There are many indications that today’s students are motivated as much, if not more, by the chance to make a difference in the world as they are to make money. By the same token it is not always obvious or clear to these students that computer science and software has huge potential to do a bit of both. But in fact computer science is making a big difference I the world and could potentially make an even larger difference. This is the logic behind the Imagine Cup, arguably the world’s premier student technology competitions, basing their theme around the UN Millennium Goals. The goal of the Imagine Cup most briefly is to:
Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems
So what is the competition? Actually a series of competitions and challenges that open the doors for multiple types of solutions in different areas of interest.
The top event is the Software Design competition to create real-world software applications using Microsoft technologies. The Embedded Development event involved using a provided embedded platform and the Windows Embedded Compact Framework to create a new and innovative solution to a real problem. The Game Design competition is about creating a game that helps teach, provide access to more people or solve other real world issues. Last year one of the top teams in the US was a high school team BTW.
The Digital Media competition is all about “your big idea could enlighten folks around the world about major global issues.” Photos, videos, music – no matter what form of digital media you are into are you thinking about how you can use your skills to change the world?
The IT Challenge is for students who love to play with the hardware and software mix. “The object of this challenge is to highlight the art and science of developing, deploying, and maintaining IT systems that are efficient, functional, robust, and secure.” Round 1 is a series of online quizzes. take as many or as few as you’d like and score 15 or more on one of them to move to the next round. There is even a practice round you can try today.
Now to be honest and upfront, most of the competitors are college and university students. So it can be a daunting for a high school student to put together a team. But while winning is always a goal there are other benefits of competing. For one thing it is a chance to push yourself to the limits of what you know and move past them. Are you up to university work? Beating out a bunch of college students would show that even if you didn’t beat them all. Are you looking for something that sets you apart from other high school students looking to get into a good college? Well showing the admissions office that you have the drive, the ambition, the skills (like communication and leadership) to work with a team through a major international competition should be a good start.
And maybe you will win. What events should you look at? Well a lot depends on your interests. If you are an IT student learning systems and network management you should really try to test yourself with the IT Challenge. Are you a digital artist than give it all you have in The Digital Media competition. Are you a programming student than the Game Design may just be your thing.
Are you up to the top of the line Software Design competition? This one requires a real time commitment. Are you up for it? Few high school students are with all they have going on in their lives. Are you and your friends the exceptions?
Of course if you are in college or university this is your chance to go up against the best and brightest in the world. No excuses if you want to show the world just how ready to change the world you are!