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.

Project Impact

All across our project, we’ve been making great progress in the five functional areas that Google has established:

  • Outreach/Research: Our students have been demonstrating their social media wizardry as they’ve been cleaning up and revamping our blog, expanding the Impact Section of our website, automating and optimizing our social media accounts, streaming our e-newsletter distribution lists and setting up campaigns for volunteers as well receiving blog updates by email. On the research front, they’ve been seeking out events for us to attend, researching mobile money services, and identifying new online fundraising tools. We’ve got a ton more tasks in store to introduce students to the dynamics of managing a widespread community, the latest trends in delivering financial services to the unbanked, and marketing and outreach for a global non-profit.
  • Documentation: Under the mentorship of Dayna Harp, students have been cranking out numerous sets of training slides to help our users and deployment partners alike quickly learn how to use the Mifos X Community App. We’ve wrapped up our Windows Installation Guide and are now seeking students to build out our data dictionary and implement tooltips and context-sensitive help all throughout the community app.
  • User Interface: Under the leadership of Gaurav, students have already been tackling some critical UI optimizations that have been directly requested by the users of our software. They are rapidly adding these fixes to our AngularJS UI and will also be helping to design and wireframe new features in the software as well as new collaborative tools to power our community.
  • Coding: Under the mentorship of Markus, Michael. and Nayan – students have been quickly chipping away at the large number of introductory tasks we’ve had in our issue tracker for the platform and community app. We’ve been impressed with their coding chops as well as how they’ve easily adopted to the community norms of communication via IRC and mailing lists and collaboration via GitHub and JIRA.
  • Quality Assurance: Under the watchful eyes of Markus and Ishan – students have been adding test coverage across our full suite of RESTful APIs as well as adding unit and instrumentation tests for our Android App using the Espresso Framework. We’ve hardly been able to keep up and have been adding more QA tasks daily.

For a list of our current tasks, see: http://www.google-melange.com/gci/org/google/gci2014/mifos

Student Impact – Opening Doors & Opening Mind

But perhaps most importantly, beyond the impact GCI is having on our project, we’ve been proud to play our part in immersing these students to the world of open source and HFOSS in particular. Our mentors have shone in their ability to be available at all hours and all time zones. Most important has been their eagerness, patience, and commitment to taking each student under their wing to pass on their wisdom and help them grow. GCI has also allowed us to get in touch with contributors from new countries – we’ve had contributors from Bulgaria, Poland, Germany, and Egypt just to name a few.

Grab a Task and Start Contributing!

To all the students thinking about taking on one of our tasks, we encourage you to do so. New tasks are being added daily.
Contributing to our project, you’ll get to see firsthand not only what it’s like to work an open source project but you get to be part of an amazing community and collaborative movement that transcends time zones, borders, and cultures. You get to work on cutting edge technology that is connecting and transforming the world – Java platforms, web services and RESTful APIs, cloud-based web apps written in AngularJS, Android-based smartphone applications and more . To top it all off, you’re doing this to eliminate global poverty and help create a World of 3 Billion Maries.

Watch these videos below to see our software in action as we bring financial services to the base of the pyramid through technology-enabled financial inclusion and we’re changing the game by delivering banking as a service:


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