Brian Barnes Shines at BPA Nationals

Software Development major brings home one 1st place and two second place finishes in nationwide competitions

Brian Barnes, a Software Development major at Dakota County Technical College, competed against the very best college students in the country at the 56th Annual Business Professionals of America (BPA) National Leadership Conference in Dallas, Texas. The event was held at the Hilton Anatole May 4–8, 2022. BPA considers the national conference the pinnacle event of the organization’s membership year.

“The competition was very fun!” said Brian, who serves as Student Senate president and belongs to Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). “I had a great time meeting new people and participating in the fun activities BPA had to offer. One of my favorite memories from the event—besides winning 1st and 2nd in my events—was sitting on a real bull! They brought in a live bull for anyone to sit on and take photos.”

Brian also enjoyed visiting the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. “Some of the photos and exhibits blew me away!” he said. “I am so grateful for participating in the 2022 BPA National Leadership Conference. Next year, I am pursuing earning the Torch Award for community service and leadership.”

Brian qualified for the BPA Nationals by performing exceptionally well at the BPA Spring State Leadership Conference this past March, taking first place in C# Programming and Information Technology Concepts as well as second place in Computer Programming Concepts and Parliamentary Procedure Concepts.¹

Marie Saunders, DCTC accounting instructor, serves as a BPA Club faculty advisor at the college. Marie was impressed by Brian’s outstanding performance in his national competitions.

“This was the first time attending the BPA National Leadership Conference for Brian Barnes—and he did a fantastic job,” she said. “There is much more to do while at the conference than just compete. We attended two leadership workshops helping students with business-appropriate clothing as well as college admissions. We attended the Texas Hoedown on Friday evening and watched armadillo races, sat on a real bull, and watched students getting thrown from the mechanical bulls.”

Marie added that the highlight of course was the Saturday evening Awards where Brian placed in the top 10 in three out of his competitions.

“On the way home the next day, Brian looked up on the BPA site for some additional awards he could earn for next year,” Marie said. “The reason I am a club advisor is to see the students enjoy their accomplishments.”

Anna Voight, associate director of student life at DCTC, thanked Marie Saunders and her fellow BPA Club faculty advisor, Amy Evanson, for their work advising BPA members and coordinating the logistics for the Dallas trip. Anna also thanked faculty members in Brian’s courses as well as the support staff who have worked with him throughout his DCTC journey.

“Brian represented DCTC exceptionally well at BPA nationals,” she said. “I am proud of him and his many accomplishments this past year, whether it be his awards at BPA, being selected at the commencement speaker, or receiving the Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student Award. Brian has taken full advantage of the numerous opportunities available at DCTC for students who want to get the most out of their college experience. I look forward to witnessing Brian’s leadership on campus next year as Student Senate president, where he will help connect other students to the opportunities available at DCTC to build a robust resume of leadership experiences.”

Learn more about Brian by reading the following DCTC News stories:

Student Spotlight: Brian Barnes

2022 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student Award Winners

Learn more about Software Development at DCTC by contacting:

Betty Krueger
Information Systems Technology Careers Faculty

Judy Suddendorf
Information Systems Technology Careers Faculty

Nathan Blommel
Information Systems Technology Careers Faculty

Austin Allman
Information Systems Technology Careers Faculty

Learn more about Student Life at DCTC by contacting:
Associate Director of Student Life

Learn more about Business Professionals of America (BPA) at DCTC by contacting:

Marie Saunders
Accounting Faculty
BPA Faculty Advisor

Amy Evanson
Administrative Technology Faculty
BPA Faculty Advisor

¹ IMPORTANT NOTE: Wanda Bakalov, an Accounting major at DCTC, also advanced to the BPA Nationals in Dallas, having taken first place in the College Payroll Accounting and second place in Business Law and Ethics competitions at the BPA State Leadership Conference in March. Wanda was unable to attend the BPA Nationals.

More about Software Development at DCTC…

computer programmer

The Software Development program prepares you to become a computer programmer. As a student in the program, you will learn an array of programming languages used for software development. You’ll design, write, debug, and test application software while harnessing your creative and collaborate skills. Accomplished graduates are fully prepared to provide software solutions for wide range of employers.

Working conditions for software developers are generally indoors in offices or laboratories. Programmers convert data from project specifications and problem statements to develop computer programs. Often employed in a team setting, programmers are also working more from home or other remote locations as telecommuting becomes more prevalent.


Software Development: A.A.S. Degree: 69 credits: Rosemount campus
Software Development: Diploma: 60 credits: Rosemount campus
Desktop Programming: Certificate: 27 credits: Rosemount campus
Web Programming: Certificate: 27 credits: Rosemount campus

Delivery: Daytime and Evening Classes
Start: Fall or Spring Semester: Full-time or Part-Time


Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers

What Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers Do

Software developers design computer applications or programs. Software quality assurance analysts and testers identify problems with applications or programs and report defects.

Work Environment

Many software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers work in computer systems design and related services, in manufacturing, or for software publishers. They often work in offices and on teams with other software developers or quality assurance analysts and testers.


The median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers was $110,140 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 189,200 openings for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

— U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (23MAR22)