WINNING HACKER: Matthew Harris at GovHack Sunshine Coast.
WINNING HACKER: Matthew Harris at GovHack Sunshine Coast. Contributed

Bright future ahead for young app developer

HERVEY Bay's young app developer 13-year-old Matthew Harris is at it again, having brought home the Spirit of GovHack at the Sunshine Coast GovHack 2017 Awards. 

Matthew's mother, Jackie Harris, said he had an amazing time over the weekend, meeting and working with many IT industry professionals on the Sunshine Coast.

"I have been approached by three of these leaders who want to talk to me about mentoring Matthew and helping guide him towards his career of choice," Mrs Harris said.

"It was a fantastic weekend where 'hackers' had about 48 hours to develop a concept for an app and produce a video using the data that the government released for the event.

Mrs Harris said the annual international GovHack competition brings about people from all walks of life to compete, converse, learn and develop.

GovHack media chief Peter Marks said this was Matthew's second year at GovHack as a youth competitor.

"From the moment he walked in the door his enthusiasm, for GovHack has been at 110percent," Mr Marks said.

"He is full of life and ideas and keen to learn."

Mr Marks added that Matthew travelled all the way from Hervey Bay to attend the event, and was what he had wanted for his 13th birthday, which he celebrated last week.

Sunshine Coast Council economic development branch and major projects officer Anne Lawrence said GovHack was a national competition with multiple locations around Australia and New Zealand and the Sunshine Coast event was strongly supported by a number of local government agencies who champion the open data movement.

"Matthew was part of a team called the Data Luddites and they created the project Aged Care Choices," Mrs Lawrence said. 

"We are looking forward to having Matthew back on the coast for some future events."

Matthew has also helped with the development of a Healthy Lifestyle App which is targeted at year four students to encourage healthier eating habits which is set to be launched in September.