Laurie Carey, founder of We Connect The Dots Inc., said,...

Laurie Carey, founder of We Connect The Dots Inc., said, "The point of the program is to teach.'' Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The deadline for an annual Code-A-Thon that pits teams of teenagers against each other as they pursue prizes is approaching.

The free event is sponsored by We Connect the Dots Inc., a Westbury nonprofit whose mission is to expose middle and high school students to coding and potentially set them on a technology career path.

The Code-A-Thon application deadline is Sunday, Dec. 27, or until the event reaches capacity. Applicants can register at

The 48-hour event, which will run from Jan. 29 to 31, is open to students ages 13 to 18 who will compete in four-person teams with one mentor. Teams will be divided into three levels of competition based on coding experience.

Laurie Carey, a veteran of software giant Microsoft Corp., founded We Connect the Dots in 2013 as a way to bridge the "digital divide" for children of all backgrounds.

She said that for the first time the event will be held virtually with participants from distant states, including Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and California.

Carey, the nonprofit's chief executive, said she expects about 200 registrants.

Participants need not have a background in software.

"It doesn't require any coding at all," Carey said. "The point of the program is to teach them."

In preparation for the weekend event, participants will be trained in HTML, CSS, JavaScript and React software beginning the week of Jan. 4. Then their future awaits.

"Some will become software engineers," she said. "Some will become project managers. Who knows?"

The competition is supported by a $35,000 contribution from Jovia Financial Credit Union (formerly Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union).

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