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Elite Students Coming to UCF for North America Collegiate Programming Contest

UCF will host and compete against 49 other top student programming teams — including Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Caltech, UCBerkeley and Georgia Tech.
By: UCF News | May 18, 2022

The top 150 computer programming students on the continent will descend on the University of Central Florida’s campus from May 26-31 to compete in the North America Championship round of the 2022 International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC).

UCF, a longtime ICPC competitor, will host 49 other elite teams of student programmers from institutions across the U.S. and Canada in the North America Championship. These teams — including MIT, Harvard, Georgia Tech, Purdue and others — will go head-to-head until winners emerge.

UCF also will host the ICPC North America Programming Camp prior to the championship. On May 27-28, the camp will offer student competitors an opportunity to work through simulated World Finals-level competitions, access trainers with extensive experience in competitive programming and experience professional networking opportunities.

More than 60,000 teams from over 100 countries compete each year in regional contests. In March, UCF’s team was among the winners of the Southeast USA Regional Programming Contest, earning a spot in the upcoming North America Championship. Only the top 12 or so teams will advance from the North America Championship to World Finals in Bangladesh.

Participating universities assemble three-member teams of students who train rigorously to compete at solving real-world computer programming challenges. In this intense battle of the brains, students race against the clock in a competition of logic, strategy and mental endurance.

The competition has drawn big-name sponsors, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), TechGrove and UCF.

Recruiters from big tech companies offer many programming students six-figure salaries even before they graduate, in much the same way pro sports teams seek out elite athletes. University programming students who win consistently may end up at Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Facebook.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and IT occupations is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. These occupations are projected to add about 667,600 new jobs based on the high demand for workers in these fields stemming from greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data and information security. The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $97,430 in May 2021, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $45,760.

In addition to hosting the 2022 event, UCF is also a longtime competitor. For more than 35 years UCF has been among the best in the nation in ICPC competitions, and in 2018 ranked No. 1 in North America and No. 10 in the world. A UCF team has qualified for the World Finals every year during the past decade.

Story by Mark Schlueb ’93 ’21MA, UCF Communications