BCIT Computing team places third at SAP hackathon

“We were up against 3rd and 4th year students from some of the other schools, and we’re really proud of how far we made it using the tools that BCIT gave us.” – Nolan Nordwall, CST Diploma Student 

Over 100 post-secondary students kicked off fall by spending a weekend at SAPVanHack22. “The experience was amazing!” reports Joseph Chan, BCIT Computing Club President.

With 35 teams of students from UBC, SFU, and Northeastern, BCIT’s team of Computer Systems Technology (CST) students Mo Baydoun, Nolan Nordwall, and Sally Poon placed third with their app Waddle, within the theme Grow team spirit! Take part in building our energized hybrid experience at SAP.

Building community with communication

Three students smile while holding a paper I love SAP photo frame
BCIT winners Nolan Nordwall Sally Poon and Mo Baydoun Feature photo at top Waddle app screen captures

“Waddle is inspired by the small action of leaving sticky notes for co-workers to brighten their day,” explains Sally, who is also BCIT Student Association Chair, Downtown Campus. The team felt that the new hybrid work environment doesn’t always lend itself to connecting. Sally describes the team’s approach: “we wanted to create a fun, simple, personable, and lovable application that will disrupt someone’s workday…in a delightful way!”

The app features mascot Walbert, who can waddle over and deliver a virtual sticky note to anyone in the organization. It offers whimsy and an element of surprise, as recipients wait to see what their colleague has sent, from a simple thank you to an invitation.

“We had a shared vision about what connecting employees should be like and we did our best to accomplish that vison,” says Mo.

“I would like to thank SAP for hosting,” emphasizes Mo. “They brought in experts from within their company to not only judge but to help, which was an invaluable experience.”

Showcasing BCIT skills

The benefits of participating in outside events are many. All three team members consider SAP a top employer prospect for future jobs. “After spending the weekend with the team, we’re super impressed with their thoughtfulness, passion, and dedication to creating a great work environment,” reports Nolan. And they appreciated the opportunity to network. But also: “it’s just a really fun environment to be in,” says Nolan. “You can feel the pressure in the building as the time ticks by, there’s a palpable energy to it.”

“We also wanted to represent BCIT properly on a provincial stage, and show how effective the practical-skills-first learning model is at building competent teams of software developers,” explains Nolan, who is also BCIT Student Association’s Vice President External. “We were up against 3rd and 4th year students from some of the other schools, and we’re really proud of how far we made it using the tools that BCIT gave us.”

“I’d like to thank my fellow BCIT students for participating, looking over and seeing them work so hard was a big source of motivation,” says Mo, who is BCIT Student Association Chair of the School of Computing and Academic Studies. “I can’t wait to see what they do at the QDS hackathon this January!”

BCIT students: check out the new QDS Hacks promotional video for the upcoming BCIT Student Association Hackathon (featuring Nolan and Mo)

Donating prize to support diversity in the field

The team of three student leaders even decided to donate the winning prize of $1000 to BCIT’s Women in Computing (WiC) club.

“Ultimately, we had a lot of fun with designing and implementing a project we were excited about,” concludes Sally. “Being able to represent BCIT in the Top 3 was a huge bonus!”

“This is an experience that I’ll be proud of for a long while,” adds Nolan.

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