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Goldman Sachs Partners with Symphony to Host its First Hackathon

Over 100 students from 29 US schools came to our headquarters at 200 West Street in Manhattan to participate in the first ever Goldman Sachs student hackathon – hosted in partnership with Symphony – on February 28, 2015.

CodeGS challenged college sophomores and juniors to put their coding skills to work to create new and useful extensions to the communications platform, Symphony, in just six hours. The winning team, StockUp, received a two-night trip to Symphony headquarters in Palo Alto, while the three top teams also received six months of mentorship from Goldman Sachs Engineering colleagues along with invitations to interview for a summer 2015 internship.

“This is an exciting time to be building software in financial services - by making it open, extensible and hackable, in a positive way. Students could write something awesome today which we will ship, and soon, everyone in finance will use,” said Paul Walker, co-head of the Technology Division, who kicked off the day’s festivities along with Darren Cohen, head of the Principal Strategic Investments (PSI) team in Securities. Darren added: “Technology is no longer an enabler of our business; it is the core of our business.”

Symphony is the Goldman Sachs-led industry initiative to build a secure, cloud-based communications platform. The winning extension, StockUp, will allow Symphony to integrate real-time stock ticker updates, which the day’s judges confirmed that users have enthusiastically requested. Using financial news data APIs, StockUp allows users to access information such as current value and historical analysis; providing interaction with a stock’s historical graph, and a look at trends over different date ranges. The plug in was developed using an open-source web application framework, allowing for greater ease and simplicity in future development.

Students were excited to peek into the firm’s engineering culture and learn from the Goldman Sachs and Symphony developers and engineers, who served as mentors to each team throughout the day. User Experience team members, Nikki and Tamara, also offered a Lightning Talk, which inspired several of the top teams’ presentations.

The individual attention that our mentors paid to us was great, and helped me learn a lot about using JavaScript and web APIs.
- Student participant of CodeGS