CyberXchange Hackathon winners cash prices, Facebook

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Five months ago, CyberXchange announced that this year’s annual conference would feature a Hackathon challenge where programmers would be put through their paces. Mouth watering prices were at stake since a big firm, Facebook, was sponsoring the cash awards.

CyberXchange Hackathon winners cash prices, Facebook
Winners of the Hackathon with Facebook’s Regina Wallace-Jones

True to their words, the hackathon event took place during the conference and just yesterday cash prices were handed over to the winners of the two days competition.

The terms of engagement for the two day competition was clear enough. Each team was required to present the prototype of what they built in the 48 hours allocated to them.

The presentation of the prototype was done in front of eminent players in the Nigerian tech world. The judges included Interswitch‘s Babafemi Ogungbamila, Yemi Saka from Ernst and Young, tech website Techcabal, was represented by Bankole Oluwafemi. Facebook, the major sponsor of the event was represented by Wallace-Jones on the judges table.

For the winning team, this was the end of a long and remarkable journey. More than 250 groups and individuals across the country started the journey when applications for the event opened. Only 63 made it to the final last week.

CyberXchange Hackathon winners cash prices, Facebook
CyberXchange Hackathon

The winning team went home with a price of N700,000. Their winning presentation focused on how big companies can secure the accounts of their employees by using multiple authentication. Basically, making it impossible for hackers to gain access to vital information of the employees. Nice one.

In this age of hackers going after everything that is hackable, a solution or system like this is timely for the Nigerian environment where people are notorious when it comes to leaving important accounts unsecured.

Even if they bother to secure these accounts, they use basic security protocols that is very easy to hack.

Prices were also given to the first and second runners up in the competition. They got N400,000 and N300,000 respectively.

CyberXchange Hackathon winners cash prices, Facebook
CyberXchange 2016

For those who don’t know, a Hackathon is traditionally an occasion where coders, programmers and hackers gather to test their skills against each other over a long period of time. The events can sometimes last up to one week of non-stop programming. Hackathons are not always contests for winners to emerge.

Sometimes it is just a brain storming session to test ideas or come up with new ones.

It is nice that CyberXchange has introduced this contest to the country where programmers are being rewarded. It is not surprising that an outfit like CyberXchange would come up with something like this as one of their mission statements is all about giving young coders incentives to grow.

Walter-Jones, who was part of the judges that picked the winning presentations and also the head of Security Operations at Facebook said that:

…the competitors worked tirelessly to create their solutions, and we were inspired by their dedication and passion for security. Encouraging this kind of talent is important to the future of the security industry, and that is why we met with several university professors at CyberXchange to talk about how to continue to strengthen security curriculum and training.”

CyberXchange Hackathon winners cash prices, Facebook
Gbolabo Awelewa, Chief geek at CyberXchange looking ahead to the future

Moving forward, it is hoped that the organizers would further increase the price money and perhaps create different categories. This is a good and modest beginning. However, to bring out the best in our youths, the scope of the Hackathon needs to be broadened so that more groups would have a chance to participate.

This is not an advocacy for mediocrity. Far from it. But it won’t hurt anybody if this is done. After all, I am sure the eminent judges would never declare a bad product one of the winners.

All the same, kudos to CyberXchange for this.


image credit:; austin cyril (screenshot);