Want a real world experience of open source software and get rewarded for your work? Try Google Code-in

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Teens love technology. There’s hardly any doubt in that. Along with teens who just consume technology, there are teens who help to develop it. If you’re one of those who love to develop software or in any way contribute to it, then you must read this post about my experience with Google’s pre-university online contest, the Google Code-in and why you too should take part in it.

Before explaining why you should take part in it, I’d like to share with you the reason for which I participated in the contest. The initial reason for me was to have an experience of how software development takes part in the real world. I’ve been coding since past 4 years but until recently I just worked on personal projects. After knowing about this contest and participating in it, I’ve come to know more about open source development and software more than I ever could. The major motivation behind this was getting in touch with real world organizations along with the prizes. Now that I’m competing, I feel much more enlightened and experienced.

Just like me, many of us like to develop software or contribute towards it but limit ourselves to small personal projects which we rarely release. Now the valid question which arises here is, why? Why limit your abilities and experience when you can expand it and explore the world of software development without spending anything but time?
If I tell you that you can apply your development skills to real world with actual open source organizations and get rewarded for it along with getting a never-before experience? Yes, you heard it right. This is all possible with Google Code-in. When I first heard about it, I was filled with anxieties and questions but after learning more about it, most of them vanished away and participating in it made ’em all fade away.

Google Code-in is Google’s online, contest for pre-university students, aged between 13 to 17 years, introducing teenagers to the world of open source. In it you have several open source organizations put up various tasks of varying levels from which you can select the ones you’d like to work upon and submit your work under the stated deadline. The tasks aren’t just related to programming. There are four broad categories of tasks :

This means that even if you aren’t a programmer, you still can participate and complete tasks that appeal to you.

Talking about the organizations which can help you with Google Code-in, the one that comes to my mind most frequently is Sugar Labs.

Sugar is a desktop environment that is an alternative to the ones typically used in Microsoft Windows, Apple’s OS X or other GNU/Linux operating systems. It is conceived as a platform upon which children learn with Sugar Activities. The platform provides mechanisms for collaboration, reflection, and exploration. Sugar Activities cover a broad range of applications: browsing, drawing, composing, writing, programming, etc.

Now you’d think ‘How can Sugar help me out with Code-in?’. The answer is it can help a lot. If you have interest in programming but don’t know anything about it or you’ve just begun programming recently, Sugar can help you with it. If you go over to the official website you’ll find a lot of activities which you can browse to get more info. The ones that interested me the most were those in the ‘Programming’ section. Here you’ll find a lot of interesting add-ons which can be used with Sugar. There are a lot of other activities besides programming which you can have a look at. Explore the website and Sugar, maybe you’ll find something I missed (and don’t forget to share it in the comments section if you do).

On a concluding note, all I can say is if you want a real world experience of open source software technologies and are happy to get prizes for the same, do try your hand at the Google Code-in.

License
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND License
Copyright © Aditya Jayant Gupta 2016
Read the full license here.

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