I am working in a engineering team to develop open source UI libraries for Azure Communication Services. The public preview packages for UI libraries was released in November, 2021. Currently, we are preparing towards general availability with additional features.

Our team goal is to receive feedback about API’s while we are in public preview, as the interface can be changed. As a UBC alumni and nwHack participant, I was aware that many organizations present API’s so that students can build projects using presented API’s.

Looking at nwHack details, the event website indicated that nwHack event will be in person event. This was a perfect timing for our team to preset web and mobile UI libraries. The nwHack was planned on January 15th, 2022 and I was little worried to plan about sponsorship, event preparation as most of team members were on vacation in December, 2021.

Once I received a green signal from engineering managers to sponsor event, I quickly followed up with nwHack team to get the sponsorship package. At same time, me, Anjul and Jim formed a team to prepare for event.


Our three members team (me, Anjul and Jim) scheduled quick discussion between us to plan all the nwHack events. Initially, our team ACS (Azure Communication Services) opted for gold sponsorship. We were required to planning for only workshop and boothing. In last week of December, because of British Columbia Covid restrictions nwHack changed events to virtual and converted our gold package to platinum in same budget. The platinum sponsorship added additional events like, quiz, sponsored Q&A and mini games to our event preparation list.


We planned Hackathon for following activities.

  • Engage with students to share opportunities at Microsoft
  • Create awareness of Azure Communication UI Libraries
  • Receive feedback on Azure Communication Services to improve API’s

Budget, Prizes

As this was our first time conducting Hackathon at Microsoft, we were not aware of the process to get budget. Our group engineering manager helped us to get budget by communicating with Microsoft university contact team.

Because of chip shortage, we were not able to arrange devices for winner students. Luckily, we were able to get budget from cash prizes.

Team Formation

Me, Jim and Anjul communicated with our teams to participate in nwHack. It was nice to see that many team members volunteered to participate as mentors. Once we reached to count of ten, we shared team list with nwHack team. We diversified mentors team by including engineers from Web, Android, iOS and backend.


The nwHack team shared the list of below events for platinum sponsors. It is great to see the events planned by nwHack team. All the events were good enough for students to get required knowledge as well as for organizations to create impact.

The sponsored prize is specific to organization goal. As our goal was to conduct feedback on Azure Communication Services, our winning criteria was to use at least one ACS UI library. We were able to get the budget for sponsored prize.

Keynote and Pitch

During keynote, we planned a 5 minute live presentation to introduce Azure Communication Services. With introduction, we also shared use cases so that students can come up with few ideas of developing communication product. Pitch was an quick 30 second live video to talk about sponsored prize.


During workshop, we demoed how to integrate UI libraries into existing application. We also talked about how to leverage ACS backend to develop Teams like application. We presented Android, iOS and React UI libraries with setup and setting up resource connection string tutorial. The students participation in workshop was amazing. As per participation, we hoped many students will develop projects using ACS UI libraries.


We hosted trivia for 30 minutes. We included questions from history, technology, analytics. The event helped students to relax a bit :) (no coding)


Microsoft recruitment team participated in an hour meeting scheduled by nwHack to answer co-op as well as full time hiring questions. In addition to hiring questions, students also asked questions about culture. This was an excellent event for student to understand the culture as well as hiring process.

It was a most fun part of nwHack for me. As a mentor, I joined nwHack Sponsored Q&A. I was thinking here students will ask questions about technical projects or nwHack projects. However, in this session questions was about hobbies, difference between small and big organizations. I was not prepared and never answered this type of questions. I answered all questions on the spot, with information that I have :)


Finally, we received 5 projects leveraging ACS UI library. From these projects, we selected a winner and a honorable project. It was awesome to see how quickly students adapted UI libraries.


There are many learnings from nwHack 2022. In this post, I will talk about two.

Building a team

It is always great to indicate the responsibilities when you are building a team and hire candidates for specific responsibility.

We shared, below text to receive interest of team members to participate as mentor in nwHack.

  • “We are conducting nwHack 2022 in January. The following events will be conducted at nwHack. Please let us know if you want to participate.”

We received response of many team members. After building team, we realized that all members are only interested to conduct workshop, not other events.

I think we should have posted below:

  • “We are conducting nwHack 2022 in January. The following events will be conducted at nwHack. Please let us know if you want to participate and share the event name that you will like to organize.”

Conducting a workshop

During workshop, we started with introduction of ACS and demoed about leveraging ACS UI libraries into application. During nwHack mentorship sessions, many students asked basic questions about UI libraries.

I think, we should have prepared an use case (may be small example). Then we should have developed that project in workshop by considering backend and frontend. This format should have helped to answer many questions of students.

Finally, It was great experience to interact with students at nwHack. The feedback received from students will help us to shape our product and I learned how to organize Hackathon.