Fledgling ICT competition reaches full-flight

23 Aug 2019

When The University of Queensland helped to launch the first Young ICT Explorers (YICTE) competition 10 years ago, Apple’s App Store was brand new, Twitter was a fledgling platform and Android phones were the new kid on the block.

Alonh with these technologies, the competition has also come a long way. 

In 2010, 140 primary and high school students attended the inaugural Queensland YICTE event; this weekend around 360 students will visit UQ to compete in the two-day technology competition.

Another 950 students will attend competitions in five other cities across Australia and New Zealand throughout 2019.

UQ Data Science expert, Professor Shazia Sadiq was there in the early days, and said the world has changed enormously in this time.

“The last decade has seen a step change in the ICT landscape with major advancements, predominantly fuelled by unprecedented compute power and huge volumes of accessible data,” Professor Sadiq said.

“The YICTE competition encourages young people to combine these advancements with their own creativity and innovation skills to solve real world problems, and also to consider study and careers in technology.”

In the competition, teams are able to choose their own technology-based project, then pitch their project to ICT industry leaders and academics.

“The students improve their problem solving skills, team work and presentation skills by working on and displaying their projects, then they receive valuable feedback and encouragement from leaders in the field,” Professor Sadiq said. 

“The scope of the competition is kept broad to encourage as much STEM creativity as possible and so we don’t limit the chance of students creating something completely unheard of.”

Judges assess student performance in four key areas – creativity and innovation; level of difficulty; quality; and communication and presentation.

Previous projects have included website design, robotics, games, digital media, software, hardware, virtual reality and mobile phone applications.

Event sponsor SAP’s Chris Peck said there was a skills gap across the ICT sector in Australia and New Zealand.

“In order to close this gap, we must come together as industry, academia and communities to inspire these students who are our digital future with the importance and excitement of technology.”

“It’s always exciting to see what these young minds are able to come up with, giving us an insight into the next generation of IT professionals.”

2018 YICTE competitors
The 2018 Young ICT Explorers competitors at The University of Queensland.