The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. We invite all students to use their imagination and passion to create a technology solution that addresses the Imagine Cup 2012 theme: Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.

In ten years, the Imagine Cup has grown to be a truly global competition focused on finding solutions to real-world problems. Since 2003, over 1.4 million students have participated in the Imagine Cup with 358,000 students representing 183 countries and regions registering for the Imagine Cup 2011 competition.

The Imagine Cup 2012 competition is your chance to:

  • Solve tough problems facing the world today, and maybe even turn your ideas into a business.
  • Learn new technological skills.
  • Test yourself against the brightest students around the world.
  • Make new friends.
  • Win cash, grants , and prizes – plus, a chance for a free trip to Sydney, Australia, next July to compete at the Imagine Cup 2012 Worldwide Finals!

The New Zealand 2012 Competition had over 400 entries, and these have now been short listed to the top 25 teams spread across New Zealand. These teams will now take on the competition, work with both an Industry and Microsoft Mentor to develop and present their idea. There is still an opportunity for you to take part. We have two finalist teams looking for team members. If you are interested in stepping up and taking on the challenge reach out to either of the two team captains, more information on their idea is posted below.

Title: Tsunami in the cloud

  • Institute:  Victoria University
  • Team Name: Team cloud solutions
  • Short Blurb explaining idea – Take the Tsunami algorithms, instead of running the algorithm locally, send it to the cloud and get it done in a fraction of the time by using the GreenButton Technology.
  • How many team members- Looking for 3 team members
  •  Type of Team members - Mostly members who will be writing code (preferably in C# & .Net), one team member with business relations & marketing experience to deliver our business strategy and also help with the presentation
  • Vision – Our final goal is to have two computers side by side demonstrating what the cloud can really do. One side you have the pc running the algorithm locally and one sent off to the cloud. This will show the real power of the cloud and what it can really do.
  • Please contact Team Captain directly


Team Name: vCOM

  • Institute: Victoria University
  • Short Blurb explaining idea – A communication between two people speaking two different languages using a mobile device to translate the spoken language and bridging the gap between people of different native languages.
  • How many team members- Looking for three members
  • Type of Team members - Help with the video presentation and marketing, business strategy.
  • Vision – Bridge the gap between the different native languages for simple communication.
  • Please contact Team Captain directly


Any questions related to the Imagine Cup email us at – or join our Facebook Student Page –

Designers Touch – demos & discussion

As the post-PC era marches forward, it’s increasingly challenging to design sites and software for the growing variety of devices on the market. Join New Zealand’s top designers as they demo mobile apps & touch interfaces while discussing the challenges, opportunities and strategies of designing for touch.

Panel includes:

Philip Fierlinger (@skyrize) – Xero, designer of Xero Touch
Karl von Randow (@avon) – Cactuslab, lead developer of Camera+
Toby Vincent (@TobyVincent) – Smudge Apps, designer of Flicks and Stuff NZ apps
Amnon Ben-Or (@NonnyNZ) – Southgate Labs, designer of Radio NZ app
Andy Hovey – (@AndyHovey) Springload, designer of Kiwibank app
Toby Cox (@@CarnivalLabs) – Carnival Labs, creators of applications for DreamWorks, Kraft Foods, Air New Zealand and more…

More speakers to be confirmed

This is our marque design seminar this year, seats are limited. Don’t miss out RSVP at Lil Regie now.

When: Friday 20th Jan 12pm -> 2pm
Where: Deloitte 16th Floor – 10 Brandon Street Wellington 6011
Map: 10 Brandon Street
RSVP: Lilregie (Seats are limited, First come, first serve.)

Light refreshments will be provided

Our last Xero Summer Seminar for 2011 is tomorrow!

XSSS#4 – Dec 16th : “Why Testing Matters!”

Mike Talks (@TestSheepNZ ) from Kiwibank, Brian Osman (@bjosman) and Steve Wilsher both from QualIT will be talking you through the testing minefield. With each and every release of software and web update, the products companies ship carry their reputation. As computer solutions become increasingly complex, testing is a vital part of software development which everyone will encounter. 

When… 12:15pm – 1:30pm Friday 16th December (this week!)

Where… at Kiwibank on Waterloo Quay. Please register at reception on level 1 upon arrival, (here’s a map) (Thanks to Kiwibank for providing a venue)

RSVP… is essential as spaces are limited! Please do this over here on the groovy lil’ regie platform

But the action doesn’t stop there! Coming up in the Xero Summer Seminar Series in 2012?

XSSS#5 – Jan 13th: ”An Introduction to IT Automation using Puppet”

Jeremy Olliver (@static_storm) of AbleTech (And SoT Alumni) will talk about using Puppet to manage deployment of servers and infrastructure. Managing the deployment of servers is always a pain in the ass. Puppet helps make that a thing of the past.

When… 12:15pm – 1:30pm Friday 13th January

Where… at Kiwibank on Waterloo Quay. Please register at reception on level 1 upon arrival, (here’s a map) (Thanks to Kiwibank for providing a venue)

Keep an eye out on our blog for more 2012 updates. We’ll have a panel discussion on “Designing for the new internet – Tablets and Smartphones,” “Lean Start Ups,” and many more! 
Once again, thanks to Xero for sponsoring this awesome series and to Kiwibank for providing us with a venue!

We have confirmed three speakers for Xero Summer Seminar Series up until the Xmas! Here’s the line up:

XSSS#2 – Dec 2nd : “Life at the biggest website in New Zealand”

Ever wondered what life is really like at New Zealand’s biggest web company? Jay Nielsen ( @TradeMe_Jay ) (lead developer at FindSomeone) will be leading a panel of colleagues about what it’s really like working at TradeMe. Joining Jay are Daniel McCleland (a testing superstar), David Curlewis (Head of Database) and Richard Rowley (an Awesome API Developer).

When… 12:00pm – 1:30pm Friday 2nd December (this week!)
Where… at Kiwibank on Waterloo Quay. Please register at reception on level 1 upon arrival, (here’s a map) (Thanks to Kiwibank for providing a venue)
RSVP… is essential as spaces are limited! Please do this over here on the groovy lil’ regie platform
What… are you waiting for? inspiring & informative speakers! Lunch! Awesome networking with the Wellington IT community!

XSSS#3 – Dec 9th: Introducing “Sass”

Terrence Wood (@Terrencewood )of Xero is going to introduce Sass, which is an extension to CSS3 that makes CSS easier to manage.

From the Sass website

Sass makes CSS fun again. Sass is an extension of CSS3, adding nested rulesvariablesmixins,selector inheritance, and more. It’s translated to well-formatted, standard CSS using the command line tool or a web-framework plugin.

When… 12:00pm – 1:30pm Friday 9th December
Where… at Kiwibank on Waterloo Quay. Please register at reception on level 1 upon arrival, (here’s a map) (Thanks to Kiwibank for providing a venue)
RSVP… is essential as spaces are limited! Please do this over here on the groovy lil’ regie platform

XSSS#4 – Dec 16th: “Introduction to IT Automation using Puppet”

Jeremy Olliver (@static_storm) of AbleTech (And SoT Alumni) will talk about using Puppet to manage deployment of servers and infrastructure. Managing the deployment of servers is always a pain in the ass. Puppet helps make that a thing of the past.

When… 12:00pm – 1:30pm Friday 16th December
Where… at Kiwibank on Waterloo Quay. Please register at reception on level 1 upon arrival, (here’s a map) (Thanks to Kiwibank for providing a venue)
RSVP… is essential as spaces are limited! Please do this over here on the groovy lil’ regie platform
Coming up in the Xero Summer Seminar Series in 2012? We’ll have a panel discussion on “Designing for the new internet – Tablets and Smartphones,” and will let you know as more seminars are confirmed.

Once again, thanks to Xero for sponsoring this awesome series and to Kiwibank for providing us with a venue!

On the 4th of February 2011, we asked some of our SoT2010 interns to tell us what they’d been up to this summer.

First up: Cameron Fowler spent Summer of 2010 working as a code intern for Able Technology.  His projects included and a customisable store locator tool. 

Here’s the video of Cameron’s talk:

Intern Lightning Talk – Able Technology from SummerOfTech on Vimeo.

This is what Amber-Jean Hornsby had to say after 12 weeks working as a Design Intern at Xero:

Who would have thought accounting would be fun? The thing about Xero is somehow they actually make accounting enjoyable, addictive and visually delightful. They are an awe-inspiring hardworking team who live and breathe their product and never fail to impress, even as the company rapidly expands.

Read more about her work experience on Xero’s blog.

We’re totally committed to opening up more opportunities for design graduates to become part of the creative workforce… thanks Amber-Jean for your hard work, and great tips to help make SoT work for designers!

Do YOU know the person who can take Summer of Tech into the future?  Following on from our announcement of a partnership with NZCS, we’re looking for a super-awesome individual to come on board and drive NZ’s premier ICT internship programme!

Are you (or is someone you know…)  looking for a role utilising your existing mix of skills: a super-organised and motivated person with solid knowledge of the ICT sector and a background or interest in engaging with emerging and other professionals, young and not-so-young?

The role includes running Summer of Tech in Wellington, scoping the national roll-out, and incorporating NZCS’s wider engagement platform with students/tertiaries/internships/mentors… all good stuff!

More details on NZCS’s website, here
Full job description is available here

PRESS RELEASE – NZ Computer Society Inc. (NZCS) and Summer of Tech
29 March 2011
For Immediate Release

The New Zealand Computer Society Inc (NZCS), the professional body of the ICT sector, today announced an adoption of the highly successful Wellington Summer of Tech internship programme and a significant expansion and nationwide rollout of the initiative.

“This move will help redefine the future of student-industry engagement for those studying towards a career in the tech sector across New Zealand” NZCS CEO Paul Matthews said today.

Summer of Tech, formerly known as Summer of Code, is a very successful student internship programme for those studying for a technology-related career. Launched in 2006 and now in its sixth year of operation the award-winning programme helps businesses source top talent from local tertiary institutions while giving students valuable real-world industry experience. The programme includes a series of bootcamps and industry-led skills development workshops to help bridge the gap between industry needs and educational development.

NZCS Chief Executive Paul Matthews and Summer of Tech Executive Committee Chair John Clegg today jointly announced that the Wellington Summer of Tech programme would now operate under the NZCS umbrella and be rolled out across New Zealand.

In announcing the revamped project Matthews said “NZCS has been a strong supporter of the Summer of Tech programme which grew from a real need experienced by startup businesses in Creative HQ, Wellington’s business incubator. The programme has helped Wellington employers source top local talent while easing the move from study to industry for hundreds of tech students. We’re very excited to be playing such a big part in the next chapter of this excellent programme”.

SoT Executive Committee Chair John Clegg today said “The Summer of Tech programme has been hugely successful, however it’s now time to scale and grow the programme and progressively roll it out across New Zealand. The scale, breadth, ICT community engagement, non-profit nature and strong reputation of NZCS makes it the ideal organisation to work with to achieve this”.

“Student internships in the ICT and related sectors are absolutely essential for New Zealand’s innovation and technology future”, Matthews said. “This programme has continued to enjoy significant success because it’s focused at the right place – an industry-led initiative supporting tech students in partnership with academic institutions”.

“NZCS and Summer of Tech will roll the initiative out throughout New Zealand over the next 12-24 months and we’ll be looking to the technology sector and the Government to turn words into actions and continue to support the growth of this hugely important project”, Matthews said.

“This project will continue to be a grass-roots industry-led initiative aimed at solving a very real and existing problem”, Clegg said. “Those that have been a part of this programme over the last six years in Wellington can rest assured that this move will secure the future of Summer of Tech while ensuring business as usual in the Capital”.

Current Summer of Tech Coordinator Ruth McDavitt will remain involved and the Society today began advertising a new role including coordinating the national rollout of the project.



About the NZ Computer Society

NZCS is the professional body of ICT Professionals and as a non-profit incorporated society works with industry, academia, Government and the wider community to achieve its mission of increasing the education, standards and professionalism of the New Zealand ICT profession and the base-level computing skills and confidence of New Zealanders.

Founded in 1960 and with thousands of members nationwide NZCS is the largest and oldest ICT body in New Zealand.

About Summer of Tech

Summer of Tech is a successful student internship programme beginning life in Wellington as Summer of Code in 2006. SoT uses a sophisticated algorithm to match students and companies and provides a series of industry-led workshops and bootcamps for those studying to work in the technology-related sector.

For more info please contact:

Great article on TechCrunch for students AND employers, here

Interns and job-seekers

Take note: smart employers will be hiring on Attitude (and Aptitude)!  If you’re seeking a role in a startup or innovative company, know that punching above your weight, constantly seeking to learn & develop, and being a good fit with company culture are all EXTREMELY important!

“Eff experience. I want to know whether you can deliver. If you can, you’re golden. You’ll go a long way. If you can’t – you’re toast. Are you up for it?”

Startups (and other smart employers)

Are you constantly investing in your talent pipeline?

“Get out there and find them. Ask others for intros to their talented friends. Meet talented people and sell them the vision. Get them exited about what you’re doing. Be relentless.”

We meet a lot of smart employers who know that attitude, aptitude and potential are essential for growing an awesome team. 

Highly recommend the whole article, here.  May not be completely tranlsatable to the NZ market, but some excellent themes in there for the Summer of Tech community.

Many of us have been feeling helpless sitting here in the North Island reeling from the terrible havoc in Christchurch. The wider NZ and global community is stepping up to help, so here are some ways that the Summer of Tech community can be a small part of restoring normality to people:
One of SoT2010′s interns, Tim McNamara, is leading the charge to bring information to the people of Canterbury. The Christchurch Recovery Map, at, allows people to send in status reports via txt, email and SMS. With the help of many others, the site has reached 100,000 page views in a week and provided up-to-date information to tens of thousands directly, and many more indirectly.

The website is run by volunteer helpers. One of those helpers could be you!

Optimal Usability is hosting an information and training session this evening to introduce people to the site’s back end. Volunteers have processed roughly 180,000 messages so far. This has been a fabulous effort. The project now needs a group of dedicated people that can dedicate 2h per week for 4 weeks to help take the burden off of the volunteers that have contributed thus far.

Location: Optimal Usability, 1 March 2011, from 5pm (for a 5:30pm start)
Skills required: Maturity (many messages we receive are distressing), the ability to find the address

What’s in if for you?
This is a great opportunity to network with some of New Zealand’s best tech talent. Nat Torkington, a speaker at one of our popular summer seminars, is the project’s media spokesperson, and is part of the site’s nuts and bolts. Sam Minee from SilverStripe has donated his own time to fix bugs, along with other fantastic, dedicated and talented members of the Wellington IT community.

On a more personal note, volunteers have found that contributing to the site provides a great sense of relief. Many people are experiencing a sense of helplessness. By contributing something as tangible as getting people to water and food to survive, we can ease that discomfort.

How to sign up for

This is a guest post by Koshy John, who was an intern during Summer of Code 09 and Summer of Tech 2010:

If you are an employer in Wellington, and have never heard of the Summer of Tech or think that university students are unlikely to contribute substantially to your business, you are about to be let in on a big ‘open’ secret that 40 other Wellington companies would prefer you didn’t know.

A little bit about me first: I am a M.E. student at VUW 6 months away from completing my thesis. A multibillion dollar IT company had offered me a permanent position a whole year before I completed my undergraduate degree (I opted to do my Masters). I maintain my own software in my spare time and they have been downloaded over 680,000 times so far. I am currently the primary Microsoft Student Partner at Victoria, and I also lead a Microsoft Imagine Cup ’11 NZ Top 20 finalist team,, mentored by Microsoft and Intergen employees. More about me.

In 2009, I was hired by Optimal Workshop through the SoT to work on their usability tools. I helped redesign their database and came up with a viable migration scheme, aside from improving application security and troubleshooting hard to reproduce errors.

In 2010, I was hired by Kiwibank and became the first developer there to target the new Windows Phone 7 platform in the form of a geolocation application to help customers find the nearest Kiwibank locations. You can watch a video of it in action here:

Kiwibank Finder (Windows Phone 7)

Both companies were very happy with my performance and I would have continued on at either place if not for my pressing academic commitments. More about my career.

If you participated in Summer of Tech in 2009 or ’10, you’d have had a pretty good shot at hiring me and/or many other candidates like me. It would have cost you a trivial sum of money, given you access to the most driven tertiary students in Wellington today, created substantial value for your company and left you with a big smile on your face. Like several of the companies that participated, you may have even gone on to hire your intern(s) full time afterwards.

If you think hiring students would cost you a lot in way of training, your fears are misplaced – SoT students are highly self-motivated (that should be apparent from the fact that they give up their summer vacations to get ahead in their career).  They soak up new information quickly and on their own when merely pointed in the right direction. They also receive preparatory training from industry experts during the year before they actually turn up at your door.

The Summer of Tech programme has given students like me so much and created so much value for employers in Wellington that it would be a shame if more in the community didn’t realize its value earlier.

If you aren’t convinced that you need to participate in the Summer of Tech, please remember that even the brightest stars in your organization had to start somewhere – it makes a lot of sense to catch them young so that you don’t have to pay the price later.

[I’d like to acknowledge John Clegg and Ruth McDavitt (from SoT), Andrew Mayfield and Sam Ng (from Optimal Workshop), and, Tony Kennedy and Justin Crawshay (from Kiwibank) for the wonderful opportunities that I got over the summers of ’09 and ‘10.

Calling all growing IT companies, entrepreneurs and anyone curious about protecting the value of their ideas, product and business!

The fine folks at Baldwins are offering Summer of Tech participants a great opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of IP, with a special focus on IT companies.  If you’re a startup (or even established business) curious about how Intellectual Property works, if you’ve been thinking of trademarking but didn’t know where to start, if you’re a Designer want to know how copyright & design registration can help you protect your creative output… read on!

“Intellectual Property in Information Technology Seminar” presented by Baldwins Intellectual Property

This presentation will share insights into the opportunities and risks associated with trade marks, trade secrets, registered designs, copyright, and patents as well as offer commercially practical tips to succeed and grow your IT business. Baldwins Intellectual Property has a number of professional advisors having IT-related qualifications and expertise in assisting local and global IT companies achieve and maintain their commercial advantage.

You will also be able to book a half hour private discussion after the seminar, to learn more about how YOU might be able to maximise the value of your IP – at no cost and at a time that suits you.

What: Baldwins “Intellectual Property in Information Technology” Seminar
When: 1pm-3pm, Tuesday 1 February
Where: Level 14, Baldwins Centre, 342 Lambton Quay
Rsvp: is compulsory, please sign up over here, before 28 January (space is limited!)

Internships are go, go, go!  Thanks to the amazing support of employers, we currently have over 70 interns undertaking paid summer work experience as part of Summer of Tech 2010.  There has been a very positive response to our new “Design” stream, as well as a surge in demand from Palmerston North employers.

We’re getting some great feedback about the interns’ work on projects, if you’d like to share some info about what your interns are doing, please let us know!

Numbers are up on last year, and the stats for SoT2010 so far look like this:

450 students registered for Summer of Tech
30 technical bootcamps presented by employers during 2010
4 communications workshops to help with CV’s and job interview skills
500 speed interviews
40 companies hosting
72 interns placed (+ a few more employers still hunting for interns/employees!)

…but it doesn’t end there..!

Connections with industry and the wider Summer of Tech community is ongoing!  We’ve been getting a record turn-out to the Xero Summer Seminar Series, with entertaining & informative presenters, lunch and networking opportunity that is part of connecting interns with the wider tech community.

The 2011 events kick off on Tuesday 11th January, and we’d love to see you there.  RSVP here.

Opening Doors to future careers is a big focus for us throughout the programme, and this year we’ve continued our great relationship with Webstock and Weta, 2 fine examples of Wellington technology success!

Opening doors to Webstock: Interns have been given a superb opportunity to attend Webstock, and a number of alumni/supporters have offered to sponsor students.  If you can give a little to this great cause, it’d mean a lot!

Opening doors to Weta: The nice people at Weta Digital have once again opened the doors to their datacentre, and Interns will be treated to a behind the scenes tour (including a glimpse at Park Road Post and some Avatar clips).  Interns need to contact us directly for more info about this one.

Thanks to everyone who’s supported SoT2010, we hope to see you at an upcoming event – ALL WELCOME to the Xero Summer Seminar Series!

Widely considered to be *the* web event of the year, Webstock brings international experts to Wellington and presents a fantastic opportunity for web professionals to connect with the latest thinking, techniques, trends and personalities in the global web industry.  Attendance at Webstock has been scientifically proven to be beneficial & kick-start many a web career by delivering inspiration, education and connections.

Our interns are seeking a career break. Can you help us to help them attend Webstock in 2011?

The awesome people at Webstock have are doing everything they can to enable Summer of Tech interns to attend in 2011.  We’re asking other fine members of the local business community to help us out too.

Summer of Tech is seeking financial support from the wider Wellington web industry on behalf of poor (hard-working & deserving) students.  We’re raising $ via a Givealittle cause (here’s a link), and will allocate the funds raised to the most deservingest interns at the end of January, to support the cost of attendance of the Conference and/or Workshops at Webstock in 2011.

Summer of Tech 2010 Friends & Sponsors:

Are you ready to invest in the future of Wellington’s web talent? Giving a little to this cause translates into giving a BIG career break to a deserving young person!  If you’re lucky enough to be going to Webstock yourself, if you’re unable to attend in person but want a motivated delegate to attend on your behalf, if you’ve had a great 2010 and are looking to give back to the community, if you’re looking to pay it forward or sprinkle some fairy-dust out there into the universe… We’d love to have you on board!

No amount is too small to make a difference! We reckon Webstock is great value, but even local world-class conferences are beyond the means of those at an early stage in their web career.

Please give a little to this GREAT cause: HERE

If you have questions or would like some more information about sponsoring, please contact us directly

Summer of Tech 2010 Interns

If you want financial assistance to go to Webstock, you will need to make a pitch as to why you deserve it, and email to Summer of Tech before 8pm on 21st January 2011.  Summer of Tech, in discussion with the Sponsors, will allocate the funds based on your pitches.

Some things to think about when preparing your pitch:

  • Your pitch is the opportunity to demonstrate why you deserve to go to Webstock in 2011
  • Why are YOU a good investment?
  • What will you get out of it?
  • What will your sponsors (& Wellington & the wider web industry) get out of it?
  • Be creative ;-)

Today was the day of the announcement of the winning entries to the Great NZ Mix & Mash Competition!  The organisers and supporters of the Mix & Mash initiative deserve a medal, it’s been a great way to get people to use, re-use and mash-up open data.  Congratulations to everyone who entered… and a HUGE Summer of Tech shout out to the winners of the “Best Newbie Mashup”, the Tax Receipt 2010 mashup, Amanda Dorrell and Nick Malcolm (interns at Southgate Labs)!

Also, special congratulations from us to the whole Southgate Labs team, winners of the Best Open Government Service Award for their MPs Playing Cards iPad app.

and to Cameron Prebble (Summer of Code Alumni, not to mention awesome volunteer filmer of Summer of Code & Tech bootcamps and seminars for many years) for his 2 awards:  “best use of Google cloud computing services” and ”Outstanding mashup” for the Mashblock.

Again, everyone who entered: You Rock!  We look forward to experiencing your mash-ups and look forward to more of the same!