So Far, So Good For 2017

Even by our standards, March was an exceptionally busy month in the way of industry events, with us working with HackSoc Manchester to deliver not one but two excellent events for the Manchester tech community.

We can’t complain though, as we spent time among some fascinating people and made some great connections. As anyone who knows Chief Exec. Craig Dean will tell you, he considers time spent talking about tech, time well spent – and we found ourselves talking about tech an awful lot!

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Craig shares the stage with Harvard legend David Malan

Our respect for this industry and its collaborative nature just grows and grows. From students, graduates, and teachers, to freelancers, employees and employers, we do a huge amount for each other, bound by a common ideology of learning and growth.

We believe that this level of cooperation is key to furthering the IT industry. Only by working together, and sharing knowledge, can we ensure that we’re moving forward and adapting to emerging technologies, staying ahead of the curve.

StudentHack V

Having served as head judge at last year’s StudentHack, Craig was keen to get involved more formally and we jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the gaming track at StudentHack V earlier in March.

Being an event hosted by and for students, these events always have a unique charm and a certain buzz about them.

As a gaming track and top prize judge, Craig got to talk to most of the teams on the day, even getting to play with some very cool VR gear that had been provided, courtesy of Oculus.

Although sponsoring the gaming track, we also set our own challenge which was to create a travel game. The team, Taxi Racer, created a 3D taxi game which included GPS software. Driving round a 3d Northern Quarter caught Craig’s eye, however when the taxi picked up enough speed it turned into an Airplane. They automatically stood out, and won our prizes for the challenge.

However, our favourite by far was a game that borrowed from Greek mythology, Project Minos. The game involved hunting down your fellow players in a VR labyrinth, and only required one headset to play with multiple people!

The hardware track winner, Amazeballs (oddly enough, another maze game) described loftily by its creators as ‘a physical manifestation of the force’, also took home the first prize overall. It made use of C++ and Arduino technology.

The weekend was a great showcase of raw talent in the student community – we’ve always been very excited to see ‘attended a hackathon’ on a CV – StudentHack reminded us why!

Any employers reading this, be sure to keep an eye out for StudentHack attendees, as they are some of the most inventive and talented young people out there.

CS50

The opportunity to sponsor CS50, what we can only describe as Harvard University’s touring computer science fair, was one we could not pass up on. The idea of CS50 is to give an introduction to computer science for people with or without coding experience, so it was a natural fit for us as a company that is always looking for opportunities to facilitate education in tech.

We were excited to get a chance to meet, if briefly, the exceptional David J. Malan, having been aware of CS50 for a while!

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The highlight of the weekend was getting to take host our own workshop, entitled Introduction to C#, in which, among other things, Craig ended up demonstrating a bubble sort algorithm by sorting a group of willing participants by order of height. It was a fun, practical way of showing that programming isn’t solely about the code. Sadly, unlike many of our recent training sessions and lectures, it wasn’t caught on camera – but let’s just say you should keep your eyes peeled in the coming months.

CS50 was an absolute pleasure to be a part of. Come back soon guys!

A massive, massive thank you to all the organisers of both of the Hackathons last month. We not only enjoy sponsoring events like these, but we love seeing passionate people wanting to grow and develop. So get out there, and Go Hack Yourself.