Google encourages teens to contribute to open source projects

For the fourth year in a row, Google has organized its Code-in contest for pre-university students to contribute to open source projects.

“For many students the Google Code-in contest is their first introduction to open source development. For Google Code-in we work with open source organizations, each of whom has experience mentoring students in the Google Summer of Code program, to provide “bite sized’ tasks for participating students to complete,” Google developers explain.

The tasks fall in one of these categories: writing or refractoring code; creating / editing documentation, training; community management and outreach; quality assurance and testing; and user interface design.

“Google Code-in is intended to help students who may have wanted to get involved in open source but didn’t know where to start. By working through the tasks created by participating open source organizations, contestants will be given the opportunity to engage with the open source community and get involved. The participating open source organizations gain the benefit of additional contributions to their project, often in important areas that may get overlooked for whatever reason,” says Google, adding that they hope that the contestants of today will be long-term contributors to these and other open source projects in the future.

Any high-school, secondary school or homeschooled student between the ages of 13 and 17 can register for the contest (with proved parental or guardians’ consent), and then will be able to choose a particular task they want to execute. They will receive instructions on how to do it and will have the help of instructors and mentors if needed.

The contest has already begun, and ends on January 6, 2014. Prizes awarded to successful contestants include a certificate for having completed tasks and a tee shirt for having completed three. When the contest ends, each of the organizations involved will choose two of the most successful contestants (20 altogether) and they will be rewarded with a trip to Google’s Mountain View Headquarters where they will receive a formal award and have an opportunity to talk to Google engineers and visit San Francisco.

For more details and rules, check out the program’s FAQ page.

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