Do you want Coder Artists or Working Dogs? – Google’s Summer of Code Contest finds out

Google again engages in acquiring new talent the other way round with a contest for all IT students in the Google Code: Summer of Code

I already enjoyed, back in summer 2003 Google’s Code Jam as a recruiting innovation and have since not seen any really big players to follow…
The Summer of Code is Google’s program designed to introduce students to the world of open source software development.

This summer, don’t let your programming skills lie fallow. Use them for the greater good of open source software and computer science. Google will provide a $4500 award to each student who successfully completes a project by the end of the summer.

They not only benchmark your technical skills but also your soft skills to commit to a project in a time schedule, IMHO> one of the most important skills of any worked, let alone a programmer - who ALWAYS can find ways to introduce more work and length into a task by improving code, refactoring code, just working with it’s masterpiece… and I agree, being a coder myself - improving your code, making it pretty and working even better is a very nice work - you can do that work weeks without deadlines or the skill to just make it fit at 99%.

Google put up a

Google Code Discussions list
Mentoring Program where big OpenSource entities shall support the applicants (and probably also provide good feedback on their skills for future hires - and they get $500 for that

Be able to tell us about the developer, how they worked with the group, if they should be invited back should we do another summer of code, etc..

Again this is a fantastic large scale recruiting project and altough I had no time to research about Google Code winner Yarin from 2003, I am sure it paid for him and Google.

I wish I would have access to similar recruiting data for my own projects to pick only the cherries 🙂