Aligning with our mission of making IT good for society, we wanted to give students from around the world the opportunity to put into practice their learning at university to tackle societal challenges.

Over two days students were allocated into one of three categories (education, health, and sustainability). Utilising their academic knowledge, our expert guest speakers and BCS HQ mentors they developed their ideas into the beginnings of valuable solutions to real world problems.

Focus on making IT good for society

At BCS we recognise that digital technologies have the power to connect people, protect people, and even save lives. Throughout the pandemic it has been a lifeline for all of us, for socialising, entertainment, news, education, shopping and exercise – everything basically! Over the last two years we’ve relied on digital more than ever, and we’ve relied on the people who create and sustain these technologies too.

Alongside these society wide concerns, we are aware that one of the major challenges facing students is navigating the bridge between education and the working world. With these two concerns in mind, we wanted to create a fun and inspiring event in which we could support students to put some of their learning into practice whilst acknowledging the kinds of spaces they may move into once they graduate.

Guest speakers and talks

On day one of the hackathon students were invited to attend three talks from experts in the various fields that coincided with our category topics. These were as follows:

Katie MacLure, Chair of the BCS Health and Care Scotland branch provided a fascinating talk that gave an informative over of the many ways tech is used in the health care sector. This was valuable to students in helping them get the ball rolling when it came to developing their ideas during the hackathon. Katie also gave a particular focus to ethics throughout her discussion with students giving them another perspective of what is important when it comes to the role of tech in the health sector.

Alex Bardell, Chair of the Green IT specialist group provided students with a candid conversation into the many facets of the role of tech in our drive for sustainability. The relevant nature of this topic within society, now more than ever, made this a deeply fascinating discussion.

John Maskrey, Senior Digital Product Developer at BCS gave students a talk about designing digital learning content. John’s ability to provide examples of his work was invaluable to the students in this space and is really inspired their learning and gave more of a concrete example of how to develop their ideas throughout the next stages of the hackathon.

Finally, on day two, Hannah Reay-Jones, Student Engagement Co-ordinator at BCS provided a talk on how to utilise the hackathon in their move to industry. During this conversation students were given tips and exercises to practice talking about the experience in both written and oral formats. The detailed discussion surrounding CVs, interviews and assessment centres as well as the importance of self-reflection was a really interesting exercise.

Presentations and results

At the end of the second day, it was finally time for the presentations and to announce the winner of the hackathon.

All judges unanimously agreed that Abdulmalik Adegoke from the University of Dundee was our winner. His project was centred around our societal problem of financial illiteracy and presented his design of an educational app to work towards re-educating the nation. He went into great depth exploring this issue, providing solutions for all age groups.

The app looked to include a range of learning experiences from educational gaps to an established community of learners and educators.  The great success of his project was the ability self-reflect and acknowledge the complexities and challenges the project would face. Nevertheless, his passion and well thought out research is greatly commendable! Congratulations Abdulmalik!