La Fosse Academy associate wins tech hackathon and is invited to 10 Downing Street

To help in the fight against organised crime and cyber threats, the data science team at Evidence House – in partnership with the National Crime Agency and 10 Downing Street – ran a three-day hackathon, challenging teams to build a product that would help to protect the public from online crime.

Utilising skills developed on the La Fosse Academy programme, associate Zahra Mahmood was delighted to be part of the winning team. Having initially created a URL scanning and reviewing service, Zahra designed and created an accompanying website to make the product more user-friendly for the general public.

Currently one year into her Academy placement at the Department of Transport, Zahra’s skills were quickly recognised by the hackathon judges, who were so impressed that they invited the group to present their product at 10 Downing Street.

Speaking to La Fosse, Zahra said: “It’s so surreal, I had a feeling we might win as our project was so innovative, but I never imagined they’d want to turn it into a real thing!

My team were all data scientists, and I was the only developer, so they worked on the machine learning model, and I worked on the frontend, connected the API, and styled it to look like a proper government website.

It was really cool [to visit 10 DowningStreet]. We actually saw the Prime Minister; he waved and said hello.

My training at La Fosse Academy helped us win from understanding how to deploy a website and building it in React to integrating API. They taught lots of different areas of development, learning about different libraries and programmes and doing regular presentations which has built up my confidence. [The trainers] really make you think about solving problems and developing that vital skill.

La Fosse Academy has definitely accelerated my career. Going into a placement at the end of the training has given me a really good foundation to build my future career.

I feel so proud [of the hackathon win]. It’s going to be amazing to see this come to life and really help people.

Director of La Fosse Academy, Sophie Hebdidge, was delighted to congratulate Zahra on her success:

“Congratulations Zahra - you should be incredibly proud of this accomplishment. Your achievements are a testament to the hard work and dedication you've put into your new career in tech!”

Want to achieve great things in the tech industry? Find out more about La Fosse Academy.

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