Students pitch apps to revitalize downtown Calgary

Software development students sitting at table and smiling
Bringing vibrancy to the inner city? There’s an app for that.

We live in a mobile world. In fact, there’s a really good chance you’re reading this on your phone right now. (Ignore those Instagram notifications for a minute — there’s cool stuff ahead. ⬇)

Canada’s app market is projected to reach about $10.8 billion in revenue by 2026. And where there are apps, there are jobs.

So what better way for SAIT Software Development students to flex their mobile skills than by pitching apps at a city-wide competition?

Last summer, fifty of our students flocked to Platform Calgary to bring their energy, ideas and technical know-how to the YYC Hacks 2022 Hackathon. Teams had two days to brainstorm, prototype and present app-based solutions that could help kickstart business in post-pandemic downtown Calgary, gaining valuable experience to carry forward into their careers.

“Students were able to network with industry, learn from amazing mentors and gain project feedback from real-world stakeholders,” says Ali Moussa, an instructor in the School for Advanced Digital Technology who coached SAIT’s participants.

Events like this are just one of the ways SAIT’s School for Advanced Digital Technology connects you to — and prepares you for — industry.

We asked some students about their experience — scroll down to see the ideas their teams brought to life and what they gained from the exercise. Plus, learn which app won second place overall! 🥈

Dakota Chatt

Dakota Chatt

Software Development student

Hackathon experience in three words: fun, challenging, motivating

App concept: Calgary Now

  • a mobile app connecting people with local businesses and uncovering hidden gems
  • an affordable and convenient way for businesses with a minimal or non-existent web presence to advertise their business and provide special deals to first-time or return customers

User interface for the Calgary Now app

Top takeaway:

“Being surrounded by like-minded people all working on interesting and creative solutions to a lot of important problems facing our city today. I learned a lot about collaboration and having to produce results in a short timeframe. Collaboration is key in any industry but especially so in software development. This was an excellent opportunity to quickly identify everyone’s work styles and strengths, and find where I fit to be most useful to my team.”

Deborah Odoh and Hanin Geabel

Deborah Odoh and Hanin Geabel 🥈

Software Development students

Deborah’s Hackathon experience in three words: fun, educative, and fulfilling

Hanin’s Hackathon experience in three words: confidence-boosting, encouraging, fun

App concept: YYCHUB

  • an all-inclusive app to improve the experience of living downtown
  • users can search local events using an interactive map
  • can be integrated into downtown residential building apps and websites so residents can easily find out what’s happening in their area

Login screen for the yychub app

Screenshot of map on yychub app

Deborah’s top takeaway:

“I aim to be a full stack software developer and an IT consultant in the future, and the Hackathon reinforced the importance of teamwork. Building a solution always requires the efforts of a team, and the ability to still bond as a team while under pressure is priceless.”

Hanin’s favourite part:

“The best thing was feeling that I belong to the IT community and seeing incredible talent. After all the hard work we put in, I am glad we won second place!”

Hardish Chander

Hardish Chander

Software Development alumni

Hackathon experience in three words: challenging, inspiring, great learning experience (we’ll count that as one)

App concept: SafeCore

  • a safety app helping those traveling through downtown feel safe, even late at night
  • helps users find, request help from and gain access to verified nearby commercial and residential buildings with a security guard on the premises 24/7

Top takeaway:

“I learned that good teammates can actually improve your experience no matter what you are doing. Effective communication is extremely important. On top of that, treating everybody equally is just as important. I think that is something I will use in my career — making sure that everybody is treated equally while trying to create a positive environment.”

Hardish Chander presenting SafeCore app idea with team at Hackathon
Hardish and his team presents the SafeCore app to 150+ people at the YYC Hacks 2022 Hackathon.

Download the experience you deserve

Thanks to encouragement and sponsorship from the School for Advanced Digital Technology, Dakota, Deborah, Hanin and Hardish were all given an experience of a lifetime and industry connection. Now it’s your turn — explore programs for a tech-driven world.

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