Back in October, Google launched Google Code-in, a contest that would operate in a similar fashion to its university program Summer of Code, but in this case, encourage those 13 to 18 year-olds to work on open source projects.
The contest has just announced its grand prize winners -- 14 of them, since honoring the top 10 wasn't enough -- all of whom will head to Mountain View this spring to spend the day with Google engineers.
Over 360 students from 48 countries participated in the contest, which matched students to mentoring organizations and gave them a chance to do real-world development on open source projects. The tasks for participating students included writing code, creating documentation, training others, testing code, UI research and design, and community outreach. For each task successfully completed, students received $100, up to a maximum of $500.
During the course of the contest, students completed over 2,000 tasks (769 easy ones, 798 medium-level ones, and 600 difficult tasks), aiding over 20 open source projects.
I like this program a lot as it recognizes the importance of encouraging young students to try their hand at programming, but does so by introducing them to real-world tasks and, more importantly arguably, to mentors in the field. When Google launched this contest last year, Carol Smith, open source program manager, told me that "We've discovered from our experience with Google Summer of Code that getting students involved in coding and open source development needs to start early."
The grand prize winners: 1. Utku Aydin, Turkey 2. Fernando Brito, Brazil 3. David Czech, Canada 4. Aviral Dasgupta, India 5. Alexandru-Marian Florescu, Romania 6. Gautam Gupta, India 7. Daniel Kang, United States 8. Nolan Lum, United States 9. Daniel Marth, Austria 10. Florentina Musat, Romania 11. Pim Otte, Netherlands 12. Matt Rajca, United States 13. Furkan �z�mc�, Turkey 14. Tony Young, New Zealand