Powered by the Faculty of Engineering and IT, the UTS Tech Festival is a celebration of everything technology, creativity, and innovation. The festival brought together students, industry partners, staff, and fellow tech enthusiasts on campus across a jam packed program.

Hear from some of the organisers and attendees in the video below:

In this post, we chat to Leo Schurov (President of ProgSoc) and Nadine Abellanoza (UTS Careers) about their events for the festival.

Leo Schurov, organiser of Programming Competition

Our event was the Programming Competition, being a loosely ICPC inspired programming competition with teams of up to three people. 

What were some of the interests/themes covered in your event?  

The main interests and themes in our event are the contestants’ ability to quickly visualise the problems and program solutions for them in a short timeframe. 

Being able to do that requires quick thinking, the ability to communicate ideas with other team members, designing algorithms and debugging any errors. 

What would you like for attendees to take away from your event? 

Although we only had 3 winning teams, we wanted the contestants to leave the event with an appreciation towards programming-related problem solving, and potentially new ideas and insights inspired by the scenarios that we created for some of the questions. We tried really hard to keep the questions realistic and engaging, and it appeared to have a positive effect on the overall engagement of the teams, both during and after the competition ended. 

Any tips for other academics who would like to plan something similar? 

My biggest tip is to keep the questions engaging and realistic. I’ve done other programming competitions before, and read through question sets of previous competitions, and the scenarios for many questions feel very shoehorned in without a clear connection to the real world. Make each question sound like they might encounter that problem in the real world in some random personal project, and members would be able to leave the competition with some insightful takeaways and project ideas. 

Nadine Abellanoza, Careers Community Coordinator

UTS Careers ran a total of six events over the course of Techfest however the two that I want to highlight are: 

  • Your career in… Industry panel, which sought to highlight the Career journey aspect by inviting UTS Alumni and industry professionals to speak about their experience of being in the industry. We ran this event for the following industry disciplines: robotics, artificial intelligence, software engineering and games development/design.
  • Engineering and IT Networking Night was a networking event held in collaboration with Engineers Australia and sought to introduce current UTS engineering and IT students to different facets of the industry. 

What were some of the interests/themes covered in your event?  

The key themes we wanted to introduce to our students were: 

  • Career is a journey with lots of different ups and downs. There is no one singular way of becoming successful and there are lots of different ways to enter the industry that students are interested in 
  • The value of networking. Building a professional network and maintaining those connections are so important to students. 
  • The industries we covered are all broad umbrella terms and having students think outside of the box when it comes to their careers 

Were there any surprises for you as the organisers while planning/when the event happened?  

We were surprised at the attendance rates of students to the events. We found, especially during the pandemic, that students are a bit hit-or-miss with attendance however all of our events had an attendance rate of 60% and above. So it was fantastic to see that there is definitely still an appetite for these sorts of events! We were also surprised to see the thoughtful and meaningful questions that students were asking to the industry experts—we received feedback that a lot of our FEIT students were well advanced in the topics they were interested in. 

Any tips for other academics who would like to plan something similar?  

Be sure to set expectations at the beginning of the event and encourage students to reframe/think outside of the box. Students will generally come with a narrow idea of who they want to talk to (‘I study mechatronic engineering so I only want to talk to a mechatronic engineer’, without realising that there is a lot of mechatronic engineering in robotics, for example). I would also recommend being meaningful and purposeful with who you invite as you want to ensure that their advice is relevant and up to date! 

What’s something you think students interested in tech should know about at the moment?  

Technology is an ever-changing landscape and jobs that don’t exist right now might exist in the next 5 years! Create the future you want to see 😊 

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