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CIS students place second in hackathon

Four first-year students in Holland College’s Computer Information Systems program competed in the eighth annual Atlantic Lottery Hackathon recently and garnered second place.    

A hackathon is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development compete to create a functioning piece of software or hardware in a prescribed amount of time. This year’s Atlantic Lottery Hackathon challenge was to develop a lottery-based game for the corporation’s website. 

Reilly Webster, Marc Blanchard, Fred Campos, and Devon Simmons participated in the Startup Zone in Charlottetown, meanwhile, other competitors were hard at work at Volta, a Halifax-based innovation hub in Nova Scotia, and Venn Innovation in New Brunswick.

“We discussed the various skills we each excelled at, then divided up the work accordingly. Fred was our lead programmer, Marc was team leader and worked on game logic, Devon worked on art, and I worked on art and sound. We all tested, brainstormed, and worked out issues as we built the game." - Reilly Webster

The game the team developed was a combination of blackjack and a slot machine. Student Reilly Webster said working a team programming project was a new challenge, but the group quickly identified their roles and got to work.

“We discussed the various skills we each excelled at, then divided up the work accordingly. Fred was our lead programmer, Marc was team leader and worked on game logic, Devon worked on art, and I worked on art and sound. We all tested, brainstormed, and worked out issues as we built the game,” he said.

The students were up against several professional game developers, making their second-place win especially worthwhile.

“Even though we placed second and won a cash prize, that was not the real reward. Through this hackathon we had our first experience working as a team, we introduced ourselves to the owners of multiple companies, and we now have a game on our portfolio,” Webster said. “Getting our names out there early will make a huge difference when we start looking for a job after graduation.”

The Computer Information Systems program instructors encourage their students to participate in events such as the Hackathon. Instructor BJ MacLean said he was impressed by the students’ initiative and skills.

“The students took what they learned on their own and in the program and built an impressive web application. This experience will help as they move into their second year and will be a great asset as they move into the industry. They also shared their experience with their peers in the program,” he said. 

In this picture: (L-R) Computer Information Systems students Marc Blanchard, Reilly Webster, Fred Campos, and Devon Simmons discuss the game they are building in the Atlantic Lottery Hackathon.


For more information about this release, please contact:
Sara Underwood, Media and Communications Officer
Tel: 902-566-9695
Date: Friday, March 01, 2019