On the surface, hackathons give people the opportunity to create original projects, and, if you get lucky, some of them might even alleviate pain points and bring value to the business. But, when you take a closer look at what hackathons entail—teamwork, creativity, innovation, and optimism—the additional benefits they bring far exceed the final product. 

That is why, twice a year, WP Engine gives engineers and developers a chance to participate in 48-hours of creative chaos to showcase their problem-solving and collaboration skills. Wanting to ensure that interns fully experience what it’s like to be a WP Engine employee, interns also get a hackathon of their own. 

In the past, the intern hackathon was limited to only software engineers. But, in the spirit of encouraging interdisciplinary teamwork, interns from all departments joined in on the fun this summer. Like the hackathon for full-time employees, interns are given 48-hours to find a pain point, create a solution, and execute it. Hopefully, in the end, they are able to present a fully-functioning product. 

For a quick brain break, WP Engine Hackathon coordinators challenged teams of four to five interns to find ways to get a stack of cups closest to the ceiling.

This year we had a total of five teams participate—four teams from the Austin offices and one from the Limerick office—all with the hopes of winning one of the four coveted Hackathon awards. 

The company as a whole voted on the following three awards: the Ship it! Award, which recognized the product that was closest to being complete and could be “shipped” tomorrow, the Game Changer Award, which went to a project that had the potential to shift how we understand our business today, and the Best in Show Award, which was given to the most polished project with the best presentation. Finally, Jessica Underbrink, Senior Director of Customer Experience Operations, gave out the last award, the Frictionless Experience Award, to the team who created a project that eliminated friction in someone’s daily tasks. 

The four hackathon awards included the Best in Show, Game Changer, Ship it! and Frictionless Experience (left to right).

The five products this year ranged from uber techy to visionary and pragmatic. Here’s a list of this year’s teams and projects: 

Team Slack Meeting Bot created a slack meeting bot that made it possible to schedule meetings and book rooms with the ease of slack command.

Team MentorMe built a web app that streamlined the process of finding a mentor within WP Engine. Their mission was to help the best get better through mentorship.

Team ComPy-La-Webs created an implementation of Python that can run in the browser, and interact with web pages.

Team Agency Salesforce made a script that automated a previously time-consuming process in Salesforce helping the sales ops team save invaluable amounts of time.

Team Yurt designed a web app to organize shoe collections for the sneakerheads at WP Engine.

All the projects exceeded expectations, but just a couple swept the awards. The intern hackathon winners from summer of 2019 were: 

Ship it! Award: MentorMe—This team was composed of a strong mix of marketing, finance, and software engineering interns including, Sydney Arceneaux, Shreeti Sigdel, Anna Edelman, Brian Cheung, Joel Uong, Nathan Hoang, Paula Paysan, and Linette Rios.

Team MentorMe’s ready to use web app won the Best in Show and Ship it! awards.

Game Changer Award: Salesforce Agency Automation—This team combined Sales Operations, Talent Aquisition and Software Engineering interns to come up with a game-changing improvement for Salesforce. Their team included Hila Friman, Gatlin Stewart, Garrett Wezniak, Ethan Schaffer, William McKinnerney, Somya Dwivedi, and Mubeen Ahmed. 

Team Salesforce Agency Automation took home the Game Changer and Frictionless Experience awards for automating a time-consuming task in Salesforce.

Best of Show Award: MentorMe—This team was praised for their user-friendly web app and strong presentation. 

Frictionless Experience Award: Salesforce Agency Automation—This team made the lives of sales ops easier by taking a common process that previously took up to five minutes and automated it to take less than three seconds. 

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