Salford Software HackCamp 2021 comes to a close

Categories: School of Science, Engineering and Environment

The three-week industry-collaborative event moved online for 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented challenges to many areas of study and saw the University of Salford’s annual HackCamp event move to a virtual event for the first time.

HackCamp is led by Dr Julian Bass, Senior Lecturer in Software Engineering at the University, and is a module that allows undergraduate computing students the opportunity to work together to build a significant software system while engaging with an industry partner.

This year, 33 groups of 160 students were tasked with solving real-world industry challenges using modern, agile, software development methods. A span of 13 different projects were put forward by 11 different industry partners, including the likes of Add Energy, AJ Bell, Fanatics Inc, HR in One and Total E&P.

Dr Bass said: “This year we had to pivot with the delivery format and I am really pleased with how it has gone. Industry collaboration and the employability of our students is core to what we do here at the University. There were benefits to be found in this year’s newly virtual format. It simplified the process for partner companies based outside of Manchester to take part and in turn encouraged the participation of new industry partners, notably Total E&P.

“Students unable to return to campus due to coronavirus restrictions were still able to collaborate with other students and industry partners, and use virtual team working with incremental software delivery methods to meet their client’s needs. The experience of working closely with external partner organisations serves to benefit students in their future efforts to secure placements and graduate roles within industry.”

The project briefs from industry partners saw students put skills from across the teaching syllabus into practice as they worked to solve industry issues. Students were also able to apply research on tailoring agile software development methods and familiarise themselves with techniques for communicating and presenting work to their HackCamp partner clients.

This year’s HackCamp also included the introduction of project prizes awarded by a panel of industry figures to the first, second, and third-placed teams. The six highest scoring groups were shortlisted and presented to a judging panel comprising: Peter Kenyon, Enterprise Architect, HMRC; Mo Tagari, CTO, AJ Bell; Peter Adam MD and Executive Vice-President, Add Energy; and Dr Julian Bass.

The first-placed group, whose industry client was Add Energy, created a web-based database driven dashboard for risk management. The judging panel were impressed with the polished appearance of the product, the integration of a chat feature, and the original use of web scraping.

HackCamp ran for three weeks and concluded on Thursday 28 January, with the awards announced on Tuesday 2 February. Congratulations to our prize-winning students.

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