HKD 2.2: Final chance to attend popular Belfast Hackathon event

  • Hackathons are an ideal way for the smart and curious minds to learn about and solve problems that affect the local community using Tech for good. We caught up with Chris Roe and Tim Cush, Manager and Director from headline sponsor EY Northern Ireland’s Technology Consulting team, ahead of the HKD Hackathon this Saturday, 25th March, at Ormeau Baths in Belfast.

    Q. Hackathons are all about exploring social and economic issues in a fun and friendly environment with like-minded people with similar interests. Who typically attends these events?

    Everyone and anyone can attend the Hackathon. There is a misconception that only coders or data scientists can participate – this is most definitely not the case. The best teams are the ones that are most diverse and bring a different array of skill sets to the table – some may be good at data analysis or web development, and others may be better at preparing the final presentation and public speaking to deliver the solution in the evening! The event is open to all students and also those more experienced (we even had a school pupil on one of our teams last month!). Everyone is welcome, no matter what your background is, and here at EY, we very much encourage and nurture that D&I mindset of high-performance teaming!

    Q. This weekend’s Hackathon at the Ormeau Baths is the last in this series – what have been the main take aways from the first two events?

    The last two events have been very successful and enjoyable, with some fantastically creative solutions presented. It is great to see so much diverse teaming and networking at the events, and the inclusivity of people from different backgrounds. It is also great to see the genuine enthusiasm from so many like-minded people giving up their Saturday to get stuck into the Hackathon challenges and have some fun along the way.

    Q. This last event will focus on our local water supply and consumption, and the decline of new business formation in N. Ireland. What particular problems will the attendees attempt to solve?

    These are real-life challenges that our Technology Consulting and Data Analytics team work on daily with real local clients. The previous Hackathon events in December and February focused on challenges related to domestic and international tourism in NI, the NI economy and rising costs of living, sustainability and environmental trends in NI, transport routes across NI, and the trends of sustainable electricity usage and the how smart metering may play a future role in this space.

    Q. What can participants expect on the day and what sort of impact can they achieve in the real world?

    The day starts with an opening plenary from us at EY, and also from About Blank Creative and QUB. Then the participants are put into teams, if they haven’t already arrived with pre-organised teams. The teams will then spend the rest of the day working on their chosen challenge, before presenting their final solution to a panel of judges, and the other teams, in the evening.

    The Hackathon challenges are designed to be similar to real-life challenges that local organisations are currently facing. The teams will draw on their range of tech stack skills and use of digital and emerging technologies, as well as their teaming and presentation skills, to devise high-quality outputs as we have seen at previous events. Throughout the day, there will be members of the EY Technology Consulting team on hand to assist.

    Q. Hackathons are held over a full day – how do you keep everyone entertained and nourished?

    The day may seem long, especially on a Saturday, but time flies when you’re engaged and focused. Throughout the day, there is plenty of interaction between the team members and EY, QUB and About Blank Creative facilitators. In the afternoon, typically the EY team will run an aptly-themed spot-prize competition and quiz. Lunch is provided, and plenty of pizza is provided in the evening before the final presentations.

    Q. How much are tickets and how do I apply?

    Tickets are free and can be reserved now using the link below. Places are limited, so please be quick to avoid the disappointment of missing out! Click here to apply.

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