JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - High school computer science students from Arkansas were at Arkansas State University Saturday to compete in a coding competition.
Sixteen teams were put to the test in the second annual A-State Coding Competition for Arkansas.
The students who competed Saturday had previously qualified at regional competitions.
State Director of Computer Science Anthony Owen said the competition is another successful part of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's computer science initiative, which mandated all schools in the state to offer those courses.
"The year prior to it becoming a state focus we had about 1,000 students taking a computer science course at a high school level," Owen said. "Since then we've been able to grow to over 6,100 students taking a computer science course at the high school level statewide."
Owen said he enjoys the opportunity to bring all the best students and teachers together to compete head-to-head.
"And gives these students who may not have other competitive outlets a place to come and show off what their skills are," Owen said.
He is also glad to see more colleges embracing computer science and coding courses.
"It can't just be a K-12 educational initiative," Owen said. "My office's goal and my office's purpose is building a pipeline that supports industry in our state. So if we are going to support our industry needs within our state we can't just do it within the K-12 environment. It has to be post-secondary, it has to be adult education in addition to K-12."
Director of the Educational Renewal Zone at A-State Jill Clogston said they were happy to host the contest and hopefully recruit some of these future graduates.
"We have an awesome computer science education program here and have a wonderful college of sciences and mathematics where they would study but it's also good to grab these students early on and get them used to the rigor and the academic fortitude they will need to be successful in college," Clogston said.
Gov. Hutchinson handed out the competition awards Saturday afternoon.