The ever-changing landscape of hackathons has rapidly advanced the Indian IT industry and helped organizations identify and recognize budding engineers and tech enthusiasts, like me, while creating a platform for learning.

While I participated in a few hackathons organized in my college, this was my first chance to participate in a challenge, organized by an IT company.

I decided to take up the challenge of participating in the Tally CodeBrewers — a virtual campus hackathon organized by Tally Solutions, on an individual basis.

Statement of the problem

The problem statement we needed to solve was to develop a scalable and efficient URL shortener. Scalability, security, performance and usability were key requirements. It also required us to develop a login or registration page.

In addition to the mandatory aspects, an optional scope has been provided to create additional statistical and analytical aspects for admin users.

At first it seemed simple, but what I didn’t realize was that the procedure is a maze, especially since I didn’t have access to servers, or experience with URL shortening, or understanding of analysis.

Solution

I managed to access a server through Heroku, which provides a free server to users. Also, to shorten the URLs, I set up a counter variable to generate a hash, which updated the URL. As for analysis, my basic knowledge combined with the advice of my mentor allowed me to make graphs and analyze data.

After building a UI for the problem, I started researching how to scale my project. I delved into system design principles to address this issue and explored the concept of load balancers, single point of failure (SPOF), and handling concurrency issues.

In the live demo, the final panel added value to my project with their strong reviews and valuable feedback. It was great to win and not only improve my development skills, but also get a taste of the professional world. The knowledge I gained from this hackathon will create an advantage and help me when I look for job opportunities or decide to pursue higher education.

The author is a student at PES University in Bangalore.