Local coders, unite: Bay Valley Tech will hold its first tech community Code Challenge on Dec. 12, complete with prizes for the top three placing teams.

The challenge will be held Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m. on the coding academy’s Discord server, a chat and meeting platform. Those interested in participating can sign up at www.meetup.com/ValleyWorx-Software-Developers/events/274928620/. Participants will be matched up into teams of three to four, pairing more experienced programmers with novices.

“Similar to sports, competitions such as hackathons and code challenges play an important role in accelerating growth through pressure and providing feedback on our strengths and areas for improvement,” Martyn Conkling, director of Bay Valley Tech, said in a news release.

Local software professionals, including some of the school’s alumni, will be part of the teams and help participants solve a variety of challenges. According to the news release, events like the hackathon can help aspiring developers prepare for job interviews. Many companies now ask applicants to complete code challenges as part of the interview process.

Taylor LaMar, the CEO of LaMar Software and a tech hiring manager who is sponsoring the Code Challenge, said in the release that events like code challenges and hackathons are “invaluable” in the job search process because they help applicants expand their professional networks.

In addition to the code challenge, Bay Valley Tech is offering two more free, seven-month web development courses in the next three months. The courses are hosted entirely online, and those interested can apply at Bay Valley Tech’s website. The program teaches a broad slate of web development skills — including HTML/CSS, JavaScript, APIs and Backend — through online courses and peer-based mentoring. Students also have access to a network of local software professionals and hiring managers, as well as internships for top students.