Computing students at Edge Hill University recently took part in a major event organised by one of the UK’s leading technology innovators.

The Department of Computing, TalkTalk and Edge Hill’s Careers Service worked closely together to design a Hackathon event that would be an ideal way for students from all years of study to work with a leading company and gain invaluable experience.

“The Hackathon was a fantastic way of bringing students together to demonstrate their creativity by devising innovative solutions to real-world problems,” said Professor Mark Anderson of the Department of Computing.  “We launched the activity at the end of our Employability Conference and then set students the challenge of designing extensions to a mobile app developed by TalkTalk. The company provided access to the current app, along with usage data and technical mentors to assist the students with their efforts.”

“Not only was it an excellent opportunity to develop key employability skills, it also gave students the chance to work in teams, to design and negotiate solutions to problems and work with external customers to feedback concepts and develop ideas,” added Collette Gavan, Director of Undergraduate Programmes.

After being impressed with the high standard of work displayed by the students, the judging panel chose two teams to present their ideas before deciding on an outright winner. The winning team was selected because of the personal development they demonstrated throughout the whole process, as well as how the solution they created related to the company ethos of TalkTalk.

One member of the winning team, second year BSc (Hons) Computing student Gemma Watson, was delighted with her experience: “Taking part in the Hackathon taught me to believe in my abilities and I feel I now have greater confidence to tackle future challenges and try out new ideas. I really enjoyed the whole experience and look forward to taking part in more competitions to help with my future career ambitions.”

It was the first time Edge Hill had hosted such an event and Professor Anderson firmly believes it was the students who participated in the Hackathon that can take credit for its success.

“We are immensely proud of the students and the incredible effort they put in. Everyone who took part impressed both the Computing staff and TalkTalk with their ideas, engagement and presentation. We were also delighted that a significant number of fresher students took part.”

“This truly embodies the community spirit that the department promotes, which is to integrate all staff and students in departmental activities,” concluded Collette.

To find out more about studying computing at Edge Hill University, visit: www.edgehill.ac.uk/studycomputing