It is essential that MCIT Online students showcase their technical abilities to future employers as well as transferable skills from past academic and professional experiences. Side projects are a reliable way for employers to assess technical abilities, time management, enthusiasm, and creativity.

This year, Penn Engineering Online partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) once again to engage students in the SPARC competition. Students will gain exposure to a top-tier tech company through a summer-long program that is supported by industry software development managers from AWS.

With SPARC 2023, MCIT Online students will work collaboratively in teams to solve a real-world AWS engineering problem over the course of the summer. Final projects will be judged by volunteers from the Executives in Residence Program. The winning team will receive $500 each, provided by AWS.

SPARC 2023 Prerequisites

Core Class Requirement

Each student must pass and complete at least four core classes by the end of the Spring 2023 semester:

  • CIT 5910 Introduction to Software Development
  • CIT 5920 Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science
  • CIT 5930 Introduction to Computer Systems
  • CIT 5940 Data Structures & Software Design
  • CIT 5950 Computer Systems Programming
  • CIT 5960 Algorithms & Computation

Exam Requirements

Note: The following two hyperlinks are included for general information. Do not register or pay for the products using the links below. Registration details will be distributed to each participant after the interest form collection closes.

1. Complete the Real World Cloud Product Management Specialization

2. Pass the AWS Cloud Certification exam

Competition Timeline

Tuesday, March 28
(12-1pm ET)
Information Session with AWS
Wednesday, March 29Interest Form Opens*
Wednesday, April 5
(10pm ET)
Interest Form Closes
Friday, April 17SPARC Application Opens
Wednesday, May 24
(10pm ET)
Application Deadline
Friday, June 9thMentors Assigned
Monday, August 14
(10pm ET)
Final Projects Due
Friday, September 1Winners Announced

*Any student interested in participating in SPARC 2023 must fill out this form. All students who fill out this interest form will be added to the Real World Cloud Product Management Specializations. The interest form will be distributed after the information session.

Judges / Mentors

Software development managers from AWS will mentor student teams throughout the competition. Judges will be composed of representatives from the Penn Engineering Online Executives in Residence.


The members of the winning team will win $500 each

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