I just won a free trip to the Google Headquarters. How did I do it?
For the last three years, Google has run an international programming competition, Google Code-In, for pre-university students between the ages of 13 and 17. There are ten open-source software organizations that take part and create sets of programming tasks, usually requiring the student to write a small amount of code. After completing one task, students earn a certificate that will be mailed to them. After completing three tasks, students win a Google t-shirt.
What’s most interesting, however, is the grand prize. Each of the ten organizations name two students as grand prize winners, making a total of twenty winners. A winner receives a four-night all-expenses-paid trip to Google’s headquarters (a.k.a. The Googleplex) in Mountain View, California. The winners get to speak with Google engineers, tour Google, visit San Francisco, and receive additional prizes (swag); last year’s winners each received a Galaxy Nexus smart phone!
When I discovered this competition on December 1st — a few days after it began — I thought “well this would be a fun way to win a free t-shirt!” And so I began contributing code to a game called Hedgewars, completing tasks. Within a few days, I earned my shirt, but I didn’t feel like stopping. I didn’t even have the grand prize in mind; I was making significant contributions to the game and its main developers were loving my work. It was too rewarding to stop.…
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