News Item

11/11/2017 - TUI Hackathon

TUI - University of Bedfordshire Hackathon 2.0

Second Joint TUI / School of Computer Science and Technology / University of Bedfordshire BCS Student Chapter Hackathon

Weekend 11-12 November 2017

General Overview

The University’s A Block was buzzing with student activity last weekend due to the programming Hackathon organised as a joint collaboration between the University’s School of Computer Science and Technology, TUI, Luton and the University of Bedfordshire BCS Student Chapter,. TUI UK & Ireland is the UK’s largest tour operator with key brands including TUI Holidays, First Choice and Crystal Ski Holidays, and they employ a team of 13,300 employees serving over 5.2million UK customers each year - with their UK head-quarters in Luton. Thts Hackathon was the second Hackathon in a series of joint collaborative activities between TUI and the University.

The event was also generously supported by The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS).

This was a great opportunity for future graduates to get advice from Industry experts, meet TUI’s current IT Graduates, and develop their skills.

Photo

Over 50 CST Computing students attended the weekend event - including Foundation students, Year 1, Year 2, Year 3 and MSc students and were supported by CST staff as well as TUI staff - including the impressive IT Graduate team and others from TUI’s software development team - all actively providing support to the students during the weekend. In all, an action packed weekend was planned with various talks and workshops.

Fuelled by pizza, chicken and chips, coffee and drinks, most of the students stayed for both days and many kept programming over Saturday night! An impressive array of solutions to the scenarios were developed - and students at all levels felt appropriately challenged and admitted to really enjoying the experience. As a bonus, the TUI team also identified many individuals as potential TUI IT Graduate Scheme recruits.

The real live scenarios were developed by the TUI team and they focused on some key area of cruise holidays which could be enhanced by technology. Cruise is a premium product primarily aimed at affluent customers, couples, parents of grown up children and those over 50. TUI’s mission is to make it easy for customers to experience life’s best moments and a big part of making this happen is developing new ways to improve their customer’s digital experience. During a cruise there are several key instants in which TUI interacts with customers, and these are areas where the overall experience can be enhanced.

The finale included the difficult task of judging the impressive solutions, followed by presentations to the seven categories of award winners.

  • The OVERALL WINNERS were Sebastian Grygiel, Piotr Bryla, Dawid Tyszecki and Lukasz Kaleta [The Meowing Humans group].
  • The BEST USER INTERFACE award went to Olaf Pietryszyk, Arkadiusz Biel, Ireneusz Koper, Krzysztof Kwietniewski and Klaudia Miedziakowska [Venus Callipyge]
  • The HGHLY COMMENDED award went to Vicki Carter, Oliver Marchington and Stefano Rosa [The Clueless].
  • The award for the MOST IMPROVED work went to Enoch Banjo, Jordan Lanning, Massimiliano Bello and Oyindamola Olagunju [The Phishermen],
  • The award for BEST PROBLEM SOLVING went to Leo Allman, Jack Hawkins, Robert Raymond, Patrick Ryan and Ryan Johnston [Teams[0]]
  • and the BEST TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT award went to Athanasios Athanasopoulus, Norbert Csibi and Justyna Kurczaba [Team Treno].

On Sunday, we were delighted to welcome Laura Bartle, from BCS HQ in Swindon and Dr Ip-Shing Fan, from Cranfield University. Dr Fan is the Chair of the BCS Bedford branch. Both the BCS Student Chapter and the BCS Bedford branch have generously and enthusiastically supported this event, and both visitors were really pleased to see the enthusiasm and talent demonstrated by all participants.

Sue Brandreth, who arranged the Hackathon on behalf of the CST School said - The Hackathon was a great success with students being given the benefit of meeting and being coached by member of TUI’s software development team, tackling real live scenarios, and being appropriately challenged whatever their level of knowledge and expertise. I consider this venture more of a fun learning experience than a competition - although there were some extremely competitive individuals - some of whom are Hackathon veterans.

It is hoped that following this successful venture TUI and the CST School will continue to collaborate on many projects to the benefit of the students. The TUI IT Graduate Scheme provides a 2 year development programme with rotation across four different roles within IT including Portfolio Management, IT Security, Service Delivery, and Software Engineering. The role supports many aspects of the business operations - TUI’s retail stores and websites, aircraft, cruise ships and overseas operations - and provides a solid foundation in the core elements of IT.

Students, CST and TUI staff tweeted about the event under the hashtag #TUIBedsHackathon.

"The TUI Hackathon was a great experience and we had a lot of fun. We got to meet the existing TUI graduates and got to talk about their experiences as graduates."

"Everything was great, I really enjoyed it and I would definitely recommend. I wish I had participated while I was studying; it would have helped me gain a better understanding of computing at an earlier stage."
Mary Vlachaki, MSc student.

"The TUI Hackathon, I would say that was a very well organised event with well thought out challenging scenarios that were designed in a way that allowed students from different years to compete, TUI and Bedfordshire university staff were super supportive and they all seemed very excited and passionate about holding this event. I will definitely participate again."
Athanasios Athanasopoulus, Second Year Computing student - BSc (Hons) Computer Science.


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