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January 6, 2016,

Rockaway AWS Hackathons: It’s not the best, but the best organized who win

Rockaway AWS Hackathons: It’s not the best, but the best organized who win

At the end of the year, Prague, Brno and Ostrava hosted a series of hackathons focused on AWS technology. In an extremely short time, more than one hundred software developers managed to create over 20 functional apps.

“We wanted to give Czech software developers a chance to try out AWS platform, which most of them cannot normally get to. We have a lot of experience with it, and we see a great potential in it thanks to its openness and global availability,” said Viktor Kustein, HR 2.0 in Rockaway.

“We gave participants credits for almost 200 000 CZK. During three weekends, about half of the amount was used, mostly on AWS Lambda app,” said Jiří Psota, CTO of Bileto. “Before the hackathon I had no idea about Lambda, and I can actually imagine the application of this technology in many areas,” Martin Vytrlík, one of the participants, agreed.

Being focused day and night

The teams were solving problems of public transport, e-commerce, fintech and AWS itself. Also Česká spořitelna prepared a special assignment for the hackathon. “The level of competitors was surprisingly high; only very few teams were not performing well. “At the beginning we expected that our help would be needed much more, but all the teams were very competent and it was enough to give them advice concerning the command of and work in AWS, ” said Jakub Riedl from Bileto. All those who managed to get the project into working mode have our respect. For us they are all winners.”

Difficult assignment & tight deadline

In Prague, the winner was AWS Rulez team with an app comparing various financial products according to given criteria. “The team won mainly thanks to a very difficult assignment which they managed to deal with splendidly in a very tight deadline,” said Tomáš Strejček from E-commerce Holding. Brno winner was the team of Members Wall – they developed an app which compares prices of various services directly in AWS, and saves the clients up to 80% costs. “Even though it was a team of only two boys, they were very skilful. It turned out that it is not always good to have twenty programmers in the team. Hackathons are not won by the best ones, but the best organized,” Viktor Kustein said. Ostrava hackathon was won by the project called Racoon analyzing whether people are in a positive or negative mood at given time. It applied an analysis of twitter feeds and all kinds of available dictionaries dividing words into positive and negative. Moreover, it had a very nice graphic design.

Viktor Kustein, main organizer of hackathons

Apart from the experts from Rockaway, E-commerce Holding and Bileto quoted above, members of the mentoring team were also Jiří Riedl from Finnology; Štěpán Bechynský from DataScript; Tomáš Holcman from Skypicker; Jan Sechovec, Jaroslav Machaň and Ondřej Gálik from Česká spořitelna; Jiří Pihík from MSD IT Global Innovation Center; and Marcus Lang and Philipp Stangl, organizers of legendary Pioneers festival.

Eagerness was unbelievable

“At the beginning we encountered fears that it would be a kind of recruitment, and hacking as such is not so important for us. Especially people from Ostrava were afraid of it. We are very happy that we managed to refute these fears and all participants could really enjoy the event. The enthusiasm and eagerness of all participants was unbelievable, and in the end we have a very good feeling from Ostrava. The atmosphere was just great,” said Eva Krausová, HR 2.0 in Rockaway. “People in Ostrava were impressed by the hackathon! They had heard about AWS before and knew about the advantages of this technology, but so far they have not had the chance to talk about it with someone who is really using it, and try out what AWS can actually do,” confirmed Veronika Dubská, from Ostrava Impact Hub.

Atmosphere in Ostrava was great

The event could not have taken place without the partners

“It was a great pleasure and fun to host AWS hackathons. There is a high percentage of members from IT professions in our community, so it made perfect sense to join our efforts with Rockaway and prepare an interesting program for them. We are able to organize and arrange events, and Rockaway provided a high quality assignment and experienced mentors, so we complement each other,” said Martina Bláhová from Impact Hub. Hackathons were also supported by Koloniál, Chotěboř brewery, Dallmayr, cz.nic, Czechcrunch, Tyinternety, E15 and Devel.cz. “Just a few interesting numbers: during three weekends, 350 Red Bulls, 60 litres of Coca Cola and three kilos of coffee were consumed, ” Bláhová added.

“We organized hackathons especially because such educational events promote all software developers in the Czech Republic, and we believe that all of them will make use of it and thrive in the future. So we are preparing another series,” Kustein concluded.