Version75 Solutions (V75), the team that recently won the first Hackathon held in Guyana, strongly believes that software development can become a viable and thriving industry in this country.
Speaking with this publication yesterday, V75 team member, Eldon Marks, said that there is a sustainable future for the industry. However, he also said that before this can be achieved there needs to be more deliberate environments which are able to give the naturally gifted human capital in Guyana an opportunity to discover and develop their true potential.
He said that, the Hackathon is one such space where professionals can gather, collaborate, network and create products to satisfy the software and ICT needs of clients in the private and public sector.
According to Marks, his team has been fortunate to have access to a new ‘environment’ which he says seeks to offer great promise for Guyana’s entrepreneurs in the same vain. This environment which Marks referred to is known as “we Own” space. It is a shared office space located in South Ruimveldt Gardens.
Marks said that his team emphatically believes that software development has a bright future in Guyana. He said, “The hackathon is the most recent event which proves this. Our gifted community members also confirm this potential by delivering quality software solutions to many clients both home and abroad.”
When asked what can be done to improve future hackathons, Marks said that despite this year’s event being well executed, his team believes more scope should be given for innovation.
“At the hackathon, we witnessed many innovative solutions being presented in concept but not in operation. In hackathons, the focus is on delivering the most complete working product in the time allotted leaving little room for creative thinking. We made the strategic decision to focus on delivering on functionality; however, if we were provided with a designated period for delivering on the concept, this would allow developers the room for more creative thinking.”
He said that in future events there can be an “Ideathon” which would focus on the formation of conceptual solutions before the Hackathon. Marks said, “The scope for innovation in these events could be much improved. The outputs of the “ideathon” competition can then be fed into the hackathon competition.”
All members of V75 are graduates of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Guyana. Marks said that the Department at UG recently revamped its academic programme and now offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology, Information Systems and Computer Science.
Even with this development, he believes that Guyana should not wait until the tertiary level to begin the journey of software development. He said, “This should be done at an early age at the beginning of the secondary level because there are a lot of young brilliant minds out there who would find it very fun and interesting to create an application.”
During the Hackathon which began on Friday and ended on Sunday at noon, the team chose challenge four captioned “Effective Incident Reporting”. They were tasked with creating an application to facilitate the reporting of incidents to the appropriate agency.
According to Marks, the application is capable of reporting any incident to any authority, not just the Guyana Police Force. “It can even work for private organisations for fault reporting like GPL power theft.”
The other team members which participated in the event were Asa Brouet, Ashim Badrie and Shemar Lindie. According to Marks, the V75 network comprises over 30 individuals and five core members, four of whom participated in the competition.
The event was organised by the Ministry of Public Telecomunnications and held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara under the theme “Code till yuh drop”. The competition was geared towards bringing together software developers and designers to create workable solutions that can propel Guyana to the stage where citizens are familiar with digital technologies.
The first place winner received $300,000; the second place, $200,000 and third $150,000. The Surinamese team CodeOps placed second, and the local Team Macros placed third.
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