2017 Google Code-In: A Closer Look

This year’s participation in Google Code-In was so overwhelming that we’ve split our recap into two posts. Last week we showcased the stellar work that are students delivered across all facets of our project and community. This week, we’re going to give you a closer look at the great minds behind all that work – the priceless young talent that will be shaping our planet for future generations to come. We’ve been lucky to work with them for seven weeks and hope to continue collaboration with them long into the future. 

In their own words, here’s their GCI experience and what they’ll be up to now that they’re not completing tasks for Mifos with great fervor. Our 2 grand prize finalists, Chirag Gupta and Matthew Katz, will be traveling to San Francisco with their parents for four day sin June for their prize. They will be joined by Sanyam Goel, who will be representing the Mifos mentors.


Chirag Gupta (Grand Prize Finalist)

Grade 9 – Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

What are your favorite subjects & hobbies?

My favorite subjects are IT and Finance (the fact that I joined this org). My hobbies include jamming with my guitar, exploring about new technologies emerging into the market, reading articles and I don’t need to say that I am a big foodie. And between all this I sometimes code also.

What was your most rewarding experience?

“Experience lets you discover the hidden world”

I got to work with the amazing mentors who are always updated with the good practices used in today’s world. I was amazed by the achievements of the mentors and I always thought how can they be so humble.

By contributing to the Mifos, I can assure that my work will somewhere help to the poors. It will affect the lives of poor people in a very positive manner. Its a very big plus point with Mifos.

I got a lot knowledge about FinTech and that helped me in getting National Rank 3rd in Junior Finance Wiz 2018 by Kotak Mahindra Bank.

What was your biggest challenge?

“Storm make trees take deeper roots.”

Challenges were many but I somehow encountered them.

Maintaining the balance between social life, school life and virtual life. It was very tough for me to go to school regularly but I somehow managed by going on alternate days only.

“The trouble is, you think you have time” – Lord Buddha

Working on Windows OS. Do I need to say something else?

Getting help from the mentors was a problem for me because of different time zones. BTW, most of my mentors were from my time zone (India) but they were busy in day time, so I had to connect with them in night.

What advice would you give to other students?

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

  • I find the Mifos community to be most engaging and responsive so just be active in the community chat & mailing list.
  • Even if the task looks too easy, never take it as too easy.  Think from the mentor’s perspective and then do it !!
  • Don’t bother mentors much. They have their own commitments. Try a task first yourself before asking to the mentor this way you will learn a lot.
  • Don’t work for the quantity instead give quality. Before taking a task think how much it will impact the organization and then take it.

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

“It is the ultimate luxury to combine passion and contribution”

I would love to introduce new features to the mobile apps. I will also be trying to work on Github Integrations so the life of the maintainers can become easy. I will try to make fixing bugs as a hobby.

I would also like to become the mentor in Google Code-in 2018 and guide new high schoolers in path of open source.

What are your long term plans for after high school?

“I am gonna make the rest of my life, the best of my life”

I am not much certain with my plans as of now but I think I will go into the field of CS and FinTech but I will not be leaving the Mifos community at any cost.

Matt Katz (Grand Prize Finalist)

Grade 11 – Vancouver, BC, Canada

What are your favorite subjects & hobbies?

As can be expected, my favorite subject is computer science.  Aside from that, I also enjoy Math and Economics. Besides programming, I also compete on the trivia team, participate in model UN, and occasionally do math contests.  I’m also going to be trying my hand at entrepreneurship.

What was your most rewarding experience?

Overall, just knowing that my contributions actually are being used.  As a high school student, I expect most of my code to just remain on my computer without seeing much use.  On the other hand, the commits I made to the Mifos repository fixed bugs in an app that millions of people use. This brings me a lot of satisfaction.

What was your biggest challenge?

For me, the biggest challenge was the dedication required to consistently contribute over the seven week period. I tried to complete one task a day on average, save for holidays.  It was relatively tough, but the diversity in the types of tasks made it quite bearable.

What advice would you give to other students?

You have to have passion. GCI is seven weeks long and, as mentioned above, it is difficult to find the energy to make many contributions over the winter break. If one is passionate about Mifos’ mission then it makes it much easier.

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

I hope to try and contribute more to the Mifos github repositories, although regretfully I’ve been somewhat deficient in this regard since the conclusion of GCI.  I would also be interested in potentially acting as a mentor for next year’s GCI participants.

What are your long term plans for after high school?

I hope to eventually work in Silicon Valley.  My ultimate goal is to create a successful startup.

Janice Kim

Grade 10 – New Jersey, USA

What are your favorite subjects & hobbies?

My favorite subject is physics. To me, physics problems are like puzzles in which you manipulate formulas to find the answer. Some of my hobbies include: robotics (I’m involved in FTC), orchestra (I play the cello), and coding!

What was your most rewarding experience?

What I found to be the most rewarding aspect when working with the Mifos Initiative was the feeling of contributing to a worldly cause. The motto of mifos is “End Poverty One Line of Code at a Time” No matter how many tasks you complete, by contributing to mifos, you are changing the world. That indescribable feeling of doing good that comes with participating in gci is the one best feelings in the world.

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge I overcame was learning to use Android Studio to build Mifos projects. Prior to GCI, I had never dabbled into Android Studio. It was very frustrating to run a gradle build only to find many errors. However, with the help of my GCI mentors and even a GCI participant, I was able to learn and apply this acquired skill to other tasks.iii

What advice would you give to other students?

My advice would be to:

  1. Pick an organization you are passionate about. This way, you’ll be motivated and interested in the organization you are coding for and therefore have a more enjoyable experience!
  2. Pick tasks out of your comfort zone. Though they will be hard, that’s what the mentors are there for! By challenging yourself, you can grow you coding capabilities!
  3. Don’t view it as an competition, but rather a learning experience! Don’t feel stressed out to complete as many tasks as you can but rather to have fun with the tasks, by the end, it can become an obsession!
  4. Be involved! The sense of community I felt in apart with the mifos community made the experience even better! There are many opportunities to get involved, such as through chat channels, forums, and mailing lists!

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

Though I am currently super busy with school, robotics, and my own initiative I am working on, I hope to continue to contribute to Mifos for their community app! I am currently learning Javascript and would love to exercise my newly learned skills in helping Mifos!

What are your long term plans for after high school?

My future plans include attending my dream college of Stanford and majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Biology. I would love to find a job where I can combine all of my interests, computer science, biology, engineering/robotics, into one!.

Muhammad Rafly Andrianza

Grade 11 – Jakarta, Indonesia

What are your favorite subjects & hobbies?

My Favorite subject is vocational theory  such as software foundation, Information Systems, and more and I really like things related to Leadership in an activity / organization that can develop my identity as a leader and I always want to try something new just like a real inventor.

Then there is also a hobby that I usually do is read various media information through books, online media, and so forth.

What was your most rewarding experience?

The most memorable experience when I contribute to Mifos organization is its own pride in the results of the tasks I have completed, as the tasks I do work for everyone, especially the Mifos organization, and many new friendships at outside indonesia country.

What was your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge now is to prepare and prove that after high school I can continue my study abroad with full-funded scholarship and prove that I live not as a parasite that makes it difficult for others, at least I always try a new story path although it ends with the result failed.

What advice would you give to other students?

The motivation I give to other GCI Students working with Mifos Organization is, keep trying even if you have problem constraints that can not be solved and always open your eyes to do not forget to be friends with anyone in this Mifos organization, Do not be shy if you have problems related to what you do, there are times when we can ask for help to the mentor, such as Mr.Edward Cable. He is the CEO of Mifos org, despite his very high position and very busy,  but he does not forget to always be present to guide us GCI Students especially to me 🙂

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

Yes, in the future I will continue to contribute with the Mifos organization primarily through Google Code-In 2018 (if Mifos follow it again) or through the Google Summer of Code program later, it is also possible to open a New Local Chapter Mifos Community for Indonesia and introduce what is it The Mifos Initiative Organization, and if so I would really like to be part of the Mifos Initiative family with a position as a Explore Researcher who goes to poor countries and searches for research information so that the country can become a better developing country or have a chance become a developed country :))

What are your long term plans for after high school?

After I graduate high school, there are two choices that I will do: Create a technology startup with my friends contemporaries and make it a startup that can change the world, or go abroad with scholarships and get a degree at least a different double-degree degree in the field of Information Systems and International Relations / Business.

Shivam Kumar Singh

Grade 12 – Chhoti kelabari, Munger, Bihar, India

What are your favorite subjects & hobbies?

My favourite subject is science especially chemistry.

I remember when I entered in my life’s first Chemistry class.

First thing I hear was Sir Vijay Mandal’s (My Chemistry Teacher) shrilling voice –

“Welcome to the class of love and bondings. You can also call it Chemistry. Chemistry is everywhere in the world around you! It’s in the food you eat, clothes you wear, water you drink and medicines. Chemistry is also called as “central science” because it connects other sciences to each others, such as biology, physics and geology. It is in the roots of every subject. A good understanding of Chemistry will make every other science subject easy and palpable for you.”

That was the very moment I fell in love with Chemistry.

“Life without a hobby is like food without the salt.”

It is a hobby which makes living interesting. My favorite hobbies are photography,  traveling and gaming.

Whenever I have an opportunity to visit a new place, whether a village, city, mountain or seaside, I never miss it. It is so thrilling to see a new place and meet different kind of people. Whenever I travel round a new place, I take my camera and shoot interesting pictures of people, building, monuments etc. It gives me immense satisfaction and pleasure.

What was your most rewarding experience?

My most rewarding experience contributing to Mifos during Google Code-In was to make a video with subtitles and researching. And making true and valuable friends like Chirag Gupta.

What was your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge to overcome this year is to learn coding and become proficient in any of the programming language.

What advice would you give to other students?

If I talk specifically to newcomers in GCI, I would like to congratulate them for choosing one of the best organization right there in GCI. Believe me, Mifos has one of the most active community and all the community members are very supporting. You will get answers even to your most trivial queries. Mifos considers each member (even GCI participants) very important part of community and gives optimum attention to each of them.

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

I believe that I will get much time to contribute to Mifos Initiative. I will try to improve documentation further so new users can get easily familiarized with the platform.

What are your long term plans for after high school?

  1. I will be applying for various entrance exams just after my high school
  2. I am also willing to groom myself in field of competitive programming
  3. Also, Looking to contribute to mifos community in every way possible for me
  4. Last but not the least, I will also looking forward to GSoC in coming years of my undergraduate education.

Video Testimonials from other GCI Rockstars

Akash Bhave

Akash just barely missed being one of our finalist. His overall body of work was incredible though – ranging from code contributions to the web app, rock-solid research, and impeccable professionalism and attention to detail in his documentation videos.

Daniel Genkin

Daniel too was one of our other strong participants that barely missed being a finalist. He excelled in his design and creative editing skills which are on display in this video.