STEM & STEAM

Google Contest Exposes Students to Open Source Coding

Google is opening its eighth-annual Code-in Nov. 28. The challenge calls on pre-university students aged 13 to 17 to complete coding tasks on open source projects, with the aim of exposing teenagers to open source software development.

To date, some 4,500 students have participated in the GCI contest, completing more than 23,000 tasks. For this year's Code-in, 25 organizations are proving mentoring for participants, including Ubuntu, Drupal, Wikimedia and JBoss. Projects range from machine translation to games to medical records systems.

"Google Code-in is unique because not only do the students choose what they want to work on from the 2,000+ tasks created by open source organizations, but they have mentors available to help answer their questions as they work on each of their tasks," Google noted in a blog post.

Google emphasized that there are tasks available even for those with little or no coding experience.

According to the company: "Starting to work on open source software can be a daunting task in and of itself. How do I get started? Does the organization want my help? Am I too inexperienced? These are all questions that developers (of all ages) might consider before contributing to an open source organization. The beauty of GCI is that participating open source organizations realize teens are often first time contributors, and the volunteer mentors are equipped with the patience and the experience to help these young minds become part of the open source community."

Student work will be judged by participating organizations on creativity, quality and satisfaction of task requirements. One grand prize winner will be flown to Google headquarters in California. Other prizes include sweatshirts for finalists, t-shirts for those who complete three or more tasks and certificates of completion for those who complete one or more tasks.

The Code-in runs Nov. 28 to Jan. 17. Complete details for teachers and students, including rules and restrictions, guides and other resources, can be found on the 2017 Google Code-in site.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director, education for 1105 Media's Public Sector Media Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal. A 22-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).


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