It's Cool to Code: Inspiring the Next Generation of STEM Talent


"It’s cool to code.”

“You’re good at something that many people, as hard as they may try, simply cannot do well.”

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

These are just a few of the messages nearly 850 high school students on 298 teams heard from Lockheed Martin engineers and information technology professionals during the 2016 Code Quest competition.

Critical for Tomorrow's Workforce

Computer programming skills are highly necessary in the workforce now and will continue to be in the future – yet only 1 in 4 schools teach computer programming. The number of college graduates with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees has dwindled, while the demand is expected to increase significantly.

The Code Quest competition is one of the many ways Lockheed Martin is responding to the gap and building a pipeline for the next generation of STEM talent.

During the competition, high school students spend 2 hours and 30 minutes solving 17 difficult coding problems created by Lockheed Martin IT professionals, based on actual issues they've faced in their daily work. 

Participants also hear from Lockheed Martin leaders about career paths in information technology and engineering, and learn about the types of projects performed here every day.

"When you think about coding, you think about a person wearing glasses sitting at a computer," says Steve Brewer, coach at Apopka High School in Florida. "But this competition is really for anybody, and that’s what I love about it. Students are excited about it and it’s engaging."

Collaboration is Key

Lockheed Martin leaders encourage participants to collaborate within their teams and respect the unique skills each of them brings to the competition.

Anna O’Connor, a student from Mira Costa High School in California, participated in the Palmdale event.

“It was very challenging in some aspects, but also very fulfilling to work with my team to solve a problem with the correct code,” she says.

Andrew Delgadillo, student at Seminole High School in Florida, says he likes the competition because he gets to spend time with other students who share similar interests and also feel excited about coding.

Fast Facts About Code Quest

9 Nationwide Locations:

- Denver, Colorado
- Fort Worth, Texas
- Marietta, Georgia
- Moorestown, New Jersey
- Owego, New York
- Orlando, Florida
- Palmdale, California
- Sunnyvale, California
- Washington D.C. Metro Area

843 Students
298 Teams

602 Volunteers