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2023’s Young Software Engineers of the Year – revealing Scotland’s best graduate talent 

ScotlandIS, the trade body and cluster management organisation for Scotland’s tech sector, has announced the shortlist for the Young Software Engineer of the Year Awards, taking place on 28th September. 

Now in their 34th year, the awards aims to recognise the best and brightest minds graduating from our Scottish universities in 2023, held as part of ScotlandIS’ leading annual tech conference, ScotSoft. 

Each year, universities nominate the student with best final-year project, with an expert panel of judges adjudicating which student receives first, second and third prizes with an additional Leidos Best Engineering Prize. 

Some of this year’s fascinating shortlisted projects include an investigation into the effectiveness of Machine Learning in image steganalysis, Formula 1-based telemetry and its role in Improving lap times for amateur sim racers, and whether use of autoregressive language models, such as Open AI GPT-3, could enhance pupils’ learning and lower high school dropout rates. 

The 2023 shortlist comprises:  

  • William Brown, University of Aberdeen 
  • Mads Bendixen, Abertay University 
  • Struan Robertson, University of Dundee 
  • Jack Duffy, Glasgow Caledonian University 
  • Laura Schauer, Heriot Watt University 
  • Michael Suttie, Edinburgh Napier University 
  • Irvyn Hall, Robert Gordon University 
  • Enrique Martín Ocaña, University of Strathclyde 

Graeme Smith, former winner and now Senior Director of Engineering at Youtube, said: “I’ve seen the Young Software Engineer of the Year awards from both sides. The YSE award really helped me get attention from employers in the early stages of my career.” 

Graeme previously worked for Amazon for 16 years, in roles including Managing Director of Amazon Development Centre (Scotland) and CEO of Amazon-acquired Sizmek. In the past, ScotlandIS member Amazon Web Services has sponsored the Young Software Engineer Awards. 

“As an employer, I’m proud to support the awards because it’s important to recognise upcoming talent and it’s been a great way for us to get introductions to these graduates, several of whom we have hired in the past.” 

The YSE Awards dinner always concludes with a notable after-dinner speaker, with years gone by featuring faces from comedian Kevin Bridges, to Olympian Chris Hoy, to former SAS: Who Dares Wins star Colin Maclachlan.  

This year, we will be joined by award-winning comedian, writer and presenter, Bennett Arron, who was the first major victim of identity theft in the UK, which left him penniless and homeless. Years later, Bennett wrote a comedy show about his ordeal – which was critically acclaimed at the Edinburgh Festival – followed by a Channel 4 Documentary where he proved the ease of the crime by first stealing the identities of the general public and then stealing the identity of the British Home Secretary.  

The Young Software Engineer of the Year Awards couldn’t happen without the incredible sponsors that support the awards: PDMS who are sponsoring the Champagne Reception; KAL who kindly sponsor the YSE brochure highlighting all the former winners; Sopra Steria, BCS and Resillion who sponsor the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes respectively; and Leidos who sponsor the Best Engineering prize. 

ScotSoft is Scotland’s leading annual technology conference, with insightful technical and leadership-style speakers from around the globe. 

If you’re inspired to learn more about the Young Software Engineer of the Year Awards, or book a table or a ticket, head on over to our website or give us a call on 01506 472200. 

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