Lessons Learnt As a Python Mentor for Citi Data Hackathon with Girls in Tech


Yesterday it one of my first time helping out like a python coding mentor for Data science related hackathon organised by Girls in Tech and Citibank

It was quite an interesting event because it was one of the shortest hackathons that I had ever been to that which is about 2 and 1/2 hours.

Besides that, the focus of this data hackathon was to build a product with an existing use case that is not really a common theme for the hackathon that I had attended in the past. 

Which is to create a functioning prototype of a summarizing tool that aims to help Citi's clients in saving time and effort to read through the massive amount of publications that is published on a monthly basis.

These are the lessons that I had learnt while talking to the participants who were building the tool and the organisers who were hosting the event.

There are Multiple Ways To Skin a Cat

Across the teams, there were multiple strategies adopted by the teams to fulfil the task that was given to them. 

Some teams took the approach of using the highest frequency of words in the articles to provide summaries, the others compared multiple text summary algorithms to get the best summary algorithms.

There was even a technical advance team that applied one of  Google's research paper for text summary algorithms to produce the text summary.

This made me realised that data science is somewhat similar to software development in our approach in dealing with problems using libraries or techniques to get a job done with no single correct answer to a problem.

Be a Great Listener and Ask Questions

By listening to conversations and asking questions has allowed me to understand tech for the banking sector and data science as a whole instead of the usual fluff whenever there is a conversation about FinTech & Data Science.

Like did you know that for banks there are certain restrictions placed upon data science teams and developers on the use of new technology? 

From my understanding due to their banking regulations, every new technology or library, even open source technology. Has to go through a strict security audit and vetting process to look for software vulnerabilities.

This process might take months before you could adopt it as part of your technology stack.


Overall it was a wonderful experience by the organisers from Citibank and Girls in Tech in helping out as a Coding Mentor. It definitely opened my eyes to Citibank's culture, with a focus on technology & entrepreneurship that rivals big tech companies like Facebook, Google or Microsoft.

Girls in Tech