Google Code-in is unique because, not only do the students choose what they want to work on from the 2,500+ tasks created by open source organizations, but they have mentors available to help answer their questions as they work on each of their tasks.
Getting started in open source software can be a daunting task for a developer of any age. What organization should I work with? How do I get started? Does the organization want my help? Am I too inexperienced?
The beauty of GCI is that participating open source organizations realize teens are often first time contributors, so the volunteer mentors come prepared with the patience and the experience to help these newcomers become part of the open source community.
Open source communities thrive when there is a steady flow of new contributors who bring new perspectives, ideas and enthusiasm. Over the last 8 years, GCI open source organizations have helped 8,108 students from 107 countries make meaningful contributions. Many of these students are still participating in open source communities years later. Dozens have gone on to become Google Summer of Code (GSoC) students and even mentor other students.
The tasks that contest participants will complete vary in skill set and level, including beginner tasks any student can take on, such as “setup your development environment.” With tasks in five different categories, there’s something to fit almost any student’s skills:
- Code: writing or refactoring
- Documentation/Training: creating/editing documents and helping others learn more
- Outreach/Research: community management, marketing, or studying problems and recommending solutions
- Quality Assurance: testing and ensuring code is of high quality
- Design: graphic design or user interface design
Visit the contest site g.co/gci to learn more about the contest and find flyers, slide decks, timelines, and more.
By Stephanie Taylor, Google Open Source