This summer we hosted our seventh annual Kainos CodeCamp in Belfast! This two-week summer camp gives 14-18 year old students a unique opportunity to develop themselves and their careers in software. This year we had around 200 campers from all over Northern Ireland!

In Belfast we held two camps, Foundation and Advanced. Our Foundation campers learned how to design and develop apps in App Inventor. The Advanced campers learned how to develop a website using HTML and CSS. They enjoyed plenty of tutorial sessions to get everyone skilled up, gaining knowledge in new areas through a series of breakout sessions on Python, C#, offline web and cyber security. They also enjoyed a great range of talks during the two weeks, giving valuable insight into different technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, blockchain and indie games development to name a few!

CodeCamp 2019’s theme was community. In the spirit of this, we hosted two fantastic panel discussions: one from Women Who Code, allowing our campers to hear some inspiring words of advice from local Women in Tech and about how they’ve kicked off their careers; and one where our campers heard from members of different local communities such as local university societies including Queen’s and Ulster University’s computing societies, Queen’s Physics and Maths Society and local meet-up groups AINI and Charged! This panel gave our campers a taste of tech outside of work and allowed them to find out more about communities they could become a part of.

Throughout the two weeks we had some great activities and team-building exercises for our campers. Our first day we had a BeatSaber tournament, giving our campers an exciting VR experience! This was followed by a contest to design team logos; it was brilliant to see everyone taking part and working together before the end of day one. They also enjoyed a robotics workshop where our campers programmed Arduino-based robots to navigate through a maze, and a paper airplane competition where our campers had to tackle various obstacles with their paper planes to score points.

But CodeCamp isn’t all about tech fun! Helping our campers prep for their future careers, they heard about our Earn As You Learn scheme here at Kainos from Maeve and Jessica, who joined the scheme in September 2018. They also found out what it’s like to study at Queen’s from Annalisa, who joined Kainos for placement then returned after the completion of her degree at Queen’s University.

Tutorials, talks and workshops over, the second week saw our campers get the chance to put all their newfound knowledge into action as they began designing and developing their apps.

From each group of twenty campers, we selected a finalist who went on to present to our Dragon’s Den Judges: Claire Wilgar from Bazaarvoice/Women Tech Makers Belfast, Cormac Quinn from LoyalBe, Brendan Drain from Sync NI, David Cutting from QUB and Kris Thompson from Danske Bank. The judging panel did a fantastic job – it was very hard for us to choose the finalists, and even harder to choose between them!

As well as 50 spot prizes given out throughout the two weeks of CodeCamp. we had ten fantastic prizes to give away to our Dragon’s Den finalists – a massive thank you to Danske Bank for sponsoring our range of fantastic prizes.

Winners

Foundation camp:

First place – Ellie Knox – “Avatar Studio”

Avatar Studio is a character customization app
featuring sleek UI design and high quality art. Customization features allow
for different looks (All hand-drawn)! Avatar Studio allows the user create a
foundation of their avatar that can have extra individual details added on top.
Using your own images rather than random ones found on the web not only adds
individuality but also prevents accidental copyright breaches.

Second place – Keelan O’Kane –  “Checkd?age”

An app that lets you verify
proof of age so you don’t need to carry physical proof. The user gets added to
the app and gets a unique QR verification code, this code can be used by companies
to verify proof of age.

Third place – Josh Kamalrajah – “Eco Chat”

Josh’s app was an environmental app called “EcoChat” where users could join the app and talk to their friends, find out how much their carbon foot print is and answer “Question of the day”

Foundation – Creative Prize – Callum Mohan

Foundation – Technical Prize – Daniel Corral

Advanced camp:

First place – Chris Magee – “Be more Green”

Be more green inspires to help save the environment, focusing on 3 main
areas of Electricity, Transport and Waste. You’re able to calculate the
distance and time it will take you to reach your destination. You’re even able
to see what type of electric cars exist and where charging points are. You can
visit the website at www.christophermagee.me

Second place – Rebecca Gilbert – “Free Seat”

A simple to use real time
website that shows you estimated waiting times in restaurants and cafes. It
also recommends alternative restaurants/cafes with their waiting times. This
lets the customer know before they arrive the amount of seating and the waiting
time. This improves customer service for businesses and allows the option for
table booking.

Third place – Jack Adams – “EcoEarn”

A website that lets you earn currency through
sustainable actions helps support the local charity “Keep NI Beautiful”. By attending
clean-up events, visiting a
Recycling Centre
& using Bottle / Clothes banks, you earn virtual currency that
you can spend on real rewards.

Advanced – Technical  Prize – Adam Calvert

Advanced –  Creative Prize – Helen Chapman

Congratulations to all our winners and thank you again to our mentors, guest speakers, fantastic judging panel, and sponsors!