Bedfordshire Chapter - TUI Hackathon

On Saturday 4 - Sunday 5 February 2017 The University of Bedfordshire Chapter held a Hackathon in association with TUI.

Bedford University - TUI Hackathon (1)

Sue Brandreth, the Chapter’s Faculty Advisor supported the chapter in organising the event. In her general overview of the weekend, she reports…

‘The University’s A Block was buzzing with student activity last weekend due to the programming Hackathon organised as a joint collaboration between the University of Bedfordshire BCS Student Chapter, the CST School and TUI, Luton. TUI UK & Ireland is the UK’s largest tour operator with key brands including Thomson, First Choice and Crystal Ski Holidays, and they employ a team of 13,300 employees serving over 5.2million UK customers each year - with their UK head-quarters in Luton. The Hackathon was the first of many joint ventures planned for the future.

The event was also generously supported by The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS).

This was a great opportunity for future graduates to get advice from Industry experts, meet TUI’s current IT Graduates, and develop their skills.

Nearly 50 CST Computing students attended the weekend event - including Year 1, Year 2, Year 3 and MSc students and were supported by CST staff as well as TUI staff - including the impressive IT Graduate team and others from TUI’s software development team - all actively providing support to the students during the weekend. In all, an action packed weekend was planned with various talks, optional Hackathon activities and workshops.

Bedford University - TUI Hackathon (2)

Fuelled by pizza, coffee and tea, all of the students stayed for both days and many kept programming over Saturday night! An impressive array of solutions to the scenarios were developed - and students at all levels felt appropriately challenged and admitted to really enjoying the experience. As a bonus, the TUI team also identified many individuals as potential TUI IT Graduate Scheme recruits.

The real live scenarios were developed by the TUI team and they focused on some key area of the customer journey that could be enhanced by technology. The scenarios key areas included: The Searching Experience, The Airport Experience, The Cruise and Hotel Experience and Exploring the Destination.

Bedford University - TUI Hackathon (3)

The finale included the difficult task of judging the impressive solutions, followed by presentations to the seven categories of award winners.

The overall winners were Laszlo Szoboszlai, Sebastian Grygiel and Lukasz Kaleta (The Meowing Humans group).’

Other awards granted during the event included, ‘Best User Interface’, ‘Best Overall Idea’ and ‘Best Technical Development’

Bedford University - TUI Hackathon (4)

Sue Brandreth goes on to say…

‘The Hackathon was a great success with students being given the benefit of meeting and being coached by member of TUI’s software development team, tackling real live scenarios, and being appropriately challenged whatever their level of knowledge and expertise. I consider this venture more of a fun learning experience than a competition - although there were some extremely competitive individuals - some of whom are Hackathon veterans.

It is hoped that this successful venture will be the first of many projects arranged as a collaboration between the University of Bedfordshire BCS Student Chapter, CST School and TUI. It is planned that a small group of students will visit TUI headquarters shortly to shadow TUI software developers and to experience a, ‘Day in the Life of a Software Developer’’ in the near future.

The TUI IT Graduate Scheme provides a 2-year development programme with rotation across 4 different roles within IT including Portfolio Management, IT Security, Service Delivery, and Software Engineering. The role supports many aspects of the business operations - TUI’s retail stores and websites, aircraft, cruise ships and overseas operations - and provides a solid foundation in the core elements of IT.’

There was also great feedback from the Students on the day…

‘I found the Hackathon to be an excellent opportunity to learn new skills, network with both students and industry professionals, and overall a very enjoyable event that I'm proud to have participated in.’

Philip Neale, Second Year Computing student - BSc (Hons) Computer Security and Forensics

‘The TUI Hackathon was a great experience and we had a lot of fun. We got to meet the existing TUI graduates and got to talk about their experiences as graduates.

It was hard staying up all night and working nonstop but at the end it paid off. We received the best technical development award from TUI. This was a fun experience and I would love to work with TUI again in the future.’

Aqib Bashir, Third Year Computing student - BSc (Hons) Computer Science and Software Engineering

‘I found the Hackathon very joyful. The TUI staff were surprisingly helpful, even when you didn't want to communicate with them, they would turn up and give a hand. I personally gained a lot of knowledge on databases and met new people I otherwise would not have spoken to.’

Faisal Hoque, First Year Computing student - BSc (Hons) Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

BCS would like to thank Sue Brandreth and the University of Bedfordshire Chapter for all their hard work in organising this fantastic event.

You can see what Students, CST and TUI staff tweeted about the event under the hashtag #TUIBedsHackathon. For more information, please visit http://tui-bedfordshire-hackathon.com