Future18 is the first ever tech summit and hackathon in Northern Ireland exclusively for teenagers and organised by teenagers, to practice and discover coding, brainstorm inventions, and design apps to improve their community.
During the event 13-18 year old hackathon attendees or ‘hackers’ will be grouped into teams with a mix of abilities and experience to get to grips with coding in a fun and relaxed environment. Each team is tasked with designing an app around a key theme and at the end of the day teams will pitch their ideas with the most innovative projects receiving spot prizes worth £2,000. Coding experience isn’t essential, just a passion for code, as expert coding mentors will be on hand to assist participants to help people learn as they go.
Not to be confused with the cybercrime ‘hacking’, hackathons have become an increasingly popular opportunity for tech professionals to get together to share ideas and develop coding for software, which will enhance their business, start-up or social enterprise.
The Future Summits Founder, 16-year-old tech entrepreneur, Adam Flanagan developed the annual event to inspire teenagers to get more involved in the tech industry and to encourage young people to learn how to design apps, take part in hackathons and be inspired by the latest founders and influencers in the IT industry, Adam comments - 'Future Summits was created out of frustration at the lack of teen tech events in Belfast. As someone who is keen to learn more about coding and app design, it was difficult to find opportunities to meet up with others that also wanted to invent and design new ideas as a group, or even to help others develop their skills.
'In 2016 I reached out to tech companies to see if they could help me search for young people interested in computer developing, graphic design, app design and game design, and change the perspective that code is just for tech geniuses creating lines and squiggles on a screen, but instead appreciate it for the magic that it is! With the help of the generous support and sponsorship from Kainos, MCS Group, Liberty IT, All State and Bank of Ireland I have been able to develop Future Summits, Northern Ireland’s first youth hackathon.'
Event sponsor Kainos has been involved in Future summits since its early development as part of their Tech Outreach initiative, Kainos software engineer Peter McAree comments – 'When Adam approached us about the idea of Future Summits we knew that this was a special opportunity to invest in the next generation of innovators and tech entrepreneurs as well as inspire and empower the talented young people that are growing up with an intuitive grasp of technology. Adam and the Future team are an inspiration to their generation and their passion for technology will hold them in excellent stead in the future.'
As well as the excitement of the hackathon, this year welcomes highly influential speakers who have carved a career for themselves in the tech industry. Speakers include Sheree Atcheson, Expansion Director of Women Who Code UK and Deloitte Tech consultant, the home grown IT talent of Mark Dowds, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of California based insurance company Trov, and 19 year old Akshay Ruparelia, Founder of Doorsteps.co.uk, and many more to be announced in the coming weeks.
Adam adds – 'Future18 is where I want teens to feel inspired by other people who are succeeding in the tech industry and to help people realise how much opportunity there is in the industry. If more teens collaborate on projects I feel we can encourage each other to change the world through code, technology and design.
'I can’t wait for this year’s event, especially as fans of the event return and new people take part. I am very grateful for all the support of the event sponsors, and the Future18 team who work behind the scenes, without them this event would not exist.'
Future18 takes place Saturday 10 March at Titanic Belfast from 9.30am – 4.30pm tickets range from £10 for participants and £5 for observers to book visit www.future18.co – get 25% off tickets using promo code 'CODENOTMAGIC' when booking, under 18’s only.