2016 Google Code-In Wrap-up

We had the honor of participating in Google Code-In for the second time this year. Google Code-In is Google’s program to introduce pre-university students to the world of open-source by working on a range of bite-sized (3-5 hour-long) tasks including coding, outreach/research, documentation/training, user interface, and quality assurance.  

In this year’s program, 1,340 students from 62 countries completed 6,418 tasks mentored by 17 different open source organizations. We worked with 34 students who completed 159 tasks. Participation was a bit lower than during our first year in 2014 but we still received many valuable contributions and most importantly made a lasting impact on students by showing them what it’s like to work on an open source project. Read on to learn more about our five finalists and their GCI experiences. 

Coding contributions included enhancements and bug fixes to both our Mifos X web app and Mifos Android Field Officer app. For our documentation, students helped to create training slides, record video tutorials, improve technical docs on our wiki, and update screenshots throughout our user manuals. As we push further into new geographies and pioneer new fintech innovation, the dozens of country market research briefs on financial inclusion and fintech will be immensely valuable. Students even got to try their hand at design by creating wireframes and mockups for our website and mobile self-service app.

Thank you to all the students who participated, thank you to the Google Open Source Programs staff for administering the program and thank you to all our mentors including several new community members. Our mentors this year were Shreyank, Gaurav, Rajan, Prathmesh, Adi, Nikhil, Nayan, Tarun, Mayank, Mohit, Nazeer, Santosh, Simmi, Daniel, and Saransh. Tarun, Mayank, and Rajan were an especially big help with the mobile development tasks we had available.

Read on below for a brief glimpse into our 5 finalists. Our 2 grand prize winners will be going to the Google campus along with their parents for four days in June. They will be joined by one of our mentors. So stay tuned later this summer for a recap of this fun event and amazing rewards for all these students.

gci-map

Sawan Kumar (Grand Prize Finalist)

Grade 11 – Nawarghi, Munger, Bihar, India

sawan

What are your favorite subjects & hobbies?

My favorite subjects are Mathematics & Science. My hobbies include MIUI Theme Designing and Learning and Knowing about Technology – Science, Black Holes, Parallel Universe, Astronomy, Aliens, Smartphones, Computers, Processors, Android. 

What was your most rewarding experience?

I enjoyed designing the t-shirts and testing the app and researching.

What was your biggest challenge?

My Celeron-powered desktop

What advice would you give to other students?

Not to bother the mentors too much without first trying to solve the problem on your own and try to do your best.

How do you hope to contribute to Mifos in the future?

Till now I have knowledge about HTML, XML and a bit of CSS. I will learn other programming languages and try to work on the bugs listed there.

What are your long term plans for after high school?

Working on Android, Android apps, OS and in the fields of IT.

Dhruv Shrivastava (Grand Prize Finalist)

Grade 9 – Faridabad, Haryana, India
dhruv

What are your favorite subjects & hobbies?

My favorite subject is Foundation of Information Technology(FIT) as I am fascinated by the way how computers make our work easier and more accurate. My hobby is computer programming, I code websites  and mobile apps using C# (.NET) I am working on apps of my own which i wish to upload to the Google Play Store.

What was your most rewarding experience?

Contributing to Mifos was a rewarding experience itself whether it was writing code or doing some research. I got to know about the different cultures, various economies, FinTechs and a lot more, I felt proud working with a Fin Tech which focused on delivering financial services to the poor and I would like to continue working with them in the future also.

What was your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge that i overcame this summer was to learn to code, I already had interest in computer science and I wanted to share my creativity and imaginations to the world. So I began to learn to code and it was a fantastic experience and something that I would cherish for a long long time.

What advice would you give to other students?

My advice to other GCI students is that they should be confident in what they do and should listen to the mentors and mainly focus on quality work. Even if it is a small task that could be done in a few hours, look for improvisations and try to present it in the best way you could. And when one is working for a particular org, you have to become a part of it. Research more about the org and help them with things in the best way.

How do you hope to contribute to Mifos in the future?

Contributing to Mifos, I would not only do it I had free time, I would do it whenever you want me to. As I have both the  certification and skills to build cross platform (Android, iOS, Windows)  mobile apps in C# and App Design, I would love to do so the same with Mifos. For the time being, I have been taking some courses on Java so i look forward to contributing with code to the Mifos platform. Also, I would love to do researching.

What are your long term plans for after high school?

At present, my plans are to hone my skills, add up to my knowledge and work with open source orgs. After high school, I look forward to get admission in a good technology university/college (IITs specifically) and work with the biggest software giants and then later open up a startup in India for the people of India so that my nation could grow and be counted as one of the most developed countries.


Justin Du

Grade 11 – Memphis, TN – USA

*Justin was so ambitious that he was not only was a finalist for Mifos but was a grand prize winner for Wikimedia Foundation. Well done!*
justin-du

What are your favorite subjects & hobbies?

My favorite subject is probably Biology… or Computer Science… or Math… or anything STEM related.

I love to do the following

  • Volunteer – I love helping out at races for good causes such as the St. Jude Marathon and March of Dimes. I am in charge of the Community Service Club at my school, as well as the volunteer group at the local Chinese School.
  • Explore the outdoors – I enjoy spending time as much outdoors as I do in front of my computer or books, which is hard to believe. My favorite sport is probably tennis, closely followed by ultimate frisbee. I’m pretty happy Federer won the Australian Open 🙂
  • Anything science – Be it shadowing scientists at a local lab or participating in Science Olympiad or just pursuing some small side programming projects, I love to continuously learn.

What was your most rewarding experience?

Although I did not have the time to contribute as much to the coding aspect of the Mifos Initiative, I learned a few things.

  • Code can get very large and difficult to follow through. It truly takes understanding just to know where to look for something. Thanks to Tarun and Rajan, I have been able to swim through the stormy seas, albeit only a little.
  • Documentation is just as important as the software. If you are unable to communicate to users how to do something, then you don’t know what you are building. Through creating powerpoints of things like Variable Installment Loans to adding screenshots to writing completely new documentation, I am glad to say that I have picked up a few financial terms and understand why they matter.
  • Everyone has a life. Although work is good, relaxation is good as well. Talking on the gitter channels is like a second home to me, and respecting everyone’s time and beliefs are extremely important to me.

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me was to balance my time throughout the contest. In addition to juggling things outside the classroom, I also decided to work with two organizations during Google Code-in, which meant that I had 0 time for anything, even sleep sometimes. :p

Another lesson I learned was that when things get difficult, small bites of the cookie make it so much easier. All you have to do is set small goals and hit them… on time of course. 🙂

What advice would you give to other students?

Do not worry about the competition. Use it instead as a way to learn as much as you can when these mentors give up the time to. They are friendly, extremely filled with knowledge, and ready to help. However, do not be lazy. Try your best to learn it yourself. You have a much more concrete understanding that way.

How do you hope to contribute to Mifos in the future?

I will definitely continue to write documentation for Mifos, update screenshots, and overall try to comment on how to improve the user interface, community outreach, etc.

If my mentors have time, I also hope to be able to fix some minor bugs in the community app, and maybe convert a few more PPI to JSON formats.

I also am interested in helping to mentor for the Mifos Initiative in Google Code-in 2017!

What are your long term plans for after high school?

To spread education opportunities around the world. I volunteer weekly at a Refugee Empowerment Program, and I understand how difficult good opportunities are to come by. Coming from a first generation immigrant family, it makes it even more imperative. 

To immerse myself in STEM fields as either a surgeon, biomedical engineer, computational scientist, or oncologist. 


Ilia Andrieiev

Grade 10 – Ukraine

illia-gciWhat are your favorite subjects & hobbies?

My favorite subject(s) is physics/math. It wouldn’t be a surprise that my hobby is programming.

What was your most rewarding experience?

Collaborating with other people.

What was your biggest challenge?

I’d started my own Android project.

What advice would you give to other students?

Work faster 🙂

How do you hope to contribute to Mifos in the future?

I believe I will have time for that.

What are your long term plans for after high school?

I plan to study in university and pursue a career in IT.


Tan Gemicioglu

Grade 10 – Robert College, Istanbul Turkey

tanWhat are your favorite subjects & hobbies?

My favorite subject is English and my hobbies are gaming and watching anime. I spend most of my time on my computer.

What was your most rewarding experience?

My most rewarding experience with Mifos was adding depositEvery to recurring deposits. Since the parameter was long forgotten and there was some inconsistency between products and accounts, I had to go through every step of the workflow from the database to the HTML. This allowed me to see the big picture of how the project worked, whereas other bugs were usually limited to a part of it.

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge I overcame during my work was setting up the Fineract platform for testing. It took me around 2 days because I tried different instructions and wasn’t sure if it was setup properly because there was no preset data.

What advice would you give to other students?

My advice is one that applies to all GCI participants: The number of tasks you complete doesn’t matter. When taking a task, you shouldn’t just be considering how easy it is for you but what it will contribute to the organization and to yourself. I’d also recommend checking the description and the URLs within the description for a task before taking it, as there may be instances where tasks were completed by volunteers outside of GCI as well as some tasks which are simply beyond your ability.

How do you hope to contribute to Mifos in the future?

I would like to contribute to Mifos by fixing bugs both in the platform and community app. I’d also like to finish adding .jsons for the PPI uploader when I have some time as it seems like the kind of mini-project that could be useful but easily forgotten.

What are your long term plans for after high school?

After high school, I’d like to go to university in the US. My plans after university are uncertain as I’m still undecided between academia and industry.

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