Google Code-In: Should We or Shouldn't We?

A couple of years ago (2010) we participated in Google Code-In and it was a pretty bad experience, to the extent that the following 2 years I recommended that we abstain. These days we have far more active contributors, organized into solid contributor groups, so if people are interested, we could apply to be one of the 10 mentoring organizations. I don’t know if we’d be accepted or not, but if folks want to give it a try this year, I’m happy to submit an application. For those not familiar with GCI, here’s the standard blurb from Google:

The Google Code-in is a contest to introduce pre-university students (ages 13-17) to the many kinds of contributions that make open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. software development possible. The Google Code-in 2013 contest runs from November 18, 2013 to January 6, 2014.

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 university students in the Google Summer of Code program, to provide “bite sized” tasks for participating students to complete during the seven week contest.

These tasks include:

  • Code: Tasks related to writing or refactoring code
  • Documentation/Training: Tasks related to creating/editing documents and helping others learn more
  • Outreach/Research: Tasks related to community management, outreach/marketing or studying problems and recommending solutions
  • Quality Assurance: Tasks related to testing and ensuring code is of high quality
  • User Interface: Tasks related to user experience research or user interface design and interaction

Students earn one point for each task completed. Students will receive a certificate for completing one task and can earn a t-shirt when they complete three tasks. At the end of the contest each of the ten (10) open source organizations will name two (2) grand prize winners for their organization based upon the students’ body of work. The 20 grand prize winners will receive a trip to Google’s Mountain View, California, USA Headquarters for themselves and a parent or legal guardian for an award ceremony, an opportunity to meet with Google engineers, explore the Google campus and have a fun day in the San Francisco, California sun.

So if we were to do it, we’d need mentors from Docs, CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress., and Community for sure, but could also include Theme Review Team (theme review = qa), AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (, Support, etc.

Things to bear in mind:

  • There is little to no barrier to entry for student participants.
  • It’s over the winter holidays which is great for southern hemisphere kids but sucky for people who want to take time off during the Thanksgiving – New Year span.
  • Tasks are only meant to take a few hours, so being able to give prompt review is important.
  • It’s a month and a half while 3.8 is trying to get out the door.
  • We’d need to provide a task list with our application. We can add to it, but it would mean someone from each team picking out at least a dozen or so tasks up front.
  • A few from Google.

Part of me thinks it might be good to try again, as folks have given it better reviews in the past year based on program changes, while the other part of me thinks we have enough we are already struggling to keep up with, without taking on something else like this.

But! Team reps: please check in with your teams and see if there’s interest in participating and reply on this thread. If there’s enough interest, I’ll go ahead and start the application. Thanks!

#gci, #google, #mentorship, #students