BJU’s computer science department will hold a computer programming competition on Saturday, March 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Students have three hours to solve problems using computer programs they write. The competition provides a fun and mentally stimulating exercise in problem-solving. While the specific problems have been predetermined, contestants are allowed to choose how to best tackle them.
They may use any processes and programming languages or combination of programming languages they desire.
Dr. Jim Knisely, head of the department of computer science and primary coach of the BJU intercollegiate programming team, said about 30 students typically enter this competition.
While the competition obviously requires programming skill, it is open to all students, not just computer science majors. According to Knisely, the majority of participants are typically math, engineering or computer science majors.
The contest features some of what Knisely referred to as “whimsical prizes,” such as a balloon or rubber duck, for those who solve at least one problem, as well as cash prizes for the winners.
The duck prize jokingly references an early programming class project where students use a program to track objects (such as a rubber duck) flying through the air.
Knisely said the process of the competition is similar to challenges students may face navigating the job market. “It’s very similar to the type of situation a student will encounter in a technical interview,” Knisley said. “It actually turns out to be good preparation for them.”
Knisely also said that employers come in to sponsor the contest and present their company. This not only helps provide funds for the programming team but also allows students a chance to meet with potential future employers and make connections.