Conestoga news

January 17, 2013 3:52 PM

Student app impresses RIM

When Conestoga student Sumeet Gill won a hackathon hosted by Research in Motion in November 2012, no one was more surprised than him.

“I knew people from the industry would be competing, so my expectations were quite low in terms of winning,” said the third-year computer programmer/analyst student. “I just wanted to go to the event to get a different perspective on how to change and improve my app by people in the industry.”

The objective of the KWBBDev BB10 Mini-Hackathon, which took place at the Communitech Hub in downtown Kitchener, was to design a mobile app to be used for the BlackBerry 10, which RIM will release Jan. 30.

Competitors were given several hours to build and fine-tune their app, which they then presented to a panel of three judges, including two from RIM. Scoring was based on the originality of the idea, the technical difficulty of coding the app and the overall presentation.

Gill’s winning solution, which earned him 32-GB BlackBerry Playbook, was a mobile app providing public transportation users with the Grand River Transit bus schedule. He said he had been working on the project for several school assignments prior to entering the competition.

Following his victory, Gill credited one particular course and one particular instructor for his success.

“I would like to thank Meyer Tanuan for teaching PROG3180 - Programming: Mobile Applications. He was an excellent teacher and he went well out of his way to help get his students involved in events such as the hackathon that I participated in.

“Without this course I would have had a hard time learning to make mobile apps on my own and without Meyer I would not have been involved in these events at all.” According to Gill it is experiences like this one that makes his time at Conestoga feel worthwhile.

“Honestly, it felt great to win,” he said. “It really reinforced the fact that what I’m doing in school is applicable in the workplace.”

Story by Ryan Bowman, second-year student in Conestoga's Print-Journalism program.