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8 Coding Competitions for Middle School Students

If you’re a middle school student interested in coding, consider gaining some competitive experience! 

Engaging in coding and app development competitions will not only provide you with a platform to demonstrate proficiency in coding and problem-solving but will also add to your CV, future research experiences, and your Statement of Purpose (SOP).


Coding competitions can aid your journey by giving you a platform to showcase your coding capabilities in a challenging environment and enhance your critical thinking and practical knowledge. Competing in these situations indicates a commitment to academic excellence and a willingness to push intellectual boundaries, a quality that colleges and potential employers highly value.

We’ve collated a list of 8 coding competitions for middle school students that you can consider!

Location: Virtual

Participation Cost: Team in a division $150 and $100 for the Elementary Division

Eligibility: All elementary, middle, or high school students. The school must register for the competition on the student’s behalf.

Dates: The dates for the 2024-2025 season are not out yet. However, four contests take place from November to March, with finals taking place during May. 

Registration/Submission Deadline: Multiple Deadlines between January to May

American Computer Science League-organized contests serve as solid exposure if you are geared toward coding and computer science. It is highly structured and engaging; the numerous contests will motivate, inspire, and challenge you. ACSL conducts computer programming and computer science contests at the K–12 level with schools and organizations divided among different classes by contestants' various skills and ages. The junior and intermediate divisions are suitable for middle school students.


Each season of ACSL consists of four contests. You will be tested on many different fundamental concepts of computer science, such as number systems, Boolean algebra, and digital electronics. On advancement to higher levels, the contests become complex, including solving problems with real-world applications where you will have to utilize programming languages such as Python, C++, or Java to solve problems, which makes the competition not only versatile but also very educational.

Location: Egypt

Participation Cost: 200 Euros per IOI country team, additional cost can be found here

Eligibility: Exceptionally talented middle and high school students. A school or team coordinator is required to register for the students. 

Dates: September 1st to 8th, 2024. 

Registration/Submission Deadline: Register by 15th June 2024

The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) is one of the world's most prestigious computer science competitions. This is an international competition where students compete through their coding skills in teams. To earn a spot on the national team, you must excel in the USA Computing Olympiad, making the road to IOI both challenging and rewarding. To participate, you need to have strong programming skills, particularly in C++, and be proficient in understanding and implementing complex algorithms. 

You will also be tested on logical thinking and problem-solving skills, apart from your coding skills. This year’s Olympiad is being held in Egypt.

Location: Virtual with final national round in Bethesda, MD 

Participation Cost: There's a fee but the amount has not been disclosed. 

Eligibility: Both middle school and high school students 

Dates: The competition dates are as follows:

  • Introductory Round (November 14th- 17th, 2024)

  • State Rounds (December 12th-15th, 2024)

  • Semifinals (January 23rd-25th, 2025)

  • National Finals (March 14th-18th, 2025)

Registration/Submission Deadline: April 1st, 2024- October 2nd, 2024 

CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education by the US Air Force Association aims to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science-related fields. The competition is built to simulate actual IT scenarios that teams of 2–6 students will face with real-world tasks they might encounter as IT professionals in their careers. You and a team of like-minded students will work through online rounds where they have to detect and eliminate cybersecurity vulnerabilities, building critical skills along the way throughout the competition.

The contest has multiple online rounds, according to the division you get divided into. The best teams from the online rounds are flown out to Maryland for the in-person National Finals Competition, with scholarship money on the line—providing ample reason for top-of-the-class students to give this series of contests their all. The competition provides unique hands-on experience gained at CyberPatriot that will help you step into the real world of cybersecurity. 

Location: Virtual

Participation Cost: No Cost

Eligibility: Must be a middle or high school student in a participating congressional district and also resident in the same district. You may participate as an individual or team of four.

Date: October 24, 2024 

Submission Deadline: Same as registration deadline- October 24th, 2024

The Congressional App Challenge is a competition meant to inspire students to solve real-world issues with coding by building an app that deals with a problem statement. This competition will give you a rare chance to use your programming abilities to create an engaging project that truly benefits your local community. 

To participate in the Congressional App Challenge, you must know how to code in common programming languages as well as have experience on different app development platforms such as XCode or Kotlin. Expect the competition to not only evaluate your coding skills but also your critical thinking and ability to build overall apps that solve practical problems in a user-friendly and efficient way.

Location: Multiple Locations throughout the US and Canada. Team details can be found here.

Participation Cost: $250 per team registration for middle school students. All the inclusions can be found here

Eligibility: Students between the ages of 9-14 (4-8th Grade) with 2 adult coaches. 

Dates: The competition will take place between November to June according to the location of the team. 

Registration Deadline: Registration has been open since Mid-May and will remain open till October- December according to team location 

The FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition is an exhilarating hands-on opportunity to plunge into the world of problem-solving, coding, and computer science-related fields. You and your team will build and program a LEGO robot to attack missions of a thrilling robot game. But that is not it, as it functions beyond robotics. You will also do some research to find and solve a current real-world problem where the competition will be fun and impactful. 

The challenge presented to you will aid your creativity and teamwork. You will also learn to blend technology with artistic expression in new, dynamic ways. This is the time to make a difference and showcase your innovative thinking in technology, arts, or both. This competition is a fun and exciting way to aid your journey into robotics and other coding-related fields!

Location: Virtual

Participation Cost: Free

Eligibility: The eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • All applicants must identify as female, translate, nonbinary or gender nonconforming.

  • All participants must be between 8-18 years old. 

  • You can only join one team which can be composed of 1-5 members.

Dates: The 2023-24 season is over. The competition will tentatively take place in April

Registration Deadline: Tentatively the registration period would be between October 2024- March 2025

If you identify as female, non-binary, or transgender, the Technovation Coding Competition is a solid opportunity to make a real impact in your community using technology. Since its inception, more than 39,000 girls from over 100 countries have participated in the competition, creating apps that address community challenges and bring technology to life in meaningful ways.

In this competition, the volunteer mentors will guide you by linking you up with club ambassadors who can help you put together and deploy your app. Technovation focuses not only on developing but also on implementing your app, so your project will be impactful. Technovation Girls will help you achieve a blend of technology and social change. You'll acquire precious skills in coding, problem-solving, and teamwork by solving real-world problems. Moreover, there are prizes and scholarships up to $2,000 available. Take part in the competition to see how far your creativity and determination can take you!

Location: Virtual

Participation Cost: No Cost

Eligibility: Students between the ages of 5-18 years old

Date: Registration Deadline for 2024 is closed. Registration usually closes around January. 

Submission Deadline: Submission deadlines are usually in May

Imagine Cup Junior 2024 is a global student challenge that opens the door to technology and citizenship education for children aged 5 to 18 who want to solve the world's biggest problems with technology. This competition is a great introduction to technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and cybersecurity, making it suitable for all levels, especially beginners.

The novel category added for 5-12-year-olds, focuses on Technology for Good with lessons designed especially for early learners. For students aged 13-18 years old, the focus lies on Generative AI and five new hands-on activity lessons for the AI for Good competition. It is important to note that participation must be facilitated by a Team Leader (such as an educator, instructor, staff member, parent, or guardian) over the age of 18, who will register on behalf of the students and access the Imagine Cup Junior Resource Pack

Location: Virtual

Cost: No Cost

Eligibility: Open to students who are 7 and above. They should be enrolled in an educational institution 

Date:  September, 2024 

Registration Deadline: May 20 - June 30, 2024.

The Scratch Olympiad is a coding tournament focused on the Scratch code, a visual code. It is an excellent opportunity to show your creative and programming skills in an exciting and interactive manner. Scratch Olympiad has two directions: Scratch: creative programming on MIT Scratch programs; and Robbo Scratch: creative programming on RobboScratch, mobile robots ROBBO, and ROBBO digital labs. These two directions provide an opportunity to develop more profound potential in programming and robotics for all-around learning.

As a participant, you will have to design a scratch project based on some given themes, which can be viewed here. There are two stages for the competition: the first is the national selection, hosted by the national operators in the country, and if you provide an exemplary performance at this stage, you proceed to the final stage, whereby your national project competes with 35 other projects across the world. 

One more option - The Lumiere Junior Explorer Program

The Lumiere Junior Explorer Program is a program for middle school students to work one-on-one with a mentor to explore their academic interests and build a project they are passionate about.  Our mentors are scholars from top research universities such as Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale, Duke and LSE.

The program was founded by a Harvard & Oxford PhD who met as undergraduates at Harvard. The program is rigorous and fully virtual. We offer need based financial aid for students who qualify. You can find the application in the brochure

To learn more, you can reach out to our Head of Growth, Khushi Malde, at or go to our website.

Multiple rolling deadlines for JEP cohorts across the year, you can apply using this application link! If you'd like to take a look at the cohorts + deadlines for 2024, you can refer to this page!

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a Ph.D. student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.



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