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Handshake's Marta Fonda and Kimble Luu kicking off Eng Week
Handshake Engineering

Handshake Engineering Leaders Reflect on Eng Week 2023

We hosted over 200 engineers at our San Francisco HQ from all over the country and Europe.

Since 2016, our engineering team has gathered in our offices and remotely to connect, ideate, and participate in our annual “Eng Week” and hackathon. This year, we hosted over 200 engineers at our San Francisco headquarters who traveled from all over the country and Europe. There’s nothing quite like face-to-face connection, and we think it’s safe to say that after a week together, our team collectively felt more connected than ever before.

We sat down with engineering leaders, Marta Fonda, Deepak Kumar, Tatyana Chertok, and Dhaval Patel to hear more about the history of Eng Week at Handshake and this year's event.

Eng Week is held each fall after the Back to School (BTS) recruiting season, which is a major event each year for all sides of Handshake’s marketplace of students, schools, and employers. We kicked this year’s gathering off with a huge team milestone: zero major incidents during BTS. Our teams were able to successfully navigate and manage to ship many big features, including a major international launch in Europe while supporting regular programming.

A History of Hackathons at Handshake

Every Eng Week has been different, but there is one constant every year that our entire organization looks forward to: The Hackathon.

Hackathons are an intrinsic part of Handshake’s history and company culture. A lot of the tools that are available and widely used by our customers and early talent today are rooted in the work our co-founders did early on with educational institutions to test and learn how best to work with schools and career centers.

It all started with the prevailing issue of gaining access to opportunities. In this case, it was helping student peers of our co-founders (Garrett, Ben, and Scott) at Michigan Technological University gain access to job opportunities.

The trio participated in MHacks, a 36-hour, semiannual student-run hackathon held by the University of Michigan, where they were able to work on developing the early phases of the Handshake platform. MHacks provided a much-needed arena for gaining both employer and school feedback and helped to inspire the initial iterations of the product.

As the years go by, our Hackathons have continued to gain momentum and resulted in many of the key tools and features available in our product today, to mention a few…

Analytics Service

We sought to improve the analytics service experience by allowing employers to explore the analytics-data space to gain a better understanding of their candidate pool and hiring process. This could help them understand sub-populations in a manner that is impossible today.

The initial work we’ve done here has already helped to enable functionalities like Advocates Reporting and Applicant Analytics – helping to not only reduce costs but also improve performance tremendously.

Special shout out to Lydia Nash and Sanjay Sachdev for the initial idea at our 2022 Hackathon!

Object Admin Browser

Also known as the “Admin Object Browser,” this tool was built to enable engineers and admin users (specifically support) to access production data in a safer environment than the prod console. Its features include:

  • A serialized record
  • List of associated records with links to view each in the object browser
  • ElasticSearch records from Student, Employer and University indices for which the record exists
  • The ability to reindex a specific record
  • Queued Mass Emails checker

Thanks to this tool, we can now display the data to a user with admin credentials in a consolidated view. This significantly reduces the back and forth between support and engineering and has helped customers in these last few years.

Credit goes to Mike Wu, Tiffany Sipka, Alex Glaze, Austin Gaylon, and Jason King who presented the tool at our 2020 Hackathon!

View As

We also develop other essential internal tools like the “Campaign Admin Dashboard,” which is helping the Campaigns team tremendously in supporting our employer teams and has avoided many incidents from being escalated, or the “View As” feature, which quickly and seamlessly enables our employees to view a role, profile, etc., as a Handshake user. It is one of our most popular internal features and is used daily by the team.

View As was developed by Lucy Follansbee and Ben Jacobs and debuted after the 2022 Hackathon!

2023 Handshake Hackathon

As we close out on another fantastic Eng Week and Hackathon, we want to take a moment to reflect and thank all of our amazing team members who came together this week. From participating in panel events to the incredible and creative problem-solving skills demonstrated at this year’s Hackathon (shout out to this year’s winners!), there is no doubt that the future of Handshake Engineering is a bright and bold one. We can’t wait to see what comes next year!

On stage at Handshake Eng Week

On stage at Handshake Eng Week

Handshake Engineering at Day 1 welcome

Engineers greet each other on day one!

Team Handshake poses with Erica Lockheimer, VP of Engineering LinkedIn Talent Solutions

Team Handshake poses with Erica Lockheimer, VP of Engineering LinkedIn Talent Solutions

Hackathon discussions begin

Hackathon breakouts and discussions begin

Panel discussion at Eng Week

Panel discussion at Eng Week

Early Hackathon brainstorming

Hackathon brainstorming

We’re seeking talented technical team members to join us in accelerating our work in democratizing opportunities for students and alumni everywhere and scaling our platform to new heights. We’re hiring for roles across our Engineering Organization, check them out today!

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