Google Code-In is an opportunity for those aged between 13 and 17 to have an experience of real world coding and making a contribution to an open source project. It starts on November 18th.
Now in its fourth year, this annual event brings together open source organizations and "pre-university students" who may be thinking about including computer science in their future plans. It is open to 13-17 year olds in most parts of the world, but there are some odd additions to the normal exclusions and isn't open to residents of Brazil, Italy, Quebec and Saudi Arabia.
The 2013 contest runs from November 18, 2013 to January 6, 2014. During this period students engage in "bite size" tasks provided by the 10 open source organizations.
Tasks, each of which has a mentor assigned to it to help students if required, fall into five categories:
- Code: Tasks related to writing or refactoring code
- Documentation/Training: Tasks related to creating/editing documents and helping others learn more
- Outreach/Research: Tasks related to community management, outreach/marketing, or studying problems and recommending solutions
- Quality Assurance: Tasks related to testing and ensuring code is of high quality
- User Interface: Tasks related to user experience research or user interface design and interaction
Students work on one task at a time but can do as many as they can fit into the time period. They earn a point for each task completed and three points earns a t-shirt at the end of the contest and each student who has scored one point will receive a certificate. The "grand prize", of which there are 20- two each from the 10 mentoring organisations, is a trip to Google’s Mountain View Headquarters for themselves and a parent or legal guardian for an award ceremony, an opportunity to meet with Google engineers, explore the Google campus and have a fun day in the California sun.
But many more students will benefit from the experience and so will the open source organization involved. Last year 334 students from 36 countries participated in the contest, completing 1,925 tasks of with the 20 Grand Prize Winners accounting for 576 between them
It's a great first step for any young person who is considering a career as a developer and even winning a GCI t-shirt seems like a good incentive! The contest starts on November 18th and students can register then (requires the signature of a parent or guardian and proof of enrollment in an educational institution or as homeschooled student) and start to claim tasks.
So spread the word to any youngsters you know who want to try out software development for real.