I won a trip to Google HQ, Ask Me Anything!

Setting The Scene:

I'm a 14 year-old teenager and I am a winner of Google Code-In 2017. Google Code-In is an online, international contest to introduce pre-university students (aged 13–17) to open source software development.

This year, there were 3,555 students from 78 countries completing 16,468 tasks with 25 open source organizations!

The prize for winners is an all-expenses paid trip to Google HQ, California.

Ask Me Anything!

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DISCUSSION (18)

Hi Arun! Congrats!! πŸ˜€

I'm curious about how you got into open source development. Also, were you confident about your skills when you first started open source? How would you say someone understand if they are ready for contributing in open source? Thanks! πŸ™‚

I first got into open source development in late 2017. I had heard about it a lot, in articles etc... So, I started looking around GitHub for issues and submitted a few pull requests. When Hacktoberfest 2017 came around, I started to contribute to open source a bit more and I started to understand how it works. Then, when Google Code-In came, I really started to dive in and I started to do much more with it.

When I first started, I was a bit intimidated by all of it, as you don't really know how the whole process works when you start out. Programs like Hacktoberfest and GCI do help, as you have a community to support you, while you begin open source development.

I wouldn't really say that there is a level of readiness for contributing to open source. Just find some beginner repos or some projects with your skills and try to solve some of the easier issues. You will learn more and there is usually a supportive community around most open source applications. As you progress, learning more, you gain confidence with open source.

First of all, congratulations!! That's a great achievement and - more importantly - it sounds like you are having fun exploring the computing landscape!

Two questions:

  1. I'm curious to know what your other interests are, and how much of your time you dedicate to programming and learning.

  2. If you look back at when you started (3-4 years ago), knowing what you know now, is there anything you would do differently? In other words, what advice would you give to a 9-10yo?

Thanks!

  1. Usually, I spend about 5 hours in a week programming. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I would like to spend more time programming, however school work often takes up most of my time. In terms of time programming and learning, I would say a 3:2 hour (Programming:Learning) ratio. My other interests are (non-code) languages and reading (books, articles, magazines etc...)

  2. If I could speak to 9/10 year-old me, I would probably say to spend more time on programming. When I first started, I only coded once in a while and didn't code nearly as much as I do now. It was only about 2 years ago that I started to really dive in and spend a lot of time on it. Also, I would suggest learning how to Google things properly to find the answers you need. Additionally, I would recommend going to hackathons more often. Finally, I would say to try and find a community of others learning to code, so you can help each other out.

For that alone you deserve the trip, ahah !

More seriously, congrats to you !

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After reading your story I really didn't expect you to be based in the U.K! I only found out about coding a few years ago and it I don't really have any friends that know about it! I figured you would be living somewhere else based on how early you adopted this!

My son is 9 and I've just started introducing him to basic coding things. How old was you when you first got into it properly?

Congratulations man!

Are you gonna ask them about Project Maven?

I'm trying to get into open source by implementing CRUD routing in a GoLang REST api, which I'm afraid of because I've only done that with Node.js/express.js

My point is how much competitive programming should I be doing to implement things in open source projects or let's say companies projects

Congrats! Have fun!

How did you get interested in coding?

I guess it started a few years ago. I've always been into computers in general, so when they introduced us to simple HTML in school (3-4 years ago), I thought it was really interesting. I also used to play games back then, and wanted to learn more about how they worked. Therefore, at home, I started to learn more, using Codecademy at first and then reading books. That started to progress into me coding more and more. Since then I've just carried on learning (using freeCodeCamp, making my own projects) and now I'm pretty proficient in Java, HTML, CSS, JavaScript (+ node) and I've created projects ranging from Amazon Alexa Skills to Java desktop applications.

What are you currently spending most of your time building?

I've been working on my algorithm skills recently, so I've been doing challenges from Project Euler(currently on #23). I'm also working on my website, as well as creating Alexa Skills for startups.

I've mainly been trying to teach myself a wider range of skills. I'm currently learning Android Development and I've also played around with some machine learning.

Ayyyy! Another 14 year old developer! Are you a freshmen? Btw how many tasks did you complete?

Hi! I'm not a freshman, I go to school in the UK and I'm in year 9, which is 8th grade in the US.

During the competition I completed 17 tasks. 15 of those with XWiki, the organisation that I won with (Each open source organisation picks 2 winners).

Congrats dude! What are you looking forward to in the program, and at being in Google HQ?

The Google Code-In program has ended, as it finishes when the competition finishes, but I'm still contributing to open-source.
When I'm at Google HQ, I'm looking forward to meeting the other winners and meeting the googlers. In general, I'm just looking forward to seeing the city and the Googleplex with all of the cool stuff there.

Congratulations Arun, amazing! :-)

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Arun Pattni
Teen programmer. Google Code-In 2017 Winner.
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