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On 11 and 12 February, Microsoft conducted its first virtual competitive hackathon event ‘Job Hack’ along with Blue Prism and Ernst & Young (EY). A total of 75 students across eight countries have completed the programme.

“It’s our first time to orchestrate the Job Hack 100% virtually,” said Leo Chan, HR director at Microsoft Hong Kong.

“Considering the positive feedback from our participants, we will definitely consider to keep the job hack virtual next year.”

Chan added that the main reason Microsoft has decided to go full-on digital this time is that they are a technology company that is capable of providing the platform and the programme aims to nurture new technology talents, apart from the obvious reason – the coronavirus outbreak.

Aiming to future proof the technology talent for Hong Kong, this year's two-day event takes up the theme ‘Empower Hong Kong’.

All university students can take part in the challenge, even those without any coding experience. Soft skills such as collaboration and the desire to learn new things will be sought after. On the first day of the job hack, each group received consulting advice from EY and Blue Prism on the technical and business feasibility of their pitch. On the second day, they presented their solutions to the judges.

“Our objectives in participants is to see if there are any new, innovative ideas that can be beneficial and applicable to the society,” said Nelson Chow, partner at Ernst & Young Advisory Services.

Commenting on the overall performance of this year’s participants, all of the judges spoke highly of them and were surprised of the quality of the solutions, even though the participants were given a limited amount of time to work on the solution.

The winning team comes from a STEM (science, tech, engineering and maths) background and came up with a solution to promote local tourism. They won a chance to interview for Microsoft’s Aspire programme.