A headshot of Gavin Henderson

Gavin Henderson


Reading Time: 3 minutes

October 30, 2018

This month I am going to change things up a little from the usual format, I'm going to reflect on what I learnt this month in general rather than talking about a specific project. This is mainly because this month I took part in Glasgow Uni Hackathon as well as an event at Google so I really want to focus on them. I'm really keen to hear what people think about this new approach to my blog so message me on LinkedIn if you have any feedback or suggestions.

First up is the Hackathon put on by Glasgow Uni Tech Society (GUTS) which I went along to with 5 friends. Its the second time we have been along to GUTS and they really do put on one of the best Hackathons I've been to. We took on a challenge given by SAS, a data analysis company. They gave a very general brief for their challenge which was to create a platform to analyse audio data in real time. We came up with varying ideas but we landed on the idea of analysing calls in order to improve the quality of interactions with people in call centers.

The platform allowed call center employees to login and then see transcriptions of the call they were on in real time. The transcription was then sent to IBM Watson so it could be mined for sentiment as well as other things. All of the data taken from the transcriptions could then be viewed by someone who had an admin account. I find that Hackathons make for a pretty interesting and realistic work environment. We tend to go along to these things mainly for to have a mess about but it often spins into a good idea that we get super keen on. We all eventually end up tired and grumpy so its always interesting to see how people react to that situation. Luckily when we are tired we just end up talking nonsense and making terrible jokes which is always good fun.

My Team onstage at the GUTS hackathon

Second up is init.g, which was an event put on by Google for students to come to their offices and learn about information security. The first day we were there we went along to the Google CTF awards ceremony to meet with the best CTF teams from across the world. After the prizes were given out we were given the chance to meet all the other students before the workshops began. We spent the next two days at the Google office learning about how information security works at Google and getting wowed by all the clever people giving talks. Highlights include hearing from people who have taken part in the vulnerability reward program and how they found the vulnerabilities that they reported. We were also given the chance to complete the beginner CTF challenges, getting help from the people who actually created the challenges which was pretty cool.

Overall the experience was pretty surreal. I got to meet other students who were equally passionate about information security and who share a passion for technology. Each person had a totally different passion for technology so it was really cool to just listen to other people who knew so much about the stuff they loved.

A colourful building, the google offices

I had a pretty awesome month as you can see from this post. Im starting to get stuck into Uni assignments now so next month might not be as fun so we will see!