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Open Source from the Eyes of a GCI Student

This guest blog post is from Matt, one of our 2017-2018 Google Code-In participants. He penned this impressive piece for one of the tasks he claimed, “Write a blog post on why open source is valuable”.

Open source software is vitally important to the world of computer science and technology in general as it allows for many beneficial things to happen that are simply not possible with proprietary code and non open source code.

Firstly, open source benefits students and anyone interested in coding or technology as through this valuable resource they are easily able to study sample code and learn. If there were no open source software it would be much harder for them to learn well and get a good understanding of what coding looks like in practice. If young people learn how to code well they can apply that knowledge later on to help benefit all facets of society. It will not only benefit society but also the workforce as there will be more talent on the market meaning that companies should have the incentive to create more open source material as that is a way they could be investing in future talent. One last note on the economic side that is very important is the fact that since open source software is not made for profit and is usually free it allows for many people who cannot afford to experience technology to its fullest due to
financial issues to not only use it but also learn how it works. Read more

2017 Google Code-In is Underway

The Mifos Initiative once again has the honor of participating in Google Code-In, a fast-paced six-week long immersion of high school students into open source. For these pre-university students, our community provides a unique opportunity to learn about all aspects of open source collaboration, open source code development, and open source community all while helping to end poverty one line of code at a time.

For us, it’s a meaningful way to share the expertise of our community and our mentors in opening the eager eyes of these students to the many ways to contribute to open source in a technical and non-technical fashion. Since we work with so many new contributors coming in, it’s also a great way for us to improve all the points of entry to our community and have students participate in this as well. Google Code-In catalyzes a cycle creating new contributors and helps us cultivate our community to continue to grow organically.

Thank you to the hard work of all our mentors so far. So many of our past students have really been paying it forward to the next generation of contributors!

Impact Thus Far

We’re only 2 weeks into the program but we’ve already nearly surpassed the total number of tasks completed last year. In 2016 we worked with 34 students who completed 159 tasks. Just 14 days into this year’s program, we have worked with 100 students who’ve completed 141 tasks.  

Read more

Google Code-In – A Whirlwind Week One

GCI-2014-b-squareWith just over a week of Google Code-In under our belts, and just about six weeks remaining, we want to collectively take a breath and thank all the students for their valuable contributions. The energy and enthusiasm of the pre-university students who’ve contributed to our cause has kept all our mentors on their feet, whipping up new tasks to keep these blossoming open source contributors busy. Looking back on this hectic week, we’ve all been impressed with the knowledge and experience of our students and the ease with which they’ve been making an impact. All in all we’ve already 80 tasks completed by 27 different students.

First off, in case you’re wondering what Google Code-In is: it’s a “contest for pre-university students (e.g., high school and secondary school students aged 13-17) with the goal of encouraging young people to participate in open source.” Students complete tasks and earn points and in turn prizes. Tasks introduce students to all the work that makes open source projects possible and can be anything an organization needs help with, from bug fixes, to writing code, to user experience research, to writing documentation. This video does a great job of explaining the program which is now in it’s fifth year.

We are proud to be participating as a mentoring organization for GCI for the first time. As the world aims to bring computer science to millions of students this week through the Hour of Code led by Code.org, students and teachers this a great way to begin coding. Read more