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IEEEXtreme is an IEEE Student Activities Committee initiative to create a worldwide programming contest for IEEE student branches. The success of the past editions and the way IEEEXtreme is evolving, suggests that it will become the only worldwide competition capable of promoting the computer programming skills of collegiate students within a global software engineering approach of real-world programming problems. Real-world problems that require programming skills are invariably framed within a software engineering approach, where code writing is just the visible dimension of the global effort. Professionals are increasingly compelled to work in multidisciplinary contexts where soft skills are as important as technical ones. This reality should be expressly considered when educational courses are planned to teach programming techniques at undergraduate level. This paper discusses the positive impact that worldwide events like IEEEXtreme might have on the adoption of problem based learning approaches in programming education at undergraduate computing degree programs.