Imagine Cup North East Hack

Member Article

IT students hack their way into Microsoft competition

This weekend (1-2nd February) teams of North East students will come together to design and develop mobile applications and games which could help address some of the world’s most pressing issues.

The students are taking part in the Imagine Cup North East 36-hour ‘hackathon’ event organised by Sunderland Software City.

The event, which is being held at the Centre for Life, Newcastle, is part of a series of events hosted by Sunderland Software City to help university and college students submit entries into the prestigious Microsoft Imagine Cup competition, a global competition where teams of students from over 190 countries design and submit applications and games which raise awareness or address a social, economical or environmental issue.

At the event next weekend, students will work with some of the region’s most experienced software specialists to design and begin developing their applications. Three groups will then be selected to represent the region in the competitions UK finals in March.

One finalist from the UK will then be flown to the competitions global final in St Petersburg, Russia in July to represent the country and be in with the chance to win cash prizes of up to £15,000.

The North East has a formidable reputation for producing UK finalists, with a team from Northumbria University, Team Eyeworks winning the UK finals last year and going on to represent the UK at the global finals in Australia with their entry, a mobile app that helps spot the early signs of sight loss.

Team Eyeworks member Riccardo Viglianisi said: “The Imagine Cup opened so many doors for me and was a brilliant experience of not only taking your idea for an application and developing it into an actual product but also of developing skills such as team work, project management and marketing.

“I would recommend anyone interested in a career in developing or coding or those with an idea for a game or app to enter the competition; it could change your life.”

The second place accolade in last year’s UK finals also went to a team from the North East, Teesside 0x32 from Teesside University.

At the hack event students will be able to draw on the skills and knowledge of experienced developers as well as attend workshops and seminars designed to prepare teams for competing nationally.

NEBytes founder and Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) Andrew Westgarth will host the event.

Andrew, a Technical Architect at Sage said: “It is a pleasure to be involved in the Imagine Cup North East and work with the students to help develop their ideas for innovative apps and games.

“It is a very prestigious and worthwhile competition for the students to be involved in and also gives them unrivalled practical experience of app and game development.

“The hackathon is a 36-hour residential event where teams will come along with their ideas and leave with functioning applications. It is an intense and highly creative experience, but thanks to a kind donation by Red Bull, our teams will have the fuel they need to code and develop world-class applications.”

All entrants will also receive a £15 gift voucher for Frankie & Benny’s for attending the hack event.

Over the past ten years, 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries have participated in the competition. Last year’s theme, ‘Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems’ saw entries that included projects to reduce the number of road traffic deaths, applications to help the partially sighted and a game which raises awareness of the dangers of forest fires.

David Dunn, chief executive officer at Sunderland Software City, said: “Having two teams from the North East come first and second in last year’s competition highlights the wealth of software talent and innovation we have here in the region.

“This year, we are hoping that another North East team will represent the UK in the worldwide finals in Russia and further strengthen the region’s already impressive reputation within the international software community.”

The Microsoft Imagine Cup is open to all students aged 16 and over and those who have graduated within the last year.

Students or graduates with an idea for an app or game, or coding, design and project management skills and an interest in software development are still able to sign-up to attend the Hackathon. To register contact Emma Lawson on 0191 305 5168 or visit for more information.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Amy Watson .

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