North Dakota launches student app challenge for career development

The North Dakota Information Technology Department on Friday announced the launch of a mobile application development competition to help high school and college students demonstrate and promote their talents to industry professionals.

The focus of the competition, which will take place April 8, is to help students explore career pathways, engage in creative problem-solving and connect with and learn from industry leaders. The state is asking students to develop apps that can address challenges in areas of public service, safety, finance and quality of life, and that run on Android, Apple and Windows mobile platforms.

“North Dakota’s statewide focus on STEAM education, including computer science and cybersecurity, is helping provide students with valuable 21st century skills and emphasizing our state’s workforce recruitment and retention needs as we continue to grow and diversify our economy,” North Dakota Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley said in a press release.

Industry professionals will judge app submissions on user interface, user experience, usefulness, innovation and portability. Judges will also offer feedback to student teams to help improve their apps.

The app competition, held in concert with the Dakota Strike Career Expo, a technology-focused career fair for high school and college students, will connect students with employers across industries, including military, public and private sectors, Riley said.

This competition marks the latest effort by North Dakota to promote STEM and computer science education, which has become pgrowing priority of the state in recent years.