Coding CompetitionCtrl+Shift 2019

Our annual coding competition, Ctrl+Shift, is back again and even bigger this year! High school students will build websites and compete to win up to $5,000!

Competition Rules

Competition Prizes

1st Place: $5,000

2nd Place: $2,500

3rd Place: $1,000

Honorable Mention: $500

Ctrl+Shift is a city-wide coding competition open to all students between the ages of 13-18 attending any school in Philadelphia and Delaware. The goal of Ctrl+Shift is to give students the opportunity to think boldly and build projects that change the way they interact with their communities. In order to compete, students must:

  • Attend school in Philadelphia, PA or Delaware.
  • Be between the ages of 13-18.
  • Submit a project in one of the following categories: arts, education or entrepreneurship.
  • Be available to attend the in-person event on May 4, 2019.
  • Attend at least two (2) of the mentoring sessions offered to qualify as a finalist (see competition schedule below).
  • Apply as individuals or in groups (maximum of 3 team members).

Ctrl+ShiftSee what it's like to compete!

Want to see what Ctrl+Shift is all about? Check out this video to hear from last year's 3rd place team about their experience.

Competition Schedule

Please refer to the listing below for all Ctrl+Shift events. Important note: All applicants MUST attend at least two (2) mentoring sessions to be eligible for the final competition. Additionally, students must be present at the final competition to receive a prize.

Intro to Design Thinking Mentoring Session – Fri, December 14, 2018: 4:45-7:00 pm

Session Partner: Vanguard Innovation Studio

The purpose of this introductory session is to help students refine their website idea. For the first half of the session, students will participate in a design thinking workshop led by Vanguard Innovation Studio staff. Students will spend the remainder of the session working in project teams to develop their problem statement, goals, and early solutions for their website. 

Location: Vanguard Innovation Studio, 2300 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA

Wireframing + Project Planning Mentoring Session – Fri, January 4, 2019: 4:45-7:00 pm

Session Partner: Think Company

This working session will help guide students through the wireframing process. Students will participate in a brief workshop where they learn the basics of wireframing and how to start the process for their project.  Think Company volunteers will be on hand to give students feedback on their ideas and help them develop a project plan for their website.

Location: CIC Philadelphia, 3675 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA


User Experience Mentoring Session – Fri, January 18, 2019: 4:45-7:00 pm

Session Partner: Vanguard Innovation Studio

This mentoring session gives students the opportunity to dive into the user experience of their website. Students will work with professionals to identify and develop personas for their typical users that will help them refine their ideas and execution. With that information, students will revise their initial concepts and prioritize the features that matter most for their website.

Location: Vanguard Innovation Studio, 2300 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA


Fri, February 1, 2019

Registration Closes


Fri, February 8, 2019: Tools + Techniques Mentoring Session

During the “Tools and Techniques” mentoring sessions, students will work with professionals to identify tech solutions for the functionality and aesthetic of their website. This session is the opportunity for students to get inside tips about the best tools and techniques to deploy on their website.

Location: Jefferson Accelerator Zone, 137 S. 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107


Fri, February 22, 2019: Iterate, Test, Repeat Mentoring Session

Once students have a solid foundation for their website, they will utilize this time to evaluate and improve their websites. Students will work with mentors to evaluate current website features, as well as come up with new ideas for improvements to their projects. Additionally, students will learn best practices for testing their website’s performance and responsiveness in different environments.

Location: GURU, North American Building, 121 S Broad St 11th floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107


Fri, March 15, 2019: Help Desk Mentoring Session

This is an open session that gives students last-minute help on their projects before the submission deadline. Volunteers will be on hand to help assist students with specific tech questions or give them feedback from a user perspective.

Register for Session 6


Mon, April 1, 2019


Participants will be notified via email about whether they’ve made it to the final round and competition day on May 4th.

Fri, April 5, 2019

Finalist notifications sent out via email.

Fri, April 12, 2019: Prep+Pitch Mentoring Session – Finalists ONLY

Once finalists have been selected, they will have an additional opportunity to work with mentors and other professional volunteers to revise their websites based on feedback they have received. Students will also receive guidance on how to pitch their website idea on competition day.

Mon, April 22, 2019

Finalist Submissions due at midnight EST


Sat, May 4, 2019

Competition Day

Ctrl+Shift 2019 will be held on May 4, 2019 at CIC Philadelphia (3675 Market Street).

Check back soon for more details for the competition day!

Ctrl+Shift 2019 Mentoring Sessions will be made possible through the generous sponsorship of Capital One.
We would also like to extend a special thank you to our Mentoring Session Corporate Sponsors:

Student Registration Form

To register for the competition, please fill out the information below. Please review the competition rules above to make sure you are eligible to apply. Registration for the competition closes on February 1, 2019 at 11:59 pm EST.