Google Code-in 2017: One more year of mentoring students within an open source organization

This years Google Code-in contest is now already ended and the preparations for the final steps is nearly finished, so that the best students of the program can be announced in the public by Google.

A short introduction: What is Google Code-in.

There may already be a a lot of blog posts from students of the program, which explains pretty well, what Google Code-in is, what students and mentors do and what the overall goal is. Big things short: Google Code-in is an opportunity for 13 to 17 year old students to participate in Open Source organizations and solving tasks provided by them. The tasks can vary from doing some documentation stuff or preparation for coding, like setting up a development environment to something like fixing a bug found by a user or implementing a more complex feature. The participating organizations are represented by their mentors, who create suitable tasks for the Code-in contest and will help the students learn how their organization work, what tools they use and what the org tries to achieve as an overall goal.

What did I do in the event?

In this years edition of the event, I again had the opportunity to be a so called organization administrator. This role is more or less like a normal mentor who is providing tasks and pairing with students to solve them, Additionally, org admins are already responsible for checking and “publishing” tasks of their organization (checking that they meet the minimum requirements of the contest, are solveable by a 13 to 17 year old student and so on), as well as being the persons Google can rwach out to when they need to clarify something regarding the organization. Becoming one of these persons for the Open Source organization I’m happily part of (the Wikimedia Foundation) was again a pretty easy step and worked like that:

  • The person of the Wikimedia Foundation, who is organizing the participation of the WMF in the Google Code-in event, Andre Klapper, just contacted me in IRC (our primary communication tool) and asked me, if I’m again willing to stress me out for 7 weeks helping in organizing the stuff around the event
  • I siad yes.

That’s basically it. Just some hours later I got an invitation in my inbox to join the Wikimedia Foundation as an org admin in the Google Code-in platform (where the whole stuff takes place, like creating and publishing, as well as solving tasks and communicating with students).

The event itself

Google Code-in and the Google Code-in logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Now, looking back to a bit more than 8 weeks, it was again a pleasure to be part of such a great event. It was more than nice to once again learn so many motivated young programmers, who are not only participating because this is a contest and there’s a chance to win something at the end, but also because they want to do it. They want to communicate with you, they want to learn what you’re doing, why you’re doing it (in your spare time), what goal you and the organization work for and so on and so on. They’re happy to learn anything you can teach them, as well as happy to give their knowledge back. Most students are really awesome, becoming a part of our organization really fast, understood how we usually communicate and how to solve tasks we provided.

It was also a pleasure to once again saw some well known names around, who were already part of previous contests. In my humble opinion it’s like a confirmation, that we did something right in the last events, if we can even get some of our students to participate after the event and as well as coming back to the contest itself and choosing our organization again to work with! *yay*

During 8 weeks of trying to be available whenever possible (in this year, I wasn’t able to be around as much as I wanted, though :() I was getting really impressed of a lot of students, what they did as programmers and as well as humans. I can just repeat my self in saying, that it was again a real pleasure to was part of such a great edition of Google Code-in.

Final steps

After finishing the last tasks in Google Code-in, it’s now time to get some rest for the next 10 months, until the next edition of Google Code-in starts. As it takes a lot of time (really), I’m not sure, if I’m able to be part of the next edition again (as mentor or as an org admin), however, it would be really really great. If anyone has the opportunity to be part of an open source organization, which is already (or maybe will?) take part in the next Google Code-in edition, I can just give you the advise: Take the chance and be part of the event!

As my last words: I thank any student I had the chance to work with, as well as any other student for the great work, your patience when we took more than some hours to review your tasks, all mentors (especially of my organization, of course :P) and to all of the org admins, who really do a great job!


Btw.: The winners of this years edition (it’s still a contest, so there needs to be winners) will be announced at the 31st of January 2018. However, I already congratulate all of the winners. It was really hard to select winners from all of the great students we’d.

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