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NWMSU hosting programming competition for highschool students | News

(GLADSTONE, Mo.) Northwest Missouri State University hosting the ‘Most Awesome Programming Contest’ where area highschoolers got to show off their programming skills and compete against other schools.

This annual contest allows highschoolers to showcase their coding, problem solving, and team building skills, where they have to solve a coding problem without the help of external sources, such as the internet or AI.

Crystal Combs, one of Northwest’s computer science instructors said,

“Why we do this is we want to promote computer science and cybersecurity because we see a very big need for it in the job market. And by promoting things like this that make it a little more fun, outside the classroom more practical. We’re encouraging them to start careers in those fields, because we are seeing lots of demand from our real world jobs that they need more people majoring in computer science and cybersecurity. So that’s our hope.”

Multiple highschools attended from Omaha to KC, with the number of students competing being around 50, and all of them facing severe competition.

One of the teams said they were excited for the competition ahead.

“We didn’t prepare a whole lot, so we’re not quite sure, but we think we’ll be okay. This guy right here, he only codes in java like all day.”

The competition consists of the teams trying to solve coding problems from the inside out, they have the beginning and ending of a problem, but need to figure out the middle.

“So we get like a prompt, that’s like we need to find a solution for the for the problem they give us and then it’s pretty free, they just tell us what we need to like put out like what our answer needs to be. And then we make the code that takes whatever like input they give us and we have to make it match the output with whatever code we make.”

So it’s a little bit like solving it backwards. Like kind of like reverse engineer something.”

By solving these problems with critical thinking skills, these highschoolers are learning what it takes to be in the field, and gained some experience if they want to pursue coding in the future.