Written by | Magaly Tinoco
An Amarillo College student is a first-time semi-finalist for the 2015 Pearson Student Coding Contest. Twenty-six-year old Brent Autry, a computer science major, submitted a mobile application that allows students and instructors to create flash cards as a study guide. Computer science instructor Dewayne Higgs helped Autry begin the process of creating his contest entry. “Before he submitted his idea, we discussed it, and his idea was a gamification of learning,” Higgs sa. “Learn in a Flash” is the name Autry gave the app he designed. “The Pearson contest is a competition for software developers and software engineers,” Higgs said. “Being able to create quality-level software that is actually worthy of winning this competition is definitely a feat.”
Higgs said that not only does this competition get students started on creating programs and software, but it gives them a head start on the future.
“To be able to create this software right now shows that these particular students are very capable of doing work that programmers have been doing in the field for 10, 20, 30 years,” Higgs said. “I am really proud our program has students that can compete on a national level,” said Dr. Carol Buse, the department chairwoman over computer science. The Pearson Student Coding Competition is an annual contest that allows undergraduates to create some type of application that is original, innovative, creative and functional. This year, students had to focus their proposals on finding techniques to make learning more entertaining, fun and educational. Proposals were submitted Nov. 13, 2015. Around January 2016, contestants were notified whether they made it to the second round.
Another AC student, Axl McCracken, also made it to the semifinals but for personal reasons did not continue with the competition. “I am learning how to use the platform that I want to make the program in,” McCracken said. He said he plans to enter the contest again in the fall. First-place winners received a check of $5,000. Second place got $2,500, and third place won $1,000. Semifinalists also had an opportunity to apply for an interview for a summer internship at the Pearson company. The winners were announced Feb. 5.