is our annual contest to help pre-university students gain real-world computer science experience by taking on tasks of varying difficulty levels with the help of volunteer mentors. These tasks are created by open source projects so while learning, the students are contributing to the software many of us use on a daily basis.
The finalists and winners for our 2015/2016 season were announced in February
and, in June, the grand prize winners joined us for four days of learning and celebration. Students and their guardians came from all around the world
. One of my favorite things, as one of the Googler hosts, was seeing the light bulbs go on above parentsâ€™ heads as they came to understand open source and why itâ€™s so important. These parents and guardians were even more proud of the students as they learned how much their teenager has contributed to the world through participating in Google Code-in.
Weâ€™ve invited contest winners and organizations to write about their experience and will be sharing their stories in a series of blog posts. This marks the first post in the series.
Google Code-in 2015 Grand Prize Winners and Mentors
Letâ€™s start with Jason Wong, a student from the US who worked with FOSSASIA
. FOSSASIA supports open source developers in Asia through events and coding programs.
He learned about Google Code-in when Stephanie Taylor, fellow open source program manager who manages the GCI program here at Google, gave a talk at his school. Jason dove right in picking FOSSASIA as the project he would contribute to.
FOSSASIA offered Jason a chance to learn a lot about development and open source. He worked on their event pages, integrated Loklak
and added an RSS section to their website, gaining experience with version control, Docker, Pharo and Node.js in the process. Most importantly, Jason learned about collaboration. He had this to say:â€śCollaboration is so important in the open source community as it allows everyone to come together to help the world. Google Code-in has persuaded me to contribute to open source in the future.â€ť
Next up we have Hannah Pan, another US student. She chose to work on Haiku
, an open source operating system built for personal computers, because it used the C/C++ language which she was already confident with.
Hannah got into computer science through a high school AP course and discovered Google Code-in through this blog (woohoo!). She decided to participate even though it had already been underway for two weeks. Aiming just to make the top 10 in order to have a chance at being a finalist (and earn a hoodie), Hannah finished as a grand prize winner!
The learning curve was steep: *nix commands, build tools and GitHub all presented new challenges. She was surprised how much code she had to sift through sometimes just to isolate the cause of minor bugs.
Like all of the participants, Hannah found her mentors to be crucial in providing both technical guidance and moral support. She explained, â€śI was amazed at my mentorsâ€™ expertise, dedication, modesty, and high standards. They taught me to strive for excellence rather than settle for mediocrity.â€ť
Among other things, Hannah added localization support to the Tipster app, fixed extractDebugInfo, and even wrote a how-to article
relating to the work. Reflecting on her experience, Hannah wrote:â€śOn the technical side, not only have I learned a lot, but I have realized how much more I have yet to learn. In addition, it has taught me some important life skills that no doubt will benefit me in my future endeavors. Iâ€™d like to thank my mentors and other students who inspired me and pushed me to do my best.â€ť
Thank you to Jason and Hannah both for contributing to open source and sharing their Google Code-in experiences with us. Stay tuned as we continue this series in our next blog post!By Josh Simmons, Open Source Programs Office