SkillsUSA Programming Competition
In Washington state, career and technical education instructors are highly encouraged to have students participate in approved leadership activities. These are provided by various recognized institutions including DECA, Future Farmers of America, Future Business Leaders of America, SkillsUSA and a few others. In an attempt to figure out whether my students should be part of one of these, I bought the SkillsUSA Computer Programming Championships Technical Standards. The only free information I was able to find about the SkillsUSA programming competition is a blueprint outlining the standards covered in the competition and a scoring rubric for this year’s competition. Is no one discussing this competition online?
If you’re thinking of buying the technical standards as a way to glean information about the competition, I would encourage you to save your money. It’s generic rules (piercings must not pose a safety hazard), the scoring rubric linked above, and a problem statement from last year. Things I did get from the document:
- Students must be SkillsUSA members to participate
- Students must wear official SkillsUSA clothing
- Students must submit a resume
- Students will take a “Leadership and Professional Skills Knowledge Test.” My favorite question from a sample:
Which of the following is a good behavior to show during an interview?
a) Chewing gum
b) Wearing unusual, memorable clothing
d) All of the above
- There’s no real algorithmic interest to the problems posed
- GUIs are heavily emphasized
I would be very curious to learn more about who participates in this competition and what their reactions are. I wonder whether the computer science education community is looking at some of these kinds of organizations as possible partners. SkillsUSA has a lot of reach and visibility — over 10,000 chapters across the nation — and seems to have partnerships with may state education departments. Perhaps computer science is too academic to be within the scope of what they cover? Looking over this document makes me feel out of place in the career and technical education world! For now, I’ll continue to encourage my students to participate in local programming competitions.