IT Interns Host First “Dorm Room” Hackathon

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As the summer comes to a close, we’re reflecting back on all the cool things our Central Texas interns organized and participated in. Our IT interns took it upon themselves to plan and participate in Dell’s first ever Hackathon.

First-time intern, Jeongin Lee, suggested the hackathon during his IT orientation session and, with the help of a few others, made it a reality in just two short months.

“I was just kind of curious if Dell hosted a hackathon for the interns. Over the summer we had a bootcamp for the Dell IT interns, so during that I raised my hand and asked if we were going to host a hackathon,” Lee said.

Dell IT does host hackathons, but the next one was scheduled for after the interns had finished their summer. Lee followed up with a request to help plan and host a hackathon specifically for the interns and was met with a resounding yes from the Dell IT team.

Along with other interns, Lee got help from full-time Dell team members as well as participants in the IT Development Program. They first sent out a survey asking for ideas of events throughout the night, time frames and even suggestions on the name of the event. The theme of the hackathon was “The Dorm Room” referencing where Michael Dell started the company.

“I brought it up to the team and I personally really liked the idea myself and the rest of the committee seemed to like it too,” Lee said. “It ended up fitting the innovative environment that we were trying to create out of this.”

The event itself began at 5:00 p.m. on a Thursday in late July and concluded with a project fair the following morning at 9:00 a.m. Teams worked through the night to complete their work before their projects were judged. Other solutions offered were improvements to online surveys on dell.com, automatically generated sitemaps to support pages, productivity plugins for Outlook and creating a meeting maps interface for guests and visitors to the Dell campus.

“The fact that such a large group of our interns were so enthusiastic about putting the hackathon together and worked so well as a team is a huge testament to the type of talent we are recruiting for Dell IT,” Rachel Gilman, an IT Development Program participant said. “It also was a great way for everyone to show off their technical strengths and gain great visibility. The whole event went off wonderfully and I believe is something that will become an annual tradition.”

The winning team, D.O.P.E. Hackers, included Daniel Nfodjo, Omose Ogala, Patrick Saul, Eric Harvey  who “sought to improve the Doorbuster experience for both our customers and our business partners by providing theoretical UI changes.” Read a first-hand account of the hackathon from Omose Ogala (the O in D.O.P.E.) on his LinkedIn account.

Before their internships ended, D.O.P.E had the opportunity to present their project to the manager who submitted the case.

Craig Poirier, Product Manager for Special Events oversees the platform that hosts special customer deals campaigns like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. He submitted the business case that the winning hackathon team solved for and stated that “it was a pleasure working the IT Intern Hackathon team.”

“I submitted a project to improve the transparency to customers about our limited-quantity deals to the hackathon team because I knew it would be critical to show stakeholders a proof-of-concept to rally support for the feature,” he shared. “They considered customer experience, coding requirements, and even cyber security. After their team did a follow-up demo to my core team, a flurry of questions, thoughts, and positive reactions erupted. It provided our teams a ton of food for thought and we expect to use the hackathon team’s files to demo in similar meetings to other stakeholder groups.”

He went on to share that if Team D.O.P.E.’s solution is well-received, their concepts will be implemented and featured on Dell.com late next year.

Interested in hearing more about what our interns got up to this summer? Check out our previous blog post here. You can also search and apply for internship positions here or see if our Talent Acquisition team is coming to your area.

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