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Submissions for the HBCU Technology Challenge have now closed.

For additional context and direction, review the following answers to common questions regarding the inaugural HBCU Technology Challenge. 

getting started: questions you may have as you're gearing up for the challenge... 

why is this challenge happening? 

Target is committed to investing in Black Communities, and that means investing in Black talent—including, students from Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU). We believe this challenge provides HBCU students the opportunity to stretch their skills outside of the classroom, to earn prizes that support their development and foster more curiosity about the industry, and finally to learn more about Target through leadership and team member interaction. 

what is the difference between the two tech challenge options? 

The two tech solution options offer applicants two different options to showcase their ability to think creatively on how to solve key questions that our Software Engineers often are charged with, whether it’s more guest focused or more internal user focused. One option may resonate more with an applicant versus the other. Applicants are welcome to choose whichever one inspires and excites you/your potential teammates. You may submit entries for both if you choose, but you may only be selected as a finalist for one. For more detail, please refer to ourcontest rules

who is eligible to participate? 

Students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities that are 18+ years old and are pursuing a degree in Computer Science or related Technology field

When do I need to register?  

You must register, signaling your intent to participate, no later than 11:59 P.M. on March 22, 2021. (The registration period has now closed.)

Can I work with a team? 

You may tackle this challenge individually or in a team of two (2). 

solution submission: it’s time to submit your entries; questions you may have before you submit... 

what is Target looking for from a technology solution submission? 

Entries submitted will be judged by Software Engineers & Leaders as well as Technology Recruiters. The decisions of the judges are final. We will be looking for solutions that meet the following four (4) criteria:

  • Design: Team demonstrates unique or original use of tools, technology, process, and/or architecture to solve a given problem. Team considers a novel solution to a problem (i.e. they researched what Target is already doing)  
  • Pitch: Team shows energy, clarity, and creativity when delivering their solution.  Can you explain what you did and why?    
  • Code/Technical Challenge: Team developed solid code and thought through a strong design. Could it work? Does it address the issue?  
  • Impact: Team demonstrates great consideration of users (Target guest/team member) to improve or create a new shopping experience. Clearly articulates the problem and how the technical solution will solve and create impact.  

where can I find inspiration?  

Your inspiration can come from anywhere. We’d love to know how you were inspired. We want to see original ideas that do not infringe on other developers’ or companies’ creations, brands or copyrights.  

The information you gather to create your technology solution may depend on the challenge option you choose. Basic information and links have been provided, and additional primary and secondary research is encouraged.  

In addition to the reference materials provided for each project, you may also review the Target resources below to help make your design especially relevant to Target and Target’s market.  Do your research! 

  • Target YouTube 
  • Our flagship mobile application and website 
  • The Target Tech Blog 
  • Target Software Engineer Mentors – our software engineers have volunteered to be on call a few hours per week to answer questions, be a thought partner, and share more about tech at Target as needed to guide you in the building of your solution.

are there specific artwork/design limitations or submission guidelines?    

You can choose what the design interface looks like for your proposed solution. Applicants must submit digital files. A PowerPoint with a voiceover recording walking us through your solution is recommended to provide us with as much detail as possible. A one-page document sharing additional information/speaker’s notes is permitted but not required.  If you have any challenges submitting your presentation, please reach out to No mailed or in person submissions will be accepted.   

what are the file size/format limitations? 

We encourage ideas and formats of all kinds - so feel free to upload your submission in the electronic format that works best for you. This should be a presentation deck with optional audio voiceover or a video file. The entry forms support all common file formats (i.e. .pdf, .jpg, .mov, .doc, .ppt, etc.). The submission form can be found on the challenge details page. 

can I use the Target logo?   

Applicants cannot use the Target Logo or any Target brand in submissions.  

how do I submit my solution? 

Submit your entry via the online submission form. Entries can be submitted beginning  March 22, 2021 until 11:59 PM CST on  April  2, 2021. (Note: By submitting your entry you are confirming that you have read and agree to the contest RULES).    

how will solutions be selected? 

Entries to the HBCU Tech Challenge will be reviewed by a cross functional team of Technology Recruiters and Software Engineers. If you are selected as a finalist, you will be invited to formally present you solution to Target Engineers and Leaders on April 16, 2021. 

who owns the rights to the submitted solutions? 

Target requires that the Winners assign all rights to their submitted solutions to Target. Winners and Finalists will need to sign a “release and waiver” in order to receive their prize. The Winners will be required to sign an “assignment agreement” in order to receive their prize. The assignment agreement will transfer all intellectual property rights in your design to Target. No prizes will be awarded unless both members of the team sign the appropriate release documents.

submission review and support: questions after you submit your application...  

can I tell friends about the HBCU Technology Challenge? 

Yes! We encourage you to share this unique opportunity with anyone eligible to participate.  

what is the difference between a finalist and a winner? 

A Finalist is an applicant that has made it through the first round of judging. Target will let you know if you are a Finalist. Finalists will be contacted by to notify them to prepare their submissions for presentation to the leader judging panel.  Winners are applicants who have made it through the Finalist phase and have been chosen to be awarded prizes for this year’s challenge.  

when will I know if I am a finalist or a winner? 

Target will contact you if you are a Finalist or a Winner.  

  • Contest Finalists will be notified by email by approximately April 9, 2021. 
  • Finalist presentations will take place on April 16, 2021. 
  • First Place and Runner-up prize winners will be notified by email on approximately April 23, 2021. 
  • Prizes will be awarded by approximately May 7, 2021. 

what if I have more questions? 

If you find you have additional questions after reviewing the site and FAQs, email

more about tech at target

Target as a tech company? Absolutely. We’re the behind-the-scenes powerhouse that fuels Target’s passion and commitment to cutting-edge innovation. We anchor every facet of one of the world’s best-loved retailers with a strong technology framework that relies on the latest tools and technologies—and the brightest people—to deliver incredible value to guests online and in stores. Target Technology Services (TTS) is on a mission to offer the systems, tools and support that guests and team members need and deserve. Our high-performing teams balance independence with collaboration, and we pride ourselves on being versatile, agile and creative. We drive industry-leading technologies in support of every angle of the business, and help ensure that Target operates smoothly, securely and reliably from the inside out. 

For more on what it's like to work at Target, hear from a few of our past interns and current recruiters & engineers!

Legal Disclaimer

By submitting your entry you are confirming that you have read and agree to the contest RULES. 

Participation in the HBCU Technology Challenge is entirely voluntary and does not create an employment relationship with Target. Individuals who do choose to participate will not be compensated for the time spent on their submission or for their submitted artwork. 

By participating in this Contest, Participants are confirming that you understand that submitted concepts may or may not be part of Target’s previous, current or future business endeavors. By uploading a submission you agree to give Target a royalty free, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, license for incidental use of your submission in any form, media or technology now known or later developed, only for historical, promotional or marketing purposes. 

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