Google Code-In 2017 - we're in! Starts Nov 28th

Nihal Singh

Google Code-In 2017 has been announced today, on September 18th!

For the uninitiated, Google Code In is the equivalent of the Google Summer of Code for pre-university students from ages 13 to 17. Students pick tasks from a pool of pre-created (and created as per demand later) tasks, one at a time, submit for review and get it approved from the mentors. The finalists are selected from the top 10 students according to number of tasks competed and the top two are declared winners. Finalists are awarded with Google Swag (hoodies and T-Shirts) and winners get a chance to visit Google's Mountain View HQ.

Reference Links-
GCI Main Page
MovingBlocks' Entry from last year
MovingBlocks' task list from last year
GCI 2016 Work not resulting in a PR (contains Write-up tasks and independent modules)
MovingBlocks' GCI 2016 Wrap up

Monday, September 18- Contest announced
Monday, October 9- Open source organizations can apply to be mentoring organizations

Thursday, October 26- Mentoring organizations announced
Tuesday, November 28- Contest opens for entries by student participants
Monday, January 15- Deadline to claim new tasks
Wednesday, January 17- All student work must be submitted; contest ends
Thursday, January 18- Mentoring organizations complete all evaluations of students’ work
Wednesday, January 31- Grand Prize Winners and Finalists announced
June (exact dates TBD) - Grand Prize Winner’s Trip

The tasks broadly fall under the following categories-
  • Code: writing or refactoring
  • Documentation/Training: creating/editing documents and helping others learn more
  • Outreach/Research: community management, marketing, or studying problems and recommending solutions
  • Quality Assurance: testing and ensuring code is of high quality
  • User Interface: user experience research, user interface design, or graphic design
This would be the second time we would be participarting in GCI. We finished with the third highest number of tasks completed last year, which was not bad at all for a first time. Although, we have a lot to learn and improve from last year's experience. Here are a few things from the top of my head that we should keep in mind-
  • The best tasks are chained tasks. This gives the student some direction to pick one task after the other in an orderly fashion. For instance one of the popular chained tasks from last year was- Add a food item to the cooking module, Add a new cooking utensil to the Cooking module, Add a recipe to the Cooking module.
  • There was a student storm last year and we were outnumbered heavily. The tasks depleted faster than the rate at which we were replenishing them. Hopefully, this year we'll have more mentors. It would be a wise idea to have a set of backup tasks ready at all times which can be made available as and when needed.
  • Content modules get hit the most, due to simply the large number of open tasks. Last year XTariq was primarily in charge of the content modules like Cooking, Equipment and SimpleFarming. It would be a good idea to distribute such tasks among mentors before hand.
  • Tutorials and Guides- The NUI tutorial and the World Generation tutorial were used/read widely to finish associated tasks. We need more of these, since these effectively reduce one to one explaining on how to go about something which might be trivial and a common doubt.
  • Only the top 10 students, ranked on basis of the number of tasks done are eligible to be the winners/finalists. This wasn't clear to quite a few students last year. We should make sure that we put this point across to avoid confusion later.
  • With a lot of work having happened last summer (10 GSoC Projects), a fair number of task ideas can come from the GSoC students relevant to their projects.
There is already a Google Doc ready with some of the tasks ideas. Slack has a #gci2017 channel in place. We would love a little contribution from everyone, please chip in with whatever tasks you have in mind. :)
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I think that it might be worth making a GCI landing page and linking to it in the IRC channel and in the beginner tasks. There we can link to useful guides and put information like the top 10 requirement.

I've added your points to the doc and I've some of my own to add from a student perspective.
  • Tasks should have very clear results. Screenshots are good where possible. Things like pull requests should be clear in what they need to contain. I remember there was some confusion on what was actually need to be in a pull.
  • Tasks should be clearly explained. For the content tasks it's good to have a examples to base off. For the task chains like the world generator it worked well having a guide to follow alongside to the task chain.
There is a link to the google doc on the slack channel, join it to see the doc ;)