ST. GEORGE — For 24 hours, Dixie State University’s Gardner Student Center was alive with activity Friday, thanks to 280 programmers and designers competing for bragging rights and tech prizes at the sixth annual Code Camp.
A programming, design and entrepreneurship contest all rolled into one, Code Camp gives those who are or aspire to be programmers, designers, entrepreneurs, project managers, mentors or investors 24 hours to build a program, app or product.
Participants started working on their projects at 8 a.m. Friday, and judging began at 8 a.m. Saturday. After delivering a short presentation to the panel of judges, teams, which range in size from one to four participants, are assessed on their projects’ complexity, completeness, aesthetics/design, uniqueness and viability.
Prizes include handmade quilts, blankets and oven mitts provided by local 4-H clubs, as well as tech-geek treasures for the winners.
Teams were placed into the following competitive groups:
- Industry teams | comprised of one or more full-time professionals
- Collegiate teams | comprised of enrolled college students
- Novice teams | comprised of participants exploring the industry and learning new techniques
- Rookie Kit teams | comprised of participants exploring the industry who want to base their project on the provided rookie kit
Within each track, teams choose one of four categories from which to compete: game, app, service or maker.
Code Camp started as a project initiated by SEED Dixie, a Southern Utah entrepreneurial program, and exists to build a pipeline of talented programmers. The camp is open to students who don’t have programming backgrounds and serves as an avenue for students to start learning programming at a young age — a move that makes the industry feel less daunting. Additionally, the program prepares youth for a profession that is in desperate need of qualified workers.