Students have eye on the prize


Communitech is hosting the finals of its third annual Code/Design to Win Challenge in Waterloo on the weekend of Jan. 19 and Conestoga College students are up for the challenge.
Communitech is an organization that focuses on helping the tech community develop by assisting businesses in starting and growing in the region.

The goal of the Code/Design to Win Challenge is to attract students in the technology field from across Canada to the region to see the many opportunities for co-op and future careers. Also, it’s a chance for the students to win a grand prize of $5,000 and a runner-up prize of $1,000.

Melissa Roth, the Code/Design to Win program manager, believes that not only is the money a great help but the opportunities the competition presents to students are incredible.
“They also get to have interviews with some of our local tech companies as well,” she said, “which is interesting for the students because they get to have that opportunity to interview for co-op positions or post-grad positions.”

The number of competitors this year has been the biggest yet according to Brittany Arbutina, Communitech’s external relations co-ordinator.
“We almost doubled our numbers from last year’s competition,” she said.

The 900 students who entered was narrowed down to 50 coding students and 25 design students. Of those 75 remaining students, Conestoga College is being represented by two in the coding challenge and one in the design contest.

Margaret Tavares is a Conestoga computer programming and analyst student who made it to the finals in the design category. Her co-op placement at Vehikl is the reason she signed up for the challenge.

“Working has helped me gain the skills needed to succeed, and being mentored by the developers and UX designers at Vehikl enticed me to participate and see where my skills stacked up,” she said.

Her skills stacked up very well as she went from a group of 200 students down to 25 of the best in the country.

“She placed in the top 10 per cent of over 200 students to make it to the finals,” Roth said.

In the coding challenge, the college is being represented by Ilia Zhuravlev, a software engineering tech student, and Qiang Zhang, a computer applications development student. Both managed to make it through despite facing tougher odds.

“They placed in the top 7 per cent of over 600 students across Canada,” Roth said.

The challenges are two hours long and will start on Jan. 19 and conclude on Jan. 20. The winners will be announced at the end of the weekend.

About Spoke

Spoke Online is produced weekly during the school year by Conestoga College second-year journalism print students, faculty adviser Christina Jonas and new media technologist Michael Toll.