Building on the success of the Summer of Code program, Google has just launched the Google Highly Open Participation Contest, with Plone as one of 10 open-source community partners.
The Google Highly Open Participation Contest aims to give students the opportunity to learn more about and contribute to all aspects of open source software development, from writing code and documentation to preparing training materials and conducting user experience research.
If you're a student age 13 or older who has not yet begun university studies, you can jump in and join the incredible Plone community! In return, you'll learn more about all aspects of developing software — not just programming — and you'll be eligible to win cash prizes, the all important t-shirt and possibly a trip to Google's offices in Mountain View, California!
How does it work?
If you're a student 13 or older (or know someone who is!) and meet the eligibility requirements, head over to Plone's GHOP Project Page and check out the list of available tasks. If you find any marked "Open" that appeal to you, respond to the task with the text, "I claim this Task."
Provided you were the first one to claim it, the task will then be marked "Claimed" and you'll have a period of 2-5 days to work on it. If your work meets the criteria, you'll receive credit and then can claim another task if you'd like!
Each project has a "mentor" associated with it, who will be your main contact for any questions you may have. Don't limit yourself to just one person, though. Everyone involved in Plone GHOP can answer questions or give advice, so don't be shy about asking for help when you need it!
What's in it for me?
In addition to the real-world experience of participating in the amazing Plone community — which will look great on your college application — there are of course prizes too. If you complete one task, you get the Google t-shirt. If you complete 3 tasks, you receive a $100 USD prize. And you keep receiving $100 USD prizes for every 3 tasks that you complete, up to $500.
Finally, if you're deemed the best overall entrant from Plone, you'll win the "Grand Prize," which is a trip to Google's Headquarters in Mountain View, CA for you and a parent/guardian. In addition to whatever surprises Google is cooking up for you, you'll get to meet Plone co-founder Alex Limi, who works at Google in the User Experience Team!
What if I'm not eligible, but want to help anyway?
If approved, we'll go ahead and mark this task as "Open" so that students can claim it. We can have up to 102 tasks, so feel free to get creative. Are there itches you want scratched that would make a useful learning opportunity for a student, and could be accomplished in about a week? Propose them as tasks! Remember, these don't have to be limited to coding, but can also be around things like quality assurance, testing, usability, documentation, and so on.
I'm already part of the Plone community — how can I help?
You can help by mentoring students online at #plone-highly-open on irc.freenode.net or by email on the Highly-Open mailing list. Students will likely need help on everything from how to install Plone to how the community process works to API-level questions, so everyone who has any free time, please sign up and help us grow the next generation of Plonistas!