My dive into open source with FOSSASIA during Google Code-in

Open sourcePhoto by Brina Blum on Unsplash

Two days ago (28th Nov) the new edition of Google Code-in contest has started. Since I’m 17 this is the last Google Code-in I can take a part in. But before I’ll talk about my experience with this contest I wanna shortly describe what’s it all about. You can find more info on its website (links above and below).

What is Google Code-in?

Google Code-in is a contest to introduce pre-university students (ages 13–17) to open source software development. Rules are pretty simple. You register, your parent accept the rules and your participation, then you are ready to go. Many open source organisations are taking part each year. And that’s how it works: they’re making tasks, with different levels of difficulty, there are even tasks with the sign Beginner so if this is your first contact with open source (and in the most cases it is) you can start with something easier and learn the basics of open source contributing (you can do max. 2 Beginner tasks). Each organisation has its own set of tasks and generally each of them are specialised in different technologies. For example FOSSASIA has mostly java, javascript, android, web technologies and python related tasks.

FOSSASIA descriptionYou can find descriptions and tags of all organisations here

Tasks are sorted into 5 categories: codingdocuments & trainingoutreach & researchquality assurance and user interface.

GCI tasks

Each task can have (and usually has) more than one category.

As a participant you can choose whatever task interests you from whichever organisation, however if you wanna win (more about it later) you should focus on one organisation and dive deeply into its community and start contributing.

17 January 2018 is the final deadline so you have basically 1.5 month, it may seem long but when you try to do as many projects as possible making sure that the quality is even better than in the task description and more than half of your day you have to spend in school… well, believe me it’s not so long.

After deadline all points or whatever it is are counted and every organisation announces finalists and winners.

If you complete at least 1 task you already gain certificate from Google with the amount of completed tasks. If you complete at least 3, you also get cool t-shirt from Google. Finalists gain also Google hoodie. And winners… they get Grand Prize Trip to Google’s Headquarters in Mountain View, California, USA.

Sounds not bad, right?

Prizes accumulate which means that the Grand Prize winner gets all the prices.

 


 

Last year I accidentally entered Google Code-in website on the day of its start while searching for programming tutorials and I decided to try it (pretty lucky, huh). I completed 3 projects so I’ve got certificate and t-shirt. It was the first time I received something for coding and apart from it I learnt more stuff than for the past few months. This year I set my goal much higher, I just wanna give 100% of me, my skills, my knowledge and even part of my sleep!

I’m this type of person who could sleep till the afternoon if no one or nothing would wake me up. I looove sleeping. But when contest started I decided to set myself some rules.

I enter home about 5pm and sometimes my brain is just roasted after school. To be on time I have to wake up at 6am. And to don’t wake up as a zombie I have to fall asleep at least before 10pm. Adding other stuff that I have to do after reaching home I get max. 3 hours for myself (GCI) and my mind isn’t as much productive as I’d really like it to be.

So since GCI started I’m waking up at 5am, I’m wearing my sweater, socks and I wrap myself in a blanket so I look like a sleepy Christmas pancake. Thanks to this practice I’m getting one more hour. Productive hour with fresh mind.

Next thing I managed to change were computer games. Before GCI I was playing seldom. Now I’m just not playing.

Also my time in train while going to school or coming back home become tutorials marathon (with practice later).

 


 

After quick research I chose to stick with FOSSASIA. The main reasons were: comfortable technologies, big and helpful community (which I experienced last year) and many projects too choose from on GitHub with different difficulty level making it easier to start even for someone like me, who actually is just a freshman. Shortly, FOSSASIA is an organisation bringing together developers, designers, event organizers and contributors who work together making open source technologies (software and hardware) for people all around the world with a special focus on Asia. Come on, who wouldn’t like to be a part of this amazing community!

Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.
— Paul Ryan

I made myself a list of tasks that I’m gonna complete, after doing so I’ll make a new list (every day new challenges are added). Here are few of them:

Open Event Web App: Deploy Open Event Webapp Generator to Google Cloud

I’ve never deployed any app live and Google Cloud is one of the things which were sitting in my mind since some time. I know it’s gonna be challenging but hey… waking up at 5 o’clock isn’t easy too!

Website: Add Your Photo to the GCI FOSSASIA Site Student Section and Connect with Projects on GitHub

This task is straightly related with this what I’m doing daily, just front-end technologies. And this year when my teacher will ask me do I have any evidence of me contributing to open source I finally will.

Website: Add and Enhance the “Contributors Section” for the FOSSASIA GCI site by using the Github API

While adding this to my list I had a little confusion since the whole website was looking just like a non-edited template and I wasn’t sure where for example should I put the content, but it looks like few contributors already did this, so there shouldn’t be a problem.

Community: Support Three Students to Join the FOSSASIA and Open Tech Community

I absolutely know how it feels like when you want to contribute, join the community and get involved but you don’t even know where to start. Actually I’m still in this place and that’s mainly the reason why I’d like to do this task, and if possible I’d like to help more than 3 or even 5 or 10 students.

This list is much longer but calm down, I’m not gonna list there 85 tasks with their descriptions (and obviously, my list doesn’t contain 85 tasks). FOSSASIA has also many cool projects on their GitHub (and I invite you to check it out), apart from GCI challenges I’d also like to take a part in building Google Code-in FOSSASIA websiteHere is the link to GitHub repository.

If you decide to join FOSSASIA community I suggest you join their Slack channel. I foud it the best place to ask for help or just get some info. Getting in touch with community is really important in open source contributing.

 


 

Open source is practically everywhere around us and sometimes we even don’t realize it. You tend to notice it when you’re really in need. As a web developer I’m using a bunch of great open source software which I’d never exchange for any paid version.

Brackets, my favourite text editor, with dozens of great extensions, genius features and sweet layout. Another great option is also Atom.

Inkscape, great tool for creating vector graphics. Used not only by open source enthusiasts but also by professional graphic and logo designers. [pssst… one of them is Nick Saporito, he has great tutorials on YouTube]

Blender, to be honest I used this software just a few times since my work usually focuses on the other stuff. But I couldn’t skip this program because of it’s good reviews and my friends opinions. It’s great for making animations as well as montage.

Android. I guess everyone reading this article knows what it is. In case you had no clue, it’s open source.

WordPress is an open source platform commonly used for blogging (but not only). Because of Google Code-in I learnt how to use it and I created and personalised my own blog!

 


 

Google Code-in is not only a time of contributing and making work but also learning, and just after looking at this year tasks board I already knew there’s going to be so much to learn! Ember.js, Google Cloud and WordPress to name a few. I also hope to improve my tech-related English vocabulary and — most importantly — to dive deep into open source contributing and community.

 


 

With all this said, I’m really grateful that I can take a part in Google Code-in, happy that I joined FOSSASIA so I can work on open source with amazing team, and excited about new technologies that I’m gonna learn. If you’d like to start also but don’t know where to start or you need some guidance it will be a pleasure for me to do my best!

Don’t give up and code on!

Just one more line of codeIt not always looks like that. Although often.

Thank you for reading! This article is also available to read on Medium (this link!). Feel free to comment or contact me and if you like this article… please, show me by liking it! 

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