Calling All Student Coders (and Wannabes Too)

Next week marks the beginning of SPARK’s San Diego Programming League for kids ages 8 and older sponsored by Stave. Starting with a kick-off event on Saturday, July 16, at the ServiceNow corporate offices in the UTC area, the program will meet once a week until August 27, culminating in demonstrations and pitches of the created games and a hackathon. This program aims to not only establish coding fundamentals, but also teach market-driven game development.

Students come together in teams of 2-4 to create a game with Scratch, a visual programming language for young code learners to create interactive content with. No experience is necessary, giving both beginning and intermediate coders an opportunity to further develop their coding skills. A $50 registration fee is required per student to cover the costs of the event.

SPARK is a local nonprofit that holds events for students and parents to learn programming through game creation in order to inspire rising generations to get involved in programming. Started by Bradley Owen for his sons and their friends, this organization has grown to host events and teach at various companies, expanding to teach over 1,000 students.

“I started the SPARK program because when I looked around for opportunities for my two sons to get involved in coding, I couldn’t find quite what was needed,” says Owen.  “In just a few years, we’ve hosted events everywhere from San Diego, to Las Vegas, to places on the East Coast and at every event more and more youth are learning about coding and opportunities in tech.”

The event in San Diego is sponsored by Stave, a local software firm that builds business applications.  Stave shares SPARK’s goal of supporting today’s youth for tomorrow’s future.

“As app builders ourselves, we wanted to be able to support the growth of future coders,” said Enrique “Bong” Lastrilla, President of Stave. “We’re excited to have this opportunity to support such an event and are excited to see what the teams create.”

ServiceNow was founded in San Diego and is now a $1 billion-dollar enterprise cloud company that aims streamline the delivery of services needed in the workplace. The ServiceNow Store offers numerous applications built on top of the ServiceNow software, such as those available from Stave.  These apps provide enterprises functional applications as a cost effective way to modernize their business processes on a common, workflow driven platform.

Volunteer judges are still needed for the event. More information about this event can be found at sparkprogramming.org.