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Google Code-In

Hey everyone. Google Code-In will begin on December 2nd. This is an event for students aged 13-17 to learn about open source by working on real projects and obtaining mentorship from current developers. We at Canonical have participated a number of times both with Ubuntu and with Snapcraft, and I thought perhaps the ROS community would be interested in applying this year.

To be clear, these are children. While I’ve been surprised at some of the skill we’ve seen in the past, these aren’t expert developers. The most difficult part of this is coming up with clear tasks that 1) are useful to the project in question, and 2) can be accomplished by kids. They also probably aren’t going to go out and buy hardware.

This is a time investment. That said, if we can pull it off, we could help bootstrap the next generation of roboticists and ROS developers. What do you think? I’m happy to volunteer as a mentor, but we would need a number of others.

Just to get the creative juices flowing, here are a few task ideas off the top of my head:

  • Go through ____ tutorial, verify it works, give feedback
  • Cover ____ in a unit test
  • Update documentation
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I think I can help wrangle this. What do we need to make this happen successfully? Can you talk a bit more about how the process happens at Cannonical? Does there need to be one developer for each student?

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Definitely! It starts exactly like this, with a post looking for interest and mentors within the community. Applications for mentor organizations open starting on October 10th with a deadline of October 28th. Accepted organizations are then announced on the 29th (note that not every organization is accepted).

Sadly I don’t remember what goes into an application, and as they’re not yet open I can’t help my memory. It’s definitely a blurb about the organization in general, but it may also include an initial number of tasks of varying difficulty. If not, those are generated between when the organizations are announced and when Code-In starts for the students. Regardless, the community/mentors work together to generate that list of tasks and assign mentors to each task.

Not at all. Code-In isn’t meant to pair students with a mentor long-term so much as provide students with a list of possible projects and tasks, each of which have mentors associated with them (folks can be mentors for multiple tasks).

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This sounds like an excellent idea! Both to raise the community’s profile, and to help out some up-and-coming software engineers.

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