By Shree Iyengar, a third year Business and Economics Undergraduate at the University of Roehampton
This summer I embarked on an exciting challenge to attempt IBM’s Call for Code hackathon. It was a stretch from my comfort zone as I had to be creative with designing ideas and applying my business knowledge to a very real situation. I also had no prior coding skills, so initially I was reluctant to take part.
With the help of Senior Lecturer Laura Scanga, my teammate and I worked on our solution to the Covid 19 crisis and submit it in Code using IBM’s Watson software. The first part of the Call for Code process was networking, so I signed up to an application called Slack where I received proposals from other students like myself all over the world based on my skillset.
The Call For Code is a global challenge created by IBM and David Clarke, allowing people to collaborate together and produce a range of solutions to counter issues such as Covid 19 and Climate Change. My teammate came up with the idea of an App to help international students in the UK which employs a Chatbot like feature, providing quick answers to their searches. This could be used to seek out information on universities, opening bank accounts and medical facilities in the UK. To see how this would fare amongst students, I began conducting market research and competitor research. I also created a video pitch and a solution roadmap as part of the submission documents. We had to change our ideas quite a few times in the process and to give a lot of thought about the problem we were trying to solve, which proved to be difficult.
The Call for Code has been an invaluable learning experience for me, I have improved my confidence, team working and data analysis skills. I would like to thank Laura Scanga for informing of this opportunity and keeping my team motivated right through to the end.
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