School of Computing Group Project Prize 2020
The winners of the best group project 2020 are chosen in an online event by Computershare.

Date posted

4 May 2020

Students from Edinburgh Napier’s School of Computing were given the opportunity to take part in the schools’ annual group project challenge, as a substitute for a third-year work placement.

The challenge allows the students to be a part of a project which sees them work with real clients to achieve a specific brief. Projects typically involve software development or system configuration as their central activity with students of project management or design-oriented subjects providing specialist input.

In the past, teams have come together to build applications for desktop and mobile, create computer games, deliver booking systems, and construct digital animations.

The School of Computing introduced the module five years ago and since received sponsorship from Computershare to reward students and celebrate the remarkable products and services that they produce.

The School sources the clients and manages communication between them and the students.

Brian Davison, the project lead said:
“Despite the lockdown, all of those with external clients still managed to deliver on time thanks to their use of agile tools and methods. They received some fantastic feedback from the clients because of that.”

He added: “Computershare have been a great partner again this year. They are very enthusiastic about the projects and have a genuine interest in the work the students do. It’s a very positive relationship.”

This year the winning team designed a transportation management system web application that won them a £100 Amazon voucher each, courtesy ofTransportation application home page screen grab Computershare.

The winning team included project manager and Software Engineering student Kamil Wierzbicki, Software Engineering students Andrew Smith, Brogan Murphy, Maxime Greffe, Jose Arias Vargas, and Computing student Iain Mclachlan.

Kamil said:
“I first heard about the competition during a lecture in year 3. The whole process of forming a team was very spontaneous and getting the idea for the project was unexpected. There was an idea and I decided to register for it. Then, I got a message saying that the project was accepted and that I could start interviewing people to form a team. Overall, it was a fantastic experience to put hands-on real-world problem solving, forming, and collaborating with the team, delegating work and reducing stress and misunderstanding by documenting everything, which is basically the whole concept of agile project management. What we have learned can be implemented not only in project management but also in personal projects.”

The Phenotiki team, managed by student Lech Psztyk, took second place with their application which plots plant growth and extrapolates data, the Computershare judges were especially impressed with the software’s potential for repurposing.

In third place was the Ecommerce team, managed by Michael An, who built a website for a clothing brand to sell their stock.

The process:
Clients set out a brief of the work they want carried out and the students’ teams then bid on the project they’d like to undertake. The client then selects the team they would like to – essentially – employ. Clients can interview the teams or ask for pitches which gives the students valuable experience in how to source jobs in the real world.

However, some teams do not have clients and come up with their own ideas on how to create something that will earn them a strong grade, and when the time comes, impress the judges.

The challenge begins with around 40 teams and each team consists of roughly six students. The teachers then narrow the field down to a shortlist of seven of the best projects which are presented to the judges.

Computershare sponsored the event and judged the winners for the second year running, with this years’ event being held virtually – due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Simon Needham said:
“Computershare were very happy to be invited to support the SoC Group Project awards again this year, particularly so as it is important to ensure that opportunities to celebrate achievement are maintained during this period where so many events have been cancelled. Our congratulations to Edinburgh Napier SoC for finding a way to make the event happen and taking the risk of hosting the event online.

The judges were impressed by all the teams’ problem solving, approach to the challenges, changes during the projects, the quality of the recorded presentations and how the teams all rose to the complex challenge of presenting remotely to an audience they could not see and answering the judges’ questions. The judging was once again made difficult by the quality of all five teams and everyone should be proud of having made the finals and we wish the students every success in the remainder of their courses.”

Claire Gillespie, Digital Tech Sector Skills Manager of SDS adds:
“It was great to see Computershare engaging with the university by giving a prize for the best computing science project. I was really impressed by the students and their presentation skills, and I have no doubt they will go onto brilliant careers in tech. And who knows, after hearing about Computershare’s graduate programme some may even end up working with there. I know not every company can do things like prize offerings, but there are lots of other ways for industry to get involved and to shape future talent.”

Project briefs for this year’s students are currently being sought: if you have a back-burner project or a proof-of-concept that our students could develop for you, please post the details at Edinburgh Napier Projects Exchange or contact Brian Davison.

With special thanks to Computershare for sponsoring the 2019 and 2020 awards.

Computershare is a world leader in financial administration, underpinned by technology. They are a down to earth Aussie company that values openness, directness and hard work.

Their Global Technology Centre brings more than 300 high-quality tech jobs to Edinburgh to support the work of 16,000 global employees. Computershare offers apprentices, graduates and technology professionals the potential for a career where they can interact with colleagues across the world.