BBI Hacker Fest Highlights
Every December, BBI hosts a Hacker Fest event designed to engage our team members and stimulate engineering creativity. This hybrid event is open to all employees across our 500-person, global organization, and run by BBI University, our learning and development group.
This year, six teams of six-seven people competed – each given the following:
- A technical challenge or objective
- Related internal and external data/resources
- The goal
- Success/judging criteria
Objectives ranged from setting automatic AWS EC2 updates (without any downtime), to a dynamic file comparison tool, to a portable Ab Initio file validation tool. Each project was chosen for its ability to test foundational engineering skills, encourage teamwork, and relate back to client work.
The top three winning teams each received Amazon gift cards and personalized certificates for sharing and their own portfolios. Dr. Kumudha Padmanaban, head of BBI University, celebrated their success throughout the company, saying:
“A big thank you from us to everyone for participating in the event! Competition is the base of innovation and one of the best forms of motivation. Hackathons such as the one you all took part in foster competition and innovation in a way that propels our organization and the industry forward. We genuinely appreciate everyone who took part and worked hard for this hackathon.”
Let’s take a quick look at each winning project.
Winning Team: AWS EC2 Efficiency
Objective: Automatically stop EC2 instances during offline hours (Friday night through the weekend), restarting on Monday morning before business hours.
Solution: Customized pipelines to start/stop EC2 instances based on targeted timeframes. The team:
- Created a project in Jenkins and established connection between the AWS EC2 instance and Jenkins service.
- Built pipelines to start/stop the instances, configuring them with Groovy.
- Used CronJob functions to schedule the triggers for the pipelines.
Technologies Used: AWS, Jenkins, Groovy Script
Rinchen joined the event to bring her 9 years of diverse experience to the mix and learn from her colleagues. In addition to the hands-on work with Jenkins and AWS, the highlight for her was experiencing a team “where everyone had different skills/seniority, but we worked together and made it happen.”
Bheshan praised Hacker Fest as a great event, with real-time technical problems and the opportunity to meet and work with experienced folks in the company, adding, “Facing the challenges as a team strengthens us!”
Note: We are AWS Advanced Tier Services Partners
Runners Up: Ab Initio File Validation
Objective: Develop a portable Ab Initio file validation process with minimal changes needed when a new file must be onboarded. Any validation failures must render a message communicating the cause and files should be moved to an invalid directory.
- Used shell scripting and Ab initio Conduct>It to create a modular solution comprised of three stages: file watcher, file validation, and field validation.
- Created a source catalog file that maintained metadata about each source and their files. If a file failed any of the three stages, users received a notification.
- The solution is easily scalable and can be migrated to the cloud as needed.
Technologies Used: Ab Initio Conduct>It, Unix shell
“I thrive in collaborative environments where innovation is celebrated,” shared Ghouse, “The Hacker Fest was the perfect opportunity to join forces with like-minded problem-solvers and bring fresh ideas to life.”
Team leader Anand agreed: “I always love participating in hackathons because that helps me challenge myself and push limits. Leading the team, I got the chance to combine our strengths – everyone chipped in wherever possible.” He also shared a warm thanks to the organizers for providing the Hacker Fest as a platform to showcase everyone’s talents and congratulated them on a successful event.
Learn more about our Ab Initio expertise.
2nd Runners Up: AWS EC2 Updates
Objective: Create a system that automatically checks for newer patches or updates for AMIs from AWS. If a newer update is available, automatically update the EC2 instances used, without hosted application downtime.
- Create an Auto Scaling group with the desired capacity.
- Use System Manager - Automation to perform AMI updates/Patching.
- Create a Lambda function to check if an AMI is available. If yes, update ASG configuration with updated AMI ID and launch new instances.
- After new instances launch, use Lambda to terminate the old instance.
Technologies Used: AWS Lambda, AWS EC2, Boto3
Vijayrahavi Nagarajan was eager to try something new and collaborate with colleagues. “Hacker Fest was challenging, but exciting. Succeeding was incredibly rewarding, and securing third place added an extra layer of joy.”
Collaboration and Community
Empowering our team members to grow and feel included is baked into BBI’s identity. In a recent blog post, BBI CEO and Co-founder Ravneet Singh said “Your people are not just contributors; they are your greatest assets. Investing in their development and aligning with industry best practices is not a mere choice but a necessity for sustained success.”
Our blog is an example – I am on a personal mission to grow individual content creation skills and confidence throughout the organization. This type of cross-functional initiative creates opportunities to meet new colleagues, discover hidden talents, and spark ideas. Keep an eye on the BBI LinkedIn for more updates.