Google Code-in is proving to be more popular than ever this year. With another two weeks to go there's still time to participate and do some useful work for an open source organization.
Code-in is Google's contest for students between 13 and 17. It brings together teenagers and open source organizations with the idea of giving "pre-university students" an experience of real world coding which might inspire them to consider Computer Science in their future educational and career plans.
Participating open source organisations set tasks that require between 3-5 hours of effort and provide mentors to help students complete them. Coding isn't the only type of activity on offer; there are also tasks in four other categories:
Documentation/Training - creating/editing documents and helping others learn more
Outreach/Research - Community management and marketing, or studying problems and recommending solutions
Quality Assurance - ensuring code is of high quality
User Interface - user experience research or user interface design
Some tasks, flagged as Beginner, are designed more to help initiate newbies than to assist to the open source organizations, but others at an advanced level make a significant contribution. Students can only claim a maximum of two beginner tasks.
Now in its seventh year, GCI 2016 started on November 28th, 2016 and runs until January 16, 2017. Seventeen open source organisations are involved this year and by December 23rd over 2,800 students from 87 countries has registered.
Stephanie Taylor, Code-In Program Manager reported:
Today is the official midpoint of this year’s Google Code-in contest and we are delighted to announce this is our most popular year ever! 930 teenagers from 60 countries have completed 3,503 tasks with 17 open source organizations. The number of students successfully completing tasks has almost met the total number of students from the 2015 contest already.
The top five countries with the most completed tasks are:
United States: 801
She also singled out Mauritius, a country taking part for the first time, which had 13 students who had already completed 31 tasks between them. Completing three tasks earns participants a GCI tee-shirt and it looks as though several of these will be dispatched to Mauritius.
Each organization has to evaluate the work of the ten highest scoring contestants in terms of creativity, thoroughness, and quality of work to select five finalists, each awarded a hoodie. The top two students from each organization are considered Grand Prize Winners, eligible to attend a Grand Prize Winner’s Trip to Google’s Headquarters in Mountain View, California, USA for the student plus a parent or legal guardian - this is a once-only opportunity in that if a contestant was selected as a Grand Prize Winner in any previous Google Code-in Contest, such contestant is ineligible to be selected as a Grand Prize Winner for this Contest.
The other benefit to the Finalists is in establishing a relationship with an open source organization. One of the factors that the organizations can include in the judging is the contestant’s involvement in the its community and a student who is successful at this stage can go on to be involved with the same project while at university as part of Google Summer of Code, which pays a stipend to participants.
Even if you haven't registered yet, if you are between 13 and 17 and meet the eligibility criteria (see Contest Rules) there is still time to join in.
We all know the Arthur C. Clarke quote about any sufficiently advanced technology looking like magic, but perhaps our own technology is already enough to look like magic if presented in the right way. [ ... ]