new and different technologies. This type of challenge bolsters creative thinking, and is also designed to improve communication using presentations and required documentation. Additionally, participants get to expand their skillset by trying out new technologies and tools, like GitHub. Another great bonus is that the projects themselves may turn into a future project or solution for the company.

We also set personal goals with the team, which included learning more about their interests, identifying areas of improvement they could create their project around, and discovering additional skills they may not have had the chance to display in their daily duties.

What type of apps did the team work on?

The projects were limited to concepts that can help Cendyn internally, Cendyn clients, or a charity. The three final participants created the following projects:

Project #1 – online game

Description: Geared towards new hires, this browser game was designed to teach employees about the office layout and all the different departments and locations at Cendyn HQ. The final version of the project will also include details about each department that will pop up once you catch Bella the dog.

Technology used: HTML Canvas

Project #2 – QA tool for Cendyn

Description: At Cendyn, quality assurance is a big job and this project was designed to help the Web team improve their internal workflow by walking users through the QA process, which also includes a quote generator and online QA submission.

Technology Used: HTML, CSS, JS

Project #3 – charity website

Description: Cendyn participates in numerous philanthropic efforts throughout the year, often volunteering, donating to, or working with local community groups like the Boca Helping Hands and Habitat for Humanity. From canned food drives and holiday gift giving to volunteering as local tutors, there’s always some project Cendyn is involved with. This website was designed to create a central online presence that tracks the company’s sponsored charity events and volunteers.

Technology used: Angular JS, MongoDB

What benefits did you see because of the hackathon?

The Web Development team really enjoyed the opportunity to expand their personal knowledge base by creating and working on a project they personally envisioned, versus a client-driven project. I also think the team really took into consideration what we needed as a team and produced useful projects at the end of the challenge. It was also interesting for me to hear all the initial ideas as well as their implementation plans.

Overall, the hackathon was a big success, and something I would like to see done on an even larger scale in the future. We may even try to come up with a company-wide competition that would include non-developers as well. Just imagine what we can do if we can get the whole company involved.

Interested in learning more about Cendyn? Contact us today for a demo!

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