Hackathon meeting hatches job offer for data science graduate


In 2016, Huyen Nguyen was fresh out of graduate school and looking for opportunities to work in the data science industry. She attended Unearthed Brisbane 2016 hoping to network with people and gain an insight into what hackathons were all about.

Luckily, the first person she spoke with was John Vial; a well connected hackathon veteran. Huyen asked John if he could help her to get a foot in the door. John was very helpful and after he interviewed for a position at global multi-disciplinary management, engineering and development consultancy Hatch that he was not able to take up, he referred Huyen to their Chief Data Scientist. That very introduction lead to an interview, after which she landed the job.

The Hatch data science team is now growing and Huyen thoroughly enjoys working there.

"I am thankful for the fortuitous meeting with John and the opportunity to meet cool, smart people at Unearthed Brisbane in helping me get where I am today" - Huyen Nguyen.


Team Hatch at Unearthed Brisbane 2017

Huyen attended Unearthed Brisbane again this year with a team of Hatch colleagues, so we decided to ask her a few questions about how she found the event and what she thinks makes for a successful hackathon experience.

  • What do you think makes for a successful hackathon team?

It would have to be a mix of talents. In my team we had a good level of talent diversity. Usually diversity of backgrounds creates good solutions. The Hatch team was made up of 6 people: 2 engineers, 3 data scientists and 1 software engineer.

  • Which skills did you bring to your team and how did you form your team?

I am a data scientist and we came to the event as a multi-disciplinary team. We picked Origin Energy's third innovation challenge to improve driver safety by leveraging existing data and devices. We analysed and visualised the data, but didn't quite get to develop the app due to time constraints.

  • Why did you attend the hackathon and what did you get out of it?

Hackathons are fun and it is a great opportunity to meet other people in the field.  I find it fascinating what people can do these days and to see students and young professionals' capabilities in action. Unearthed Brisbane also presented a good business and networking opportunity for Hatch.

I met many interesting people: speaking to Unearthed Accelerator Director Kathy Bunce and the Origin mentors was fascinating, along with all of the other participants.

  • What would be your top three tips for people participating? 

With networking as a priority:

  1. Be friendly and curious about what people do
  2. Build a team with diverse talents
  3. Have fun! Don't stress too much about winning, as the process is so rewarding
  • What do you think the main barriers are for people attending hackathons?

I think there is certainly a technical barrier. I still feel intimidated from time to time, as tech is advancing so fast and it's hard to keep up. The weekend-long event is also a fairly big commitment if you work or study full time and have family or other outside commitments.

  • Has attending the hackathon event changed the way you think about innovation, startups, and entrepreneurship in the mining industry?

The first time I attended Unearthed Brisbane in 2016 it was surprising, as I wasn't aware of the level of mining industry interest in open innovation initiatives. But now, I can see that it is a trend that is taking over all industries. The only way to survive is to become digital and evolve. That is to be expected now.

  • Anything else you would like to let people know about your experience?

I had a lot of fun and I am grateful for the opportunity to come and hang out with smart, cool and interesting people. I'm hopeful about where the resources sector is headed and I think Unearthed is making a very positive contribution to the industry.


Unearthed would like to congratulate Huyen Nguyen on commencing her data science career at Hatch and is thankful for her taking the time to share the insights she gained from participating at our hackathon events.

To register your interest for our upcoming Digital Tribes hackathon, visit: https://www.unearthed.solutions/digital-tribes-perth/

For more information about upcoming Unearthed events, visit: https://portal.unearthed.solutions/