University of Pretoria students win Women in IT award

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Winners of the Women in IT award.
Winners of the Women in IT award.

A team of BCom Informatics students at the University of Pretoria scooped the Women in IT award, for developing an outstanding final year project called the Sapling System.

The recognition is the end result of the information systems 370 undergraduate module, presented by the Department of Informatics at the University of Pretoria.

Students were required to develop an information system for a real life client, where they complete 10 deliverables throughout the year and present their project to industry during the Departmental Project Day.

The all-girl group, named LJN3, is made up of Nicole Davisson, Nandipha Dilla, Nadien Ferreira and Lanné du Preez. They won the Women in IT award, sponsored by Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA), and came second overall, but was the only all-girl team competing out of numerous participating teams.

The Sapling System aims to provide a complete plant management solution to a nursery. It comprises both a Web and mobile application.

"IITPSA has a focus on addressing the South African IT skills gap, and in particular, it seeks to encourage more girls and women to enter the IT field," says Tony Parry, CEO of the IITPSA.

"This award, along with numerous other development initiatives, forms part of our efforts to encourage and reward young women entering the IT industry."

"We are honoured and extremely grateful to be recipients of the IITPSA Women in IT award and I am incredibly proud of my team and what we have accomplished," says Du Preez.

"It is such a great feeling to know that all the long hours and hard work that each of us contributed to the project has paid off and has been recognised. Not only do I feel that we have won as a group, but that this is a victory that is to be celebrated as a strong female movement in the IT industry."

Dr Lizette Weilbach, co-ordinator of the final year project, explains there are still fewer females than males studying informatics, with only around 30% of the students being female.

"The award is a generous one and certainly encourages the young women on the course. The numbers are picking up, but we would like to see more young women entering this field," she says.

The overall winning team was the Olympus Group, which consists of four members: Mohammed Moosa, Nabeel Makkan, Minoli Reddy and Abdul Soondka.

They developed the You&Me Realty System, aimed at digitising the entire process of buying and selling property, from the time it's placed on the market, all the way to the paperwork involved and the conclusion of a sale.

The third place winners, BeeCapital Group, developed the BeeSimple Universal Rewards System. The solution aims to solve the problem of consumers who have multiple reward cards, by consolidating them all onto one mobile app.

"Each retailer that signs up for this system uses one BeeSimple rewards card, which enables each business's customers to become a part of the entire BeeSimple network," explains the team, which is made up of Rynhardt Cloete, Chanel du Plessis, Marcel Myburg, Bartel Rust and Romeo Taljaard.

The BCom (Informatics) degree offered by the University of Pretoria is the only degree in Africa that is internationally accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology of the US, according to the institution.

Weilbach says the university's course is deliberately structured to offer hands-on practical training and real world experience.

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