Bryce Cronin is testament of a prospective future ahead of a hatrick win
Building not one, but two mobile application prototypes in the 2019 Hackathon, Bryce Cronin proves he’s not one to shy away from risks. Though distinctive, each of his innovations served to benefit the Australian mass market. The first posed to solve the career worries of driven school and university students and the second suited to eradicate plastic waste from households. His first solution, the ‘Future Jobs Finder’, sought to bridge the gap between the ambitious youth and Australian employers through the Australian Labor Market Information Portal. Schematically, the application matched the preferred career journey of high school students and university graduates with educational pathway options. This would aid them in gathering the necessary qualifications prior to their job search.
“I think the prototype I built really hit its mark with the target audience, it allowed young people to discover jobs in a fun ‘tinder-like’ way.”Bryce Cronin said upon the enjoyment of the success of what he had put forth.
It was his confidence that led him to bag a runner-up prize in the ACT state award ‘Canberra 2029 –Inclusive; Progressive; Connected’ and the national ‘Australia’s Future Employment’ award. With plenty of time left on his hands, Bryce put himself up to the challenge of delivering a second prototype called ‘urTrash’. A mobile app that puts a number to your plastic and household waste production and then visually magnifies that amount through Augmented Reality (AR). Using data sets from Encycle – a recycling and resource management firm, the program would estimate the lifetime waste generation of an individual, present an exhibit of the total amount using AR and finally, suggest lifestyle changes for the reversal of environmental damage. The thought process that went behind the conception was to stimulate involvement in Plastic Free July. To further delve into that, ‘urTrash’ extended the scope of the prototype for an outreach to men, addressing their responsive behavior to digital marketing platforms. To reach this untargeted segment, the software could be distributed across social media platforms like Snapchat and Facebook where users – specifically men, could interact with the Snapchat filter or Facebook camera.
“It’s clear that more government agencies are getting fully onboard with the open data movement. The data I used in my first project ‘Future Jobs Finder’, which was provided by the Labour Market Information Portal was almost perfect for what I needed. I was invited to the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business office in Canberra after the competition to discuss the provided data more in-depth with them, it was very exciting to see the enthusiasm they had around supporting open data and GovHack.”Bryce expressed his delight when asked about potential roadblocks or surprise elements with datasets.
A previous veteran at GovHack, Bryce has made multiple appearances from 2017-2019 bagging laurels to his name each time. Known for taking on challenges quite often, he experimented in participating both as a team and as an individual. When competing for the first time in 2017, he was accompanied by a team to which he said, “Competing in a team has always required a bit of time for me to settle in, but in the end it’s always possible to produce high-quality projects with the help of supportive team members and mentors.” It was in the later competitions that he chose to go solo, “I focus less on producing a high-quality project and more on what I can do to challenge myself and test my skills over the GovHack weekend.” His recommendation to first-timers is to join a team to get the “full GovHack experience.”
This advice broadens to future prospects as well. With experience at three GovHack events, his portfolio of work frequently sprouts up as a topic of discussion at most of his interviews. It was his brief encounter with students from his university – University of Canberra – that formulated his team for the 2017 Hackathon. There is enough evidence that GovHack is a crucial stepping stone to those like Bryce but they clasp onto opportunities that come their way or create their own. Today, it is the same group of members that comprises the University of Canberra Engineering Society, of which he was elected President of in 2019. “It’s probably my greatest achievement, and it happened because of GovHack.”
“GovHack is like no other hackathon in Australia, I definitely recommend that young techies (and non-techies) get involved. The GovHack community is welcoming to people of all skill-levels and backgrounds – it’s very easy to get involved. The skills you’ll learn and the people you’ll meet along the way will all be worth it!”shares Bryce who will join GovHack yet again for his fourth year.
This year however, presents another challenge before all of us. In light of the safety and wellbeing of its participants, GovHack has responded by taking the hackathon to a completely digital space for the first time in 10 years. This comes as a promise to deliver and an assurance to provide solutions to real-world problems just like those who partake in GovHack.