Google Code-In (GCI) is happening again this year. The Ubuntu project participated in 2015. I wanted to float the idea of Ubuntu participation in this year’s GCI.
For those that don’t know GCI is a program run by Google to introduce 13-17 year olds to open source development. Participating organisations come up with a long list of tasks to be performed by students from around the world. Each task is expected to be up to a few hours in duration and they can vary in difficulty level.
There are a set of categories in which the tasks are grouped:
- Documentation / Training
- Outreach / Research
- Quality Assurance
- User Interface
These aren’t limited to Ubuntu desktop though. We could include flavour specific tasks, general archive opportunities, and server / cloud or IoT / Snap related activities. Our documentation could certainly do with a few fresh eyeballs, especially with all the desktop changes this cycle. In addition, with our new GNOME desktop default, now would be a great opportunity to encourage new open source contributors to help with upstream tasks too.
There’s more details available on how it works.
We would need a diverse set of mentors from around the various projects involved in the GCI application.
The application process starts on Monday 9th October, and we have two weeks to get our application in. The accepted participating organisations are annouced on Thursday 26th October. GCI starts for the students on Tuesday November 28th and runs until the deadline for claiming new tasks on Monday 15th January, and all work needs to be submitted by Wednesday January 17th.
We must complete the evaluation of the student’s work by January 18th whereupon the winners are annouced at the end of January.
So, we have a weekend to discuss and decide if we’re going to apply, a couple of weeks to come up with a ton of tasks, and then a couple of months worth of mentoring students and maintaining a pipeline of tasks.
The full details of responsibilities are listed on the GCI site.
What we need now: (before Monday 9th October)
- Decide if we’re going to do this
- Find volunteers within the community who have a few hours a week to spend on mentoring
- Identify admins who can act as fallback for the mentors
- Start work on a list of sample tasks for the students
If we go for it then we need to: (before Monday 23rd October)
- Build a corpus of diverse tasks for the students, covering all the groups, at each level
- Create the application
If we get accepted we need to then:
- Ensure we don’t run out of tasks for the students
- Have the mentors respond to the students in a timely manner
I’d love for us to get involved, but it’s a lot of work, and we’d need commitment from everyone to work as per the guidelines above (and on the GCI site) for the full duration of GCI. I’ve already spoken to a few people in Canonical who would love to get involved. This is a lot to do, especially with the Christmas holidays in the middle, and an Ubuntu release right around the corner.
However, I think this could be a great opportunity to help build the next generation of open source contributors. I welcome everyone’s input on this. Especially people who wish to volunteer as mentors and can help get tasks created and maintained.
So, shall we do this? Volunteer mentors step forward!