SOFTEC, short for the Software Competitions and Exhibition, has officially started. We are witnessing the event entering into its 22nd annual edition, carrying on the legacy of the biggest university-based IT event of the country. This year’s edition is hosting over 1000 participants from across Pakistan, whereas FAST NU’s campus saw over 4500 feet descend upon its campus including sponsor representatives and observers etc.
SOFTEC originally started off as a software competition. Eventually, the competition gained so much recognition and interest that it evolved into what it is today: A series of miscellaneous competitions and a corporate style software exhibition.
The main highlight of this edition (as always) is the Software Competition. This year, teams were tasked with presenting their respective Final Year Projects in front of a panel of judges. The panel included industry veterans with over 10 years’ of experience under their belts. There were 25 teams in total, with 3 to 4 members in each team.
The participants’ enthusiasm could be seen by how frantically each of them was indulged in perfecting their projects before the panel arrived. Each team member could be seen running about each other’s heads, constantly looking for flaws in the code and ways to eradicate them. Judging criteria included software performance and user compatibility etc. The winning team is entitled to a cash prize of PKR 75000.
The second sub-event was the Engineering Project Competition. Similar to the Software Competition, the Engineering Project Competition revolves around the presentations of Final Year Projects in front of a panel of judges consisting of leading academicians and industry leaders. There were 48 participants in total, grouped into 16 teams. Teams made projects like a homemade laser printer that prints on polyethylene sheets and a gas-sniffing drone etc. The winner of the event is entitled to a Rs.75000 cash prize.
Prospective graphic designers put their ability to the test in the graphic designing competition. There were 17 teams in total. Each team were tasked with the recreation of Al-Burraq’s logo, which is the upcoming mass-transit sonic train in the UAE. Other than the logo, teams were asked to create a marketing banner for the company. There is a Rs.25000 cash prize for the winners, who were chosen after a careful evaluation by the judges of the event. Judges marked the images on the basis of creativity and market feasibility of the banner. At the end, the team with the highest marks will win the event.
The Ideas Xtreme event was based on the theme of a “Healthier Pakistan” this year. There were roughly 50 teams, bringing the total up to roughly 100 participants. Teams were divided into two wings, i.e. the junior wing, consisting of participants between grade 5 and 8 and the senior wing, comprising of participants of grade 9 and above. Teams gave detailed powerpoint presentations on how they intend to work towards the attainment of the theme. The judging panel was surprised when the team from the Hamdard Public School gave an idea of a machine that inducts carbon dioxide and gives out oxygen, similar to a plant.
A conference on cybersecurity was conducted by a panel of Digital Security Analysts working at a number of firms. They detailed the audience on what ethical hacking is and how companies often hire people like them to infiltrate their networks, known as “pentesting”. They remarked the ongoing trend of going into the field of cybersecurity in the country. Furthermore, one of them remarked that Pakistani Computer Sciences students need to break the stereotype of typical programming jobs and join the field of cybersecurity instead. One Analyst made the entire hall burst up with laughter when he remarked that people should join cybersecurity for the immense amount of money they receive if not for the field itself!
Last, the Software Exhibition, which was being held in the campus’ canteen saw firms running recruitment drives and showcasing their products and services etc. NETSOL, Careem and Gamestorm Studios were among the roster of firms present in the exhibition. The representatives of the event’s sponsors were present in the exhibition too, conducting general Q&A sessions with the participants etc.
From the looks of it, SOFTEC ’18 is on its way to becoming the best edition in its history. It has always been eventful, providing a platform for upcoming software engineers to polish their skillset and improve themselves. The management promised that SOFTEC will be an “IT Extravaganza” and it’s quite safe to say that they have delivered on their promise