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Computer-savvy students encouraged to enter Illinois Technology Association Fall Challenge

September 14, 2011

Photo of computer processing componentsThe Illinois Technology Association (ITA) Fall Challenge is focused on keeping talented computer science and computer engineering students in the Midwest.

This year, the Illinois Innovation Council and Gov. Pat Quinn are partnering with the ITA to reach more students at more universities for the second year of the challenge.

Alumni champions from the sponsoring companies and ITA representatives will come to campus from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, to visit with computer science and engineering (CS/CE) students in the Montgomery Hall auditorium.

In 2010, the ITA Fall Challenge engaged more than 700 CS/CE students from seven universities — including NIU — and connected them to dozens of tech companies looking for talent. In addition to a “Challenge” test with a $5,000 prize going to the top-scoring student, many students have been hired, and many underclassmen are doing internships that will lead to full-time positions upon graduation.

This year, the program has been expanded and will engage 1,500 students from at least 10 universities.

The test is a non-language-specific, object-oriented programming exam. It is appropriate for CS/CE students and any students who have coding and programming experience.

Juniors, seniors and graduate students are probably the best equipped to be competitive, but any student who has these abilities is welcome to take the exam.

Meanwhile, even though the test is focused on students who can code, the companies involved in the program are looking for talent in many forms, and the ITA is eager to get resumes from students with great technology skills and abilities. Some of those students might not take the test but could easily fit in the ITA program through the ITA resume database.

Sponsoring companies include GrubHub, Groupon, Allscripts, Backstop Solutions, Centro, SPR Companies, SmartSignal, Model Metrics and many more.

For more information, call (815) 753-1581.