Brock students place third in hackathon with Instagram companion app

On Sept. 26, a team formed of Brock students and alumni entered into the MasterCard Master of Code competition in Montreal. The competition tasks teams of (up to) five to plan, design, create and pitch an application within a 24 hour timespan. The team of Brock students placed third overall in the competition.

“Saturday morning was the information session, then coding started at 1:00 p.m. and continued throughout the night, until 1:00 p.m. the next day,” said Peter Wilson, fourth-year Computer Science major at Brock University.

Fellow Computer Science major, Matthew Peskett agreed, explaining that strong team work was just as important as strong personal coding abilities in the competition.

“There was no time to catch problems,” said Peskett. “It was really difficult to put our thoughts into something tangible. We all came in with a clear idea of what we wanted, but getting that into a product we could show the judges was difficult. You just have to work together and hope that everyone is able to complete their tasks.”

The team consisted of Peter Wilson, Matthew Peskett, Johnathan Holland, Karim Hamasni and Ryan Spring, the final two being recent Brock graduates.

Masters of Code Competition CMYK

Team Members pose after their success in Montreal


This year’s MasterCard Master of Code competition is holding 13 regional tournaments across the world. Locations range from Australia, Hong Kong and Brazil, to Montreal, into which the team of Brock students entered. The first place winners from each regional will be flown to the global Masters of Code retreat and competition in Silicon Valley later this year.

“[Peskett] and I have both done hackathons before, and each year we get better and learn a little bit more,” said Wilson. “Next year, we’re going to try to focus more on the design and interface of the application”.

The competition asks teams to use the MasterCard open APIs (application program interface) in order to create a prototype that displays design skills, creativity and clear business applications.

At this year’s competition, the team designed the prototype for an Android application entitled “Get That” — an Instagram companion app that allows users to link products in their pictures directly to marketplaces where followers can purchase the pictured product.

“The app cuts out the middle man,” said Peskett. “It would allow users to monetize their fan base.”

“It would work really well in the fashion industry,” added Wilson. “If a model posted a photo with a particular outfit, they could then link to a place where their followers could see and buy that exact product.”

The competition is not only designed to put a team’s coding abilities to the test, but also their ability to market the product as well – as the two minute presentations are an integral part of succeeding in the competition. The pitch was designed by Jonathan Holland, an upper-year student majoring in Business and Entrepreneurship.

“Brock is definitely teaching practical skills that have allowed us to compete,” said Wilson. “We’ve both taken an Android development class here at Brock and it’s something we had to rely on during the competition. We’d love for even more Brock students to compete and get involved outside of the classroom.”

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