Google Code-in Frequently Asked Questions

Contest Overview

How do I pick which organizations to work with?

You can work with one organization or multiple organizations during the contest.

Each organization is different, so we encourage you to review the organization's information and pick one that interests you. If you try an organization and don't like it, you can always switch to another.

If you're trying to be a Finalist or win a Grand Prize, you need to be in the top-ten task completers for an organization.

Why should I participate in the contest?

Google Code-in will introduce you to open source and give you the opportunity to become part of the open source community by working on a real-world software project.

You'll be supported by an international community of volunteer mentors from our participating organizations to help you learn and succeed. You can ask questions and learn about all aspects of open source including programming, testing, code reviews, writing documentation, bugs, and even advertising.

Google Code-in is a gateway to learning new skills as well as learning the importance of collaborative and open software development.

At the end of the contest, you can show your friends, teachers, and family members the work you did on a public project used by thousands or even millions of people!

Also Prizes! Digital Certificates, T-Shirts, Hoodies, and a chance to win a trip to Google Headquarters in California!

How does Google pick the participating open source organizations?

Google chooses the participating organizations from organizations who have previously participated in Google Summer of Code and have shown strong ability in mentoring beginners across many time zones.


Do I have to know how to code in order to participate?

No, you do not need to be a programmer -- you don’t have to know how to code at all! All contestants are welcome to choose non-coding tasks that may better fit their interests/skills. Non-coding tasks include documentation, training, outreach, research, and quality assurance (e.g., find bugs and report them, etc.) tasks.

For example, if you know how to program in particular languages, then we encourage you to look into the organizations that use those languages and see if there are tasks that you would like to try. If you have non-programming skills, we encourage you to look for tasks that use those skills.

Tasks are designed to be learning experiences and you are not expected to know how to do all of the tasks. We recommend that you ask organizations for advice on which tasks would be a good fit for your skills and interests.

What programming languages do I need to know to complete programming tasks?

Until we have announced the mentoring organizations for this year, we won’t know exactly what languages will be used but historically there have been tasks in Python, C++, C, JavaScript, HTML, CSS and more.

Eligibility and Paperwork

Who can participate in the contest? What are the eligibility requirements?

Contestants must have the consent of their parent or guardian, and be 13 to 17 years old and enrolled in a pre-university educational program.

Please read the contest rules for the details.

What is a pre-university program?

Pre-university programs are often known as middle schools, high schools, or secondary schools. In some countries they are called colleges.

Can homeschooled students participate in the contest?


I turn 13 a couple of weeks after the contest starts. Can I participate in the contest?

Yes, but not until you turn 13. Students must be 13 years old when they register for the contest.

For example, if a student turns 13 years old on December 15th, they may register for the program on December 15th.

I am enrolled in a university and am only 17. Can I participate in the contest?


You must be currently enrolled in a pre-university program.

Students are not eligible to participate if they are enrolled in a university, even if they are only 17.

Students are also not eligible to participate if they have already graduated a pre-university program and are in between the pre-university program and university.

I am in a high school but am 18 years old. Can I participate in the contest?

No. You must be under 18 at the time of registration to participate.

Why do I have to give you my birthday when I first sign in?

We need your birthday to verify your eligibility.

After your register for the contest, you will be provided with options for your parent to fill out the form either using paper or electronically.

You will receive an email when your Parental Consent Form has been verified.

Your form will not be verified until after you submit work for your first task.

If there is a problem with your Parental Consent Form, the contest administrators will send you an email telling you about the problem and giving you a chance to fix it.

Judging & Prizes

Do I get penalized for abandoning a task?


How do I pick a task to work on?

It's up to you to choose what task to work on. We suggest you pick a task that matches your skills and interests. To get warmed up, you might want to choose a beginner task.

On the tasks list, you can search for keywords and filter by organization and task category.

Who reviews my tasks?

Your tasks will be reviewed by volunteer mentors from the open source organization. These mentors are regular contributors to the organization and are often the people who authored the task.

How are the Grand Prize Winners chosen?

Each open source organization will review the work of the 10 students with the highest number of tasks completed during the contest with their particular organization. Work will be reviewed considering quality, creativity, thoroughness, complexity, and community involvement.

From the 10 highest scoring students, each organization will name 5 Finalists. From those 5 Finalists, they will choose 2 students as the Grand Prize Winners for their organization.

It is possible that someone who completed 15 challenging tasks could be chosen as a Grand Prize Winner over someone who completed 35 trivial tasks.

What do you mean by “community involvement”?

Community involvement means doing more than just working on the defined tasks. This might mean participating on the organization's IRC channel or mailing list to help others. It can also include work to improve things for others. For example, improving documentation you've used to complete a task.

I really want to win the Grand Prize! What can I do to increase my chances?

Demonstrate a genuine interest in the organization. Listen and take action on feedback. It can help to work with only one organization so you are more likely to be in the top 10, but quality is as important as quantity.

I was a Grand Prize Winner in a previous Google Code-in contest. Can I be a Grand Prize Winner again?

No. You may only be a Grand Prize Winner once. However, you can still participate and are eligible to be chosen as a Finalist.

How will I receive my prizes?

Digital certificates will be sent via email.

Physical prizes will start being shipped to the address provided in your profile a few weeks after the contest ends.

What is a Restricted Country?

A Restricted Country is a country where we are unable to ship prizes due to shipping difficulties. These countries are Argentina, Belarus, Chile, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Peru, Russia, and Ukraine.

Students from Restricted Countries are welcome to participate in the contest, but they will not receive any physical prizes unless they are named as Grand Prize Winners and attend the Grand Prize Winner’s Trip in person to pick up their prizes.


What is a task?

A task is a small project that is expected to take between 3-5 hours of work to complete.

Tasks are categorized with the following labels:

  • Code: Tasks related to writing or refactoring code
  • Documentation/Training: Tasks related to creating/editing documents and helping others learn more
  • Outreach/Research: Tasks related to community management, outreach/marketing, or studying problems and recommending solutions
  • Quality Assurance: Tasks related to testing and ensuring code is of high quality
  • User Interface: Tasks related to user experience research or user interface design and interaction

When can I start working on my first task?

You can claim and start work on your first task immediately after your parent or guardian submits the Parental Consent form.

You can submit the Parental Consent after you fill out the registration form.

I submitted my first task but I can’t claim my second task. What happened?

If you have submitted your first task and are unable to claim your second task, that means that either (1) a mentor from the organization has not approved your submission yet, or (2) your parental consent form has not been approved yet.

Go to your dashboard and submit a corrected version. The rejection email contains information as to what was wrong.

What is a beginner task?

Beginner tasks are for students who are getting started and aren’t sure where to begin. They are intended to help you learn about an organization and its technology. They are sometimes less technical, but can also be about getting your environment set up for other tasks.

Is there a limit on how many beginner tasks I can complete?

Yes. You may only complete a total of 2 beginner tasks.

Can I work on more than one task at a time?

No, you may only claim one task to work on at a time.

Is there a limit to the number of tasks I can complete?

No. There is no limit to the number of tasks you can complete. But: Quality is often more important than quantity if you want to be a Finalist or Grand Prize Winner.

Can I work on a task as part of a team?

No. A team can't work together on the same task. While we encourage you to ask for help and participate in the community, only one student will receive credit.

It is okay to work at the same time and in the same place as others, as you may be able to help each other out. But everyone must do their own work.

We have a zero tolerance policy regarding cheating and plagiarism. Violators will be removed from the contest immediately.

Can I get help from the open source organization’s community?

Yes. But don't expect them to do the work for you.

It's a good thing to be talking to the community for help and pointers when you're stuck, but you should try and do it yourself first. Collaboration and discussion is very important to open source, but because this is a contest, you must do your own work.

I chose a task I can't complete. What should I do?

You can release the task and choose another by selecting the "Abandon" button on the task page. Don't get discouraged; find something else interesting that is a better fit for your skills and experience and try again.

Tips for Students New to Google Code-in

What is a Google account? Do I have one already?

You may already have a Google account if you have a or account. Many schools also use Google accounts for email. You can also create a Google account for an email address you already use.

How do I get more help?

If your question is about a task you're working on, you should ask your mentors or members of the open source organization. You can find information on ways to contact them on their contest home page. Some tasks may also provide specific instructions for how to communicate.

If you have a general question about Google Code-in, send a message to the Google Code-in discussion group. This group is for general questions and discussion, and contains other students, organization members, and Google contest administrators. Do not mail personal information to this group.

If your question is about the website, your Parental Consent form, or anything involving personal information, please email contest administrators at

Information for Mentors and Educators

How can I be a mentor for Google Code-in?

You should already be a participant in the organization/open source project that you wish to be a mentor for. Let your organization's Google Code-in administrator know that you wish to be invited to be a mentor for that organization.

Can I be a mentor if I am under 18?

Yes, if you are over 13 years old and have your parent or legal guardian's permission to participate as a mentor for Google Code-in you can register as a mentor.

Your parent or legal guardian will need to sign a special Parental Consent and Waiver and Release (Mentor Participant) form that will be provided after you register.

I am a teacher and would like to talk to my students about Google Code-in. Do you have any promotional or educational materials I can use?

We encourage teachers to use our slide deck and fliers in talks about Google Code-in. These resources can be found on the Media page. You can also contact contest administrators directly.


How do I remove my information from the Google Code-in Archive?

Contact us to have information removed.

How do I find my work?

Use the summary email you receive at the end of the contest to see all the tasks you completed. The archive website has a description of the task and who completed it.

Where are the files I uploaded?

Uploaded files are no longer available for download.