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Students Analyze Data to Solve Real-World Issues

A unique competition hosted by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Business Intelligence Center is back with a twist. For years, Go Code Colorado has invited participants from different counties to pull public data from the state and analyze it to find solutions for Colorado organizations and businesses.

This year, two separate challenges have been introduced, both of which are fully-virtual: The Business Analytics Track and the Business Application Track. This business solutions challenge competition is open to problem solvers of all different backgrounds — students, entrepreneurs, business owners and the list goes on. Those who participate can choose to compete in the analytics challenge or the application. The winners receive cash prizes.

It’s the third year at the competition for Colorado Mesa University Professor of Computer Information Systems Johnny Snyder, PhD. He stated that the reason he continues to participate year after year is because it’s an incredible learning experience for students.

“Generally, it gives my students a great example of what it means to be a data scientist, a data engineer, a data curator in this arguably data and information age,” said Snyder. 

Snyder oversees four teams that total 15 students, some of which have projects involving PPP loans, COVID-19 and public education. All teams are participating in the Student Showcase. The competition goes from March to May and challenges students to look at real-world issues and determine solutions.

“As teams we are able to ask the questions that data might answer, determine if data is out there to entertain these questions. Once we find the data, how to do we cleanse it, load it into the systems that were using, analyze it, given a nice visualization of it so that we can present it both orally and in writing to a generalist audience,” said Snyder.

The competition kicked off March 6. Finalists will be chosen in mid-May with the final event happening May 27.  


Written by Kelsey Coleman