CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Oct 10, 2012) -  The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) and Backstop Solutions Group are proud to announce the launch of the 3rd Annual Fall Challenge which bridges the demand gap between university Computer Science and Computer Engineering students and the Chicagoland technology industry.

The ITA Fall Challenge is a computer programming skills tournament for Illinois students, offering cash rewards, introductions to some of the country's most innovative companies and their leaders, and opportunities to interview for positions with sponsoring Chicagoland companies. To compete in the Fall Challenge, students take a comprehensive test on each campus. The top 50 scoring students earn the right to attend the Final Challenge where they compete for cash prizes and the opportunity to meet key industry hiring managers. The exam hinges on real-world issues rather than information typically found in textbooks. The 2012 ITA Fall Challenge includes visits to 11 universities throughout Illinois, driving awareness of the growing and dynamic technology industry to technology students in Illinois.

"Jobs follow brain power," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. "The Illinois Technology Association Fall Challenge is a prime example of how industry and government can work together to build a pipeline of educated, skilled workers ready to work in a global economy."

"The ITA Fall Challenge offers the best and brightest talent in Illinois an opportunity to showcase their unique skills and innovative thinking. It also provides the state's robust technology community a venue to discover new talent. It is a great way for students and companies to learn more about each other and interact on a creative playing field," said Chris Brown, Director of Engineering at Backstop Solutions Group.

One of last year's Fall Challenge finalists, Elliott Mahler, said the program was a great introduction to what was previously an unknown group of companies. "Before the 2011 Fall Challenge, I wasn't aware of a sizeable technology industry in the Chicagoland area. At the event, I was able to meet and socialize with professionals from many companies in the Chicago area, and I accepted a position with one of the sponsoring companies upon graduating. It was a great experience," said Mahler.

The Illinois Innovation Council (IIC) is also participating in the 2012 ITA Fall Challenge to support its mission of developing innovative methods to create jobs and spur economic development in the region.

"Illinois has one of the biggest gaps in the nation between open technology positions and qualified talent," said Fred Hoch, President, ITA. "We hope to significantly close the gap with the Fall Challenge by building a dynamic group of Illinois leaders to ensure we are continually growing the local technology community. The Fall Challenge helps us cultivate relationships with tomorrow's rising young technology leaders from universities across the region and introduce these stars to the top innovative companies in our area."

In the 3rd year, the ITA Fall Challenge has spoken with thousands of university students, identified over 200 finalists and placed over 50 in full-time or internship roles in the local community, most with companies whom students were previously unaware. 

The 2012 ITA Fall Challenge supporting sponsors include Nokia, kCura, and ADP. Participating sponsors include Applied Systems, Centro, Channel IQ, MBX Systems, and Nxt Team. If you are interested in sponsorship, please visit

About the ITA
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is the driving force behind the growth of Illinois' vibrant technology industry. Providing programs and services focused on development, visibility, and talent attraction, ITA accelerates the growth of member company's businesses. ITA brings growth-stage industry companies together, leveraging the connections and experiences of the community to increase the overall success rate of the local industry. Championing the development and application of technologies and leveraging its transformative nature, ITA is an invaluable resource for growing companies. For more information about ITA, please visit

About Backstop Solutions Group
Backstop Solutions Group, LLC is a privately held Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform company, providing cutting-edge software to hedge funds, funds of funds, endowments and other institutional investors. Backstop Solutions was founded in 2003 and is one of the fastest growing software providers in the financial services industry. Backstop Software is used by more than 350 firms throughout the United States, Europe and Asia and has been repeatedly recognized by industry leading managers and service providers as a top technology provider in the alternative asset management field.

Contact Information:

Paige Sims
Illinois Technology Association