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On your marks, get set, code

On April 24, 2014

The Association of Computing Machinery — Women’s Section will be hosting a code-a-thon at USU on Saturday.

Keri Laughter, ACMW president, said in a traditional code-a-thon or hack-a-thon, participating programmers bring their own ideas, spend all day programming, and then present it at the end. There are usually no prizes, either.

“It’s just, ‘I feel good because I made something I wanted to,’” she said.

Laughter said Saturday’s event will be slightly different with the USU Entrepreneurship Club pitching the ideas for the programmers to try their hand at.

“We modified it because the Entrepreneurs Club has been pestering us about wanting more people that can code and write applications,” she said. “We are going to let them come and present their ideas, and the computer science students will pick the idea they want to work on.”

Casey Staley, former executive vice president of marketing for the Entrepreneurship Club, said the club helps students with their business ideas.

“It’s not always easy when you are going to college and you have a good idea that you think could make you some money,” he said. “We provide the resources, we provide the networking opportunities and even individuals who are successful entrepreneurs to come in and help students form and build their businesses.”

Staley said the business world and the computer world are becoming more and more connected.

“Nowadays it’s a lot more common to have something web-based,” he said. “It really was not that hard to get students to come up with a few ideas that are web-based.”

Because time is limited for the event, Laughter said the products of this event will likely not be finished products.

“Even if it’s just a design and they present a few slides about what they think the design should look like, or if they could get an actual mock-up that works a little bit, they can show that off,” she said.

Greg Daniels, a senior in computer science, said he will be participating because of the nature of the event.

“I don’t like normal coding competitions, but I like prototyping things,” he said.

Prizes will be given to teams judged to have the best ideas, Laughter said.

“We are trying to get some people from industry to judge,” she said. “It will give the students a chance to mingle with people from industry as well.”

Staley said he is excited for the cooperation between the two clubs that he hopes will continue if Saturday’s event goes over well.

“It will be a great little cohort,” he said.

Laughter said the main purpose for the joint event is to encourage the members of the two clubs to meet each other.

“I’m hoping that through networking, the entrepreneurs can say, ‘Hey, I know this guy,’ and the computer science students can gain experience working on real projects,” she said.

Great things come out of things like this, Laughter said.

“Google gives their employees 20 percent of their 40 hours per week to work on what they want,” she said. “They have seen more productivity out of people by doing that.”

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