Last year’s Can You Hack It, participant Aaron Chuah, 20, from Inti International College Subang has joined HLB as an intern at its IT Centre of Excellence in January 2019 said, “The highlight of my experience at the hackathon was watching the top 10 group presentations as I learned that applications not only need to be functional but must also have creative features to increase usage. I’m excited at the chance of being hired as a full-time employee at the Bank after I graduate because Hong Leong Bank is one of the more technologically savvy banks in Malaysia. The working environment here is very conducive for tech innovation, which gives people like me the opportunity to learn more and enhance my IT skillset.”
For others, like IT graduate Tan Chun Keat, 27, who was hired as a full-time employee of Hong Leong Bank in February 2019 after his participation in last year’s hackathon, it was his experience as a first-timer at Can You Hack It that changed his perception of technology in the industry. “Our idea was to create a web app to make it easier for SMEs to apply for loans, using automation. It was such an educational experience. I’m a developer in Group Operations & Technology now, but it was during the hackathon that I was truly exposed to how ideas can influence the way that banking works, to make things better.”
But what does it take to win a challenge like this, impress the judges, and potentially take home the prize money or even a job with one of Malaysia’s leading financial brands?
We thought you’d ask – so we spoke to former winners and gathered a quick list for you to HACK THE HACKATHON!:
1. Know what you’re there for. A hackathon – especially at a financial institution – is not a place to wander in unprepared. It’s a fun, easy environment to get access to an industry that loves to know everything about everything! So take the time to read the hackathon’s website. Understand what judges will be looking for. And be clear about what you think you can bring to the table
2. The idea matters. It’s easy to get caught up with technology and want to use the latest, shiniest tech to build your solution. Focus instead on the idea that you’re building and why that matters to a company, a bank, and its customers. Then find the right technology for it. Trust us – if it works, that is all that matters!
3. Test every idea. Hackathons are a great place to build ideas that you have been thinking about. Test them there and if it works, great. If not, you’ve learnt a valuable lesson as well. More importantly, you’re getting access to mentors who can give you invaluable feedback; and you get to see how other teams are approaching their ideas. Be willing to build fast, test often, and learn as you adapt. And most importantly – ask for help. Hackathons are a great place to learn, make friends, gain knowledge and grow.
4. You need a team. Sure you can show up and try to pair up there. But there’s nothing quite like showing up with a team that already knows what it wants, and how it’s going to get it. Hackathons can help to draw your people into a more cohesive fighting unit, and making sure that everyone – not just the techies – have a role to play in making the dream come true.
5. Present yourself. Great ideas don’t work if people don’t understand them. So be sure to think about how you can share that amazing new function, feature, or product you want to build with the judges even before you start building it. Simple language and great images are one way to go. Examples and stories are another. Find a style that works for you and use it!
A collaboration with JomHack Malaysia, Google Cloud and Rakuten RapidAPI, Can You Hack It is one of the Bank’s initiatives in solving the challenge of hiring fit-for-future talent while immediately rewarding individuals and teams who demonstrate innovation and great ideas for better banking.
Can You Hack It is designed to allow participants to propose their ideas or solve problem statements provided by the Bank, for a better digital banking experience or new financial services, products, coding and validating them, and then demonstrating a working prototype to a panel of HLB’s key executives and observers from the local digital industry and VC scene. With over 150 FinTech developers and designers in one place, it will explore the limits of their imagination in the field of financial products, banking experiences, and in the discovery of new uses for existing technologies.