Google recently announced the winners of the 2016 Google Code-in. Google Code-in is a seven week-long global contest where pre-university students learn and practice open source development. Students work with mentors from different organizations to complete various open source tasks. This year, 17 organizations participated, including Systers, an AnitaB.org online community that connects and supports women in computing. We are so proud of our Code-in participants, who worked hard to complete a total of 177 tasks.
We spoke with our Code-in winners, Soham Sen and Jacqueline Bronger. This Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.
Where are you from and how old are you? How long have you been coding?
Soham: I am from India and I am 15 years old. I have been coding for three to three and a half years. I got interested in coding as I loved computers since I was a child.
Jacqueline: I am from Germany and I turned 18 during the contest period. This was my first time participating in Code-in. I started programming shortly before I turned 16, about two and a half years ago. I learned about programming while taking some classes at a college (my school offers a program for students interested in computer science).
How would you sum up your experience?
Jacqueline: The contest was very educational. It was fun to learn and the work got integrated into the real project. I started some iOS programming (swift) and learned something about documentation. I am now also confident enough to start working on other open source projects.
What was your favorite project from the Code-in?
Soham: I loved the coding challenges. My favorite project was VMS and PowerUp as they had the best tasks. For the VMS project, I learned Python which I couldn’t properly use earlier.
Jacqueline: I worked on different projects during the Code-in (including working on FirstAide and PowerUp with both Android and iOS). Before the contest, I knew quite a bit about Android but nothing about iOS, so I found it very interesting to compare them.
Do you have any advice for future students?
Jacqueline: I would advise future students not to stick with what they already know and what they think is easy but to use the opportunity to learn new things.
Soham: My advice is that all future students should take coding as a fun thing, not a hard challenge.
Since you’re both superheroes when it comes to coding, we thought we’d end with this question: What superpower would you want to have, and what line would you scream while defeating you archenemy?
Soham: I’ll get back to you on that one!
Jacqueline: I’d probably choose speed, where I’m running so fast I’m almost invisible. I could use my superpower in a fight. It’s also useful for other situations like going everywhere in the world without having to book a ticket. When I defeat my archenemy, I’d scream, “You didn’t see me coming, did you?” But she or he probably wouldn’t even hear me because I ran by too fast!