Creating UniquedIn: The SJSU Hackathon at LinkedIn

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Luis Cervantes Rodriguez, a current SJSU Fellow, shares his experience at the Hackathon sponsored by LinkedIn.

My experience at the Braven Bay Area Hackathon was both stressful and fun. The event was hosted at LinkedIn’s headquarters and provided the right setting for us to hit the ground running as we tackled our challenge problem. We were charged to create a tool that would allow people to showcase their diversity so companies could hire diverse talent. This felt like a relevant and fun challenge to take on while at LinkedIn.

While a Braven module introduced me and other Fellows to design thinking, the Hackathon was the first time we got to practice the concepts. I quickly learned that reading about design thinking and going through the process are completely different. Things became even more complicated and a bit more stressful once we began our project and saw the challenge we had to compete. Our team had to step into a new space with new people that we never met before to address this problem.

Through honest conversations and creative thinking from everyone, we created our prototype which we named, UniqedIn. UniquedIn is a feature on LinkedIn that would allow users to express themselves on their profiles through different mediums including audio, pictures, video, and text. Through this feature, users would be able to demonstrate what makes them unique. Furthermore, we believe that employers could create more personal connections with LinkedIn users looking for a job.

This experience tested me and my teammates as we had to conduct an unknown task with new skills in a new environment. Our team had our leadership skills put to the test through this project. We needed to give and receive honest and constructive feedback. We had to figure out when to step up and when to let other people take the lead. To make thing more stressful, everything was done in a time crunch, so we had to figure out how to manage our time effectively. The Hackathon provided me and my teammates with a great opportunity to put our Braven skills to work in a real-life setting. It built our confidence and our skills to know that we can succeed in the workplace.

I am thankful to have participated in Braven’s first Bay Area Hackathon. I am thankful to the LinkedIn employees for providing us constructive feedback and the Braven Staff who put the event together. Most importantly, I am proud of team 5 for winning 1st place at the Hackathon!