Coding rookies, professionals bring innovation to 8th annual Southern Utah Code Camp

A participant at the Southern Utah Code Camp at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, Nov. 9, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — What started out as seven people has grown into well over 300 at the eighth annual Southern Utah Code Camp.

Participants of the eighth annual Southern Utah Code Camp at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah, Nov. 9, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

Elementary school kids as young as 8 years old to professionals all over the state of Utah gathered Friday morning at Dixie State University to work on coding, with some planning to code for 24 hours. The competition was spread out between the Gardner Student Center and the Snow Building.

Described as a programming, design and entrepreneurship contest, Southern Utah Code Camp consists of different divisions for coding-lovers to compete in, including industry, intermediate, novice and rookie teams. There’s even an option for younger kids who can’t participate in the 24-hour competition to compete in the rookie day camp, which lasts 12 hours.

Michael Gburski, one of the organizers of the competition, said participants have the option of choosing to create an app, game or a maker, meaning something physical, like a drone. Kids in the rookie division will receive starter kits based on their level of experience.

“These people will come in with their own ideas, or they figure it out while they’re here,” Gburski told St. George News.

Most people were planning to code throughout the night, he said, adding that meals are provided throughout the day and Saturday morning.

While the rookie day camp was to end Friday afternoon, three dozen judges will come in Saturday and judge participants’ application and coding based on the following criteria:

  • Technical expertise.
  • Completeness.
  • Aesthetics.
  • Commercial viability, which is not applicable for the rookie division.
  • Novelty and innovation.

For each division there will be first-third place winners. Although there are prizes for winners, like medals and T-shirts, Gburski said some people participating won’t even submit a judging application.

They’re just here to be in the environment, hang out and code for the afternoon.”

Matt Excell, one of the founders of Southern Utah Code Camp and a local technology strategy consultant, said this competition draws people from all over Utah and Nevada, and it’s even had people participate from as far away as Germany.

A participant working on her code at the Southern Utah Code Camp at Dixie State University in St. George Utah, Nov. 9, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

The goal for organizers of the competition is to continue building Southern Utah’s technology pipeline.

“It’s a great networking opportunity for both competitors and technology-focused and technology-interested businesses in the area to learn who is out there,” Excell said, adding that half of this year’s participants are high school age or younger.

To learn more about the competition and the rules involved, visit the Southern Utah Code Camp website.

Email: mheckenliable@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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