Summer of Code: Why IT Should Take Note

By | May 30, 2012

Google's Summer of Code kicked off this week, and though it caters to college students, it definitely isn't child's play. The program, started in 2005, brings students from all over the world and pairs them with mentors to help them write open source code for participating organizations. Mentor organizations are accepted first, and then students have a small time frame to propose projects they would like to work on. If the the student's code is accepted, she is given a $5,000 stipend, which is paid in increments. While the money is nice, the program also gives eager, young developers the chance to form relationships with companies they may want to get hired by post-graduation. It isn't just the students who benefit. In the past, the program has helped improve everything from operating systems to add-ons. This year's projects focus on projects for Drupal, Wikimedia, Mozilla, and Twitter.

Forr years, the program has been a bit of a boy's club, according to WebProNews/ Developer, this year saw 8.3 percent of the accepted applicants identify themselves as women. The sheer number of applicants also grew, with Google accepting 1,212 students from a pool of almost 6,000. This larger, slightly more diverse pool of students shows that the next generation's interest in working in the field of technology is only growing stronger. That said, while big name companies like the ones mentioned above are participating in the 2012 session, this year Google made an attempt to attract smaller companies as well. Innovation isn't just coming out of big corporations anymore; smaller tech companies are also making their mark, especially with app development.

Why should IT at a midsize business take note of what looks to be a well-paid summer internship? Over the next 12 weeks, these student participants are hopefully going to develop solutions to make IT's life easier. Programs include open source coding projects that can be used with content management software, improving network cloud administrators, creating applications for Android phones that aid in streamlining the use of programs like LibreOffice, and revising Gmail integration in Thunderbird. There is no doubt that several of the 180 projects on deck could solve current conundrums IT pros are facing. Webmonkey confessed to keeping its eye on Metalink's projects geared toward improving the download capabilities for Firefox and Chrome.

Google Summer of Code is also a great place for recruiters to find their next batch of hires. It's no secret Google uses the program to clock potential fits for their growing global corporation. The program attracts the cream of the crop, with participants from top universities around the world. Midsize businesses looking for smart, savvy young hires may want to take note of who's doing what at the program. As they say, "the future is closer than you think."

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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