COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Franklin University is hosting it’s annual high school hackathon competition. This year’s theme is “Coding for the Community.”
CBusStudentHack is a programming contest that exposes teens to computer and information science. In this competition, students will be solving real-world problems with an app they develop themselves.
177 students from 23 schools across Central Ohio are up to the challenge, kicking off a 6-week long hackathon on Friday.
“The importance of the app is finding issues around our community and trying to solve it while building peace,” said senior at Columbus Downtown H.S. Jenelysc Martinez.
She said her hackathon team is thinking of ways to reduce homelessness with their app.
“We want to lend a helping hand using technology to better our communities and the people who live in them,” said Martinez.
It’s just one example of a real-world problem that teens in this competition are choosing to tackle with technology.
Junior at Mechanicsburg H.S. Alexander Miller hopes his team can help make a difference.
“With the state of where our nation is right now, especially with the recent shootings and things like that, violence and conflict is definitely something that is a common issue and with the amount that people are on their mobile devices, an app can really help with different things like that,” said Miller.
Todd Whittaker, department chair of Computer and Information Science at Franklin University ,said a hackathon isn’t about breaking into computers. It’s about developing code.
“When you expose students to technology, code, careers early on then they realize these are things we can do. These are problems that we can solve,” said Whittaker. “It’s really great because there are thousands of jobs that are not going filled right now because there aren’t enough people to fill them.”
Jobs these students are working towards being able to fill.
“I like computers,” said Miller. “I can do anything I want to with computers.”
“It’s a competition, but the goal is that we’re competing to make a better community. We’re not competing just to win,” said Martinez. “We’re competing to help others and to make Franklin County a better place.”
The Grand Prize winners will get $5,000. The finale event will be held on April 27th.