We’re taking OANDA’s internal “hacker” culture outside of the company with an aim to stimulate innovation in our community and on our own trading platform. To clarify, a “hack” is not about breaking into a computer system and stealing information. Hacking is about taking ideas, mashing them together, and producing a new product or service.
Though our internal 24-hour “hackathons” tend to be sugar- and caffeine-induced fun, they also encourage collaboration, unlock creativity, and can produce practical solutions. For instance, our fxTradeNOW browser extension is an example of a hack being developed into a product for our customers. (Stay tuned to this blog for news about enhancements to fxTradeNOW coming in March)
Giving back to our tech community
HackerNest is Canada's largest informal technology meet-up community with more than 2,000 members. Each month, the organizers hold a ‘Tech Social’ in Toronto where a few hundred developers, designers, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs gather to discuss the latest and greatest trends in the tech industry.
By sponsoring HackerNest Toronto, OANDA will be building on the community outreach efforts we’ve been increasingly undertaking over the last few months, including contributing open source code to the GitHub online community and attending and participating in other public hackathons in Toronto and New York City.
Our motivation for sponsoring HackerNest Toronto is fivefold:
*Recruiting: getting involved is a great way to encourage some of the incredibly smart people that attend HackerNest to join the team at OANDA. Are you a developer seeking employment with one of the best technology companies in Canada? Get in touch with us.
*Education: there is opportunity aplenty at this event for our engineers to learn new things as well as to give back to the community by helping others with the projects they’re developing.
*Partnerships: our open application programming interface (API) strategy benefits from developers using our platform. The HackerNest Toronto Tech Socials will provide attendees with the means to build their hacks on the OANDA API.
*Awareness: to quote our CEO K Duker during his recent Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session, “We have one of the finest engineering teams in the world. We should stop pretending that we do not.” OANDA isn't as well-known a name in the Toronto tech community as it should be and we're working on changing that.
*Community Outreach: we want to give back to the Canadian technology community by participating in these dynamic events and through providing our open API as a free platform for other developers to build their projects on.
More internal Hack Day innovations
Meanwhile, OANDA’s most recent Hack Day challenge held at our development office in Toronto last January produced some interesting creations. Among them: a real-time multiplayer forex game played on your mobile device that allows you to trade with up to four friends in real-time and earn rewards, using a wireless EEG headset to measure one’s mental focus to trigger a trade (think mind control), and the ability to visualize phases and frequency correlations in forex data.
Some of the latest hacks may eventually be developed into future products (no, not mind control) including ‘Roboinvest for Forex’ (implementing this social investing platform to allow forex clients to opt-in as traders and allow others to follow them to duplicate their trading activity), ‘WebSocket Streaming API’ (an open standards based-API for third party applications to consume streaming OANDA Rates on a variety of platforms), and Webhooks (user-defined HTTP call-backs as an instant notification mechanism).
We encourage you to get involved with our Hack Days too by suggesting a hack for our team to build. What would you like to see us try to create in just 24 hours? Please make your suggestions in the comments box below.