Conestoga news

November 5, 2023 5:54 AM

Student hackathon focuses on applied learning for IT solutions

ConHacks, a Conestoga student hackathon, took place October 22 at the college’s Waterloo campus. The event welcomed nearly 100 students chosen through an application process, with most participants drawn from programs in the School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology.

ConHacks, a Conestoga student hackathon, took place October 22 at the college’s Waterloo campus.

For the day-long event, participants were organized into 28 teams to “hack” together an IT solution to a problem and then make a pitch and demonstration to a panel of judges. The teams were tasked with creating an educational and learning-focused solution that would assist a student, a professor, or a school.

Students began their work at 10:00 a.m. and had eight hours to complete their solution before presenting to a judging panel which included faculty from the School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology, as well as a member of the local technology industry. Teams were judged on their creativity, technical execution, design, and the practicality and impact of their solution.

"Along with strong technical skills, in our programs, we emphasize the importance of developing strong soft skills," said David Allison, chair, School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology. "This event provides students with hands-on learning and requires them to problem solve, communicate, manage their time and execute as a team. These are the skills employers are looking for, and we are thrilled to showcase the talent of our students.”

The winning entry was an application to automate student calendar creation, pulling class, task and assignment information from a student's online portal. Team members included Owen Garland, Tyler Scheifley, and Brodin Collins-Robb from the Bachelor of Computer Science (Honours) program, along with Jackson Whynott from the Computer Engineering Technology (Optional Co-op) program. In addition to a group prize of $200, Allison noted these students also have an accomplishment to add to their resumes.

ConHacks was initially a student idea and patterned after similar events. There are plans to build its profile for next year and allow applicants from outside Conestoga to participate.

Conestoga's School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology is based at the John W. Tibbits campus in Waterloo, with access to one of the fastest-growing technology sectors in North America. Leading-edge programs offer a 21st-century education that prepares graduates for exciting careers in the innovative information and communications technology world. With a strong connection to local industry, project-based and work-integrated learning enables students to solve real-world problems and engage in new technologies that empower a professional journey in a rapidly growing sector.