Competitions can be nerve-wracking as they keep the audience on their toes, waiting for the competitors to make their next move and even more nerve-wracking for competitors.
Over the weekend, computer information systems (CIS) and graphic communication majors competed against other schools in “Code-a-Thon,” an event hosted by the Kansas City Federal Reserve. During this competition, students worked to build computer software solutions to solve issues with the software.
This event took place from 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25 to 11 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27. The issue of the software was revealed at 6 p.m. that Friday and the competitors had until 11 p.m. on Sunday to submit the solutions that they had crafted.
“The problem that we had to solve was fostering entrepreneurship,” said junior in graphic communication and web design Lydia Winters. “The three-day start up inspired us, by us thinking on how we could connect student entrepreneurs, with a kind of mentor.”
PSU had five students that worked together as a team and competed. There were three CIS majors on the team, junior David Sexton, junior Devon Tinsley, and senior Chris Evans. Also on the team was senior Aubri Stahl in CIS and graphic communication and Winters.
“It was really fun, overall,” Winters said. “I feel like I learned a lot.”
The students had to work as quickly as possible because they had a limited amount of time to form their coding solution.
“Students with skills that these five possess already are highly sought-after, as there are more than one million positions open for programmers across the U.S,” John Kuefler, instructor in CIS, told Pitt State News.
Pitt State News went on to speak about these students and their plans after graduation. Stahl has a definite job after she graduates in December at Koch Industries, Sexton is seeking out employment locally, Evans is a full-time employee as a programmer at Peerless Products, which is also where Tinsley has been offered a part-time position after he graduates.
“It’s hard in classes to actually make something real like this,” Winters said. “It (the competition) was really beneficial and it gets your name out there, too”.
This competition is unique as it gives students opportunities to practice different solutions for computer systems issues, as they would have to in the real world. Kuefler believes that the competition can interest more students in pursuing computer information systems as their field of study.
Computer information systems is a career field that is expanding as technology is constantly changing. The students prepared a lot so that when it was time for the competition, they would know exactly how to approach the software issue.
“We created an independent study class, where everyone could participate in the code-a-thon,” Kuefler said.
Kuefler served as a mentor to the students in the code-a-thon and, with the class that he teaches, it prepares them not only for the code-a-thon competition but also for tasks that they could potentially have in their careers in the future. There were four preparation sessions to give students information needed to be successful in the competition
“It’s kind of rare that I get to see something so tangible come up as a result of all the hard work that we do in class,” Kuefler said. “Getting to see them actually apply this knowledge and create something cool was something rewarding for me.”