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Showcasing creativity – this year’s Kainos CodeCamp winners announced
09 August 2016

This year’s record-breaking Kainos CodeCamp wrapped up on Friday 5th August with an exciting “Dragons’ Den” style showdown. Having spent two weeks designing, developing and building their apps, the CodeCampers got a chance to present their creations to their peers and a team of expert judges from Kainos, Belfast City Council and South Belfast Partnership.

The finalists with CodeCamp facilitator, Peter McAree, and our judging panel Kelly Moore (Kainos), Brendan McGoran (Belfast City Council) and Amanda Neuman (South Belfast Partnership)

The finalists with CodeCamp facilitator, Peter McAree, and our judging panel Kelly Moore (Kainos), Brendan McGoran (Belfast City Council) and Amanda Neuman (South Belfast Partnership)

“This year’s participants took CodeCamp to the next level,” said Kainos Software Engineer and CodeCamp facilitator, Peter McAree. “We were all so impressed with the unique and innovative apps the CodeCampers created. They pushed the software to its limits and explored what was possible, resulting in apps with a clear, simple and effective purpose that worked really well – the hallmark of good design.”

All the students attended the prize-giving ceremony

All the students attended the prize-giving ceremony

After a closely-contested battle and a lot of debate from the judging panels, the winning apps were selected and the students enjoyed a prize-giving ceremony with fantastic prizes like VR sessions, a Go Pro camera, a Nexus tablet and an amazing Parrot Drone.

James Matchett, winner of the Amazing App award

James Matchett, winner of the Amazing App award

James Matchett was crowned the winner of the first prize Amazing App award for his Terror Awareness app. The app uses sound recording activity already built into smartphones to detect loud noises like gunshots or explosions, and then triangulates this data from devices in the vicinity to pinpoint the location of the incident, notifying emergency services in real time and allowing members of the public to avoid any potential dangers.

Creative Mind app winner, Benjamin Young

Creative Mind app winner, Benjamin Young

The judges also loved Benjamin Young’s News Summary app which automatically summarises the main points of news articles from all the major news outlets to provide an unbiased and factual summary of the events of the day. They awarded him the Creative Mind prize for his simple but effective solution.

Derek Wu, joint winner of the Paramount Progressor award

Derek Wu, joint winner of the Paramount Progressor award

Setanta Gorman-Crane, joint winner of the Paramount Progressor award

Setanta Gorman-Crane, joint winner of the Paramount Progressor award

The standard of apps this year was so high that judges chose to award two participants with the Paramount Progressor award, celebrating attendees who showed a particularly high level of development and growth over their time at CodeCamp.

Derek Wu developed HotelMe, an app which uses NFC technology to facilitate every aspect of a hotel stay, while Setanta Gorman-Crane, our youngest ever CodeCamp attendee, addressed the problem of mobile phone use on the go with Hands-Free Message, a simple but useful app which automatically reads text messages aloud as they arrive.

Team Doughnut, winners of the Best Team prize, with their mentor Richard Coulter

Team Doughnut, winners of the Best Team prize, with their mentor Richard Coulter

Winner of the HTC Vive competition, James Murphy

Winner of the HTC Vive competition, James Murphy

Prizes were also given for other key skills, with Team Doughnut receiving the prizes for best communication and teamwork throughout the two weeks of CodeCamp. And James Murphy was delighted to triumph in the HTC Vive competition where the participants were given a chance to try out the latest in VR technology.

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Students heard from a variety of speakers throughout the week

The CodeCampers had a great week, developing their skills, hearing advice from professionals from within the industry and getting a taste of what life is like as a professional software developer.

Brendan McGoran, Creative Industries Officer at Belfast City Council, was one of the judges this year and was particularly impressed with the apps the CodeCampers developed. “It was really hard for us to choose the winners at this year’s CodeCamp as the standard was so high,” he said. “But James’ app really stood out for me. It’s such a simple idea, utilising technology we all already have in our pockets – but one that could actually save lives. It’s fantastic to see young people using technology in such a creative and innovative way – I have no doubt that many of them will go on to have successful careers in software design, development and beyond.”

Peter McAree with our fantastic team of mentors, QUB Computer Science students Sapphire, Jack, James and Niamh, Kainos Earn as you Learn Software Engineers Aoife and Eamon, and former CodeCamp participants Stephen and Richard

Peter McAree with our fantastic team of mentors, QUB Computer Science students Sapphire, Jack, James and Niamh, Kainos Earn as you Learn Software Engineers Aoife and Eamon, and former CodeCamp participants Stephen and Richard

CodeCamp is part of Kainos’ Tech Outreach programme, designed to improve digital literacy across Northern Ireland, the UK and beyond.

With over 90% of this year’s attendees saying that they are now interested in a career in IT, and 98% saying they would recommend CodeCamp to a friend, we believe activities like CodeCamp are a great way to help young people expand their digital skills and improve their future prospects.

As one of the UK’s leading digital technology companies, we’re proud to lead the way in inspiring, educating and investing in young people, and CodeCamp is just one of the ways we do this.

A big thank you to our mentors, our judging panel and everyone else who supported this year’s event. And congratulations to everyone who attended CodeCamp 2016– we’ll see you next year for another Kainos CodeCamp!

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