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High School Programmers to Face Off in Monmouth University Competition

Monmouth University’s Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSSE) will be hosting its annual High School Programming Competition on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 at the university’s West Long Branch, N.J. campus.

The university will welcome 24 three-person teams from Middletown Township, Ocean Township, Freehold Regional School District, Toms River School District, Henry Hudson, Red Bank Regional and Donovan Catholic.

Photo shows high school programmers work during a previous competition hosted by Monmouth University's Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering.
High School programmers work during a previous competition hosted by Monmouth University’s Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering.

Partnering with CSSE for the event this year are IBM, Commvault, and Sparta Systems. Several university alumni who are employed with Sparta Systems will give a short keynote address and IBM representatives will participate in a panel discussion for the high school teachers who will be accompanying their students to the competition.

Additionally, John Walicki, IBM Developer Advocate, will speak to the students about the IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. The Internet of Things is a network of physical devices, with embedded electronics, software, or sensors, which allow these objects to connect and exchange data via a network.

Recent studies have estimated that more than 30 billion objects with a global market value of $7.1 trillion will make up the IoT by 2020.

It’s important for the CSSE department and the university to continue to provide outreach opportunities to enhance the education of students in the region, said Jamie Kretsch, the CSSE department chair.

“The role of computers in the world is increasing dramatically, but there is a chronic shortage of computer science graduates to address the surging need,” she said. “While 58 percent of all new jobs in STEM fields are in computing, only eight percent of STEM graduates are in computer science.”

Kretsch noted that while there are about 22,000 open computing jobs in New Jersey, colleges and universities in the state only yield approximately 1,100 computer science graduates each year.

“I think that if more students knew what it was like to work in computing, they would,” Kretsch said, pointing out that the average salary for a computing occupation in New Jersey is nearly double the state’s average fulltime annual salary.

The High School Programming Competition is, “a fun, challenging, team-focused day and the CSSE department hopes it will inspire high school students to continue their computer science studies beyond high school. That’s a big step toward combating the shortage,” said Kretsch.

Students will learn the results of their efforts by the end of the day and prizes will be awarded to the top teams, courtesy of the event’s sponsors.

For more information on Computer Science and Software Engineering at Monmouth University, contact Jamie Kretsch at 732-571-4456 or or visit