Sam Burnstone
Jule Wilson

Innovative tech event puts 100+ through their paces

An innovative technology event by a leading local software firm has tested the skills of more than 100 undergraduates, thanks to its strong relationships with local universities.

Scott Logic, a growing consultancy based in Newcastle’s St James’ Gate, has been partnering with universities across the North East since 2013 to host undergraduate Hackathons, the first of which, with Newcastle University, attracted just six competitors.

But these experience-driven events, which involve an intense period of collaborative coding, have expanded so much that its most recent such event, during which the company was thrilled to host more than 40 students from Durham University’s Computer Science degree course, brought its total number of competitors to well over 100 in just two years. And the first of its 2016 Hackathons is already planned for Newcastle University in the New Year.

One of the firm’s software developers, 22-year-old Sam Burnstone, attended the very first Scott Logic Hackathon after hearing about it from a lecturer, and found it helped him decide whether to apply for its Graduate Programme.

He explained: “The Hackathon was a really useful learning experience. It improved my understanding of the inner workings of software development, as well as getting a good impression of what it might be like to work at Scott Logic.”

Sam, who lives in Elswick, said it was his curiosity about the company that attracted him to take part in the event, and he subsequently joined as a Graduate Developer in August 2014.

He went on: “I’d seen Scott Logic at a few careers events and wanted to find out more about what the business did and how a software development firm works. We were tasked with creating an algorithm that buys shares and the idea was that in teams we’d work to make a virtual profit.

“It was pressured in a positive way as it forced you to work as a team, which was great as in computer science degrees you often work in isolation. It made you step out of your comfort zone, but at the same time, there were plenty of staff on hand to ensure you had a really high level of support throughout.”

Durham’s recent competitors, who made a collective virtual profit of more than £95,000, battled it out in teams of up to six, for not only the honour of the title of course champions, but also for some sought-after Pizza Express vouchers before chatting with staff over pizza and a beer, giving them an opportunity to tour the Newcastle office and ask questions in an informal setting.

Recruitment Manager John Wright said: “We know how daunting it can be to approach a prospective employer at a careers fair, when you’re vying for their attention against hundreds of other potential applicants.

“We also realise it can be difficult to get a real understanding of the culture of a company in such a formal setting, so in addition to exhibiting at fairs and conferences throughout the year, we devised our Hackathon.

“We’re incredibly proud it has grown so quickly, and that’s down to our strong partnerships with local universities, some of whom have adopted the event into their annual curriculum.”

Scott Logic’s 2016 internship and graduate programmes for 2016 are now open to applicants. Roles available include those in software development, software testing and User Experience (UX) design.

For more information on Scott Logic and its services, visit scottlogic.com.

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