The Google Open Source Program is announcing a new outreach effort, aimed at 13- to 18-year-old students around the world. Google Code-in will operate in a similar fashion to Google's Summer of Code, giving students the opportunity to work in open-source projects.

Google Code-in will match students to mentoring organizations and will give them a chance to do real-world development on open source projects. Tasks for participating students can include writing code, creating documentation, training others, testing code, UI research and design, and community outreach.

For each task successfully completed, students will receive $100, up to a maximum of $500. And all the students participating in the program will compete for a grand prize - an all-expenses paid trip for the student and a family member to visit the Google campus.

Building Future Programmers, Building the Open Source Community

With a world that is increasingly reliant on computer technology, encouraging students to explore programming is crucial. But a recently released report by the Computer Science Teachers Association reveals a marked decline in the number of computer science classes offered in U.S. schools, as well as a lack of standards governing what should be taught at the K-12 level.

Google Code-in recognizes that encouraging young students to try their hand at programming is important, as is introducing them to mentors in the field. According to Carol Smith, open source program manager, "We've discovered from our experience with Google Summer of Code that getting students involved in coding and open source development needs to start early."

Google Code-in is designed to help pique students' interest in computers and technology, but as Smith notes, "it also reaches out to those students who may not think they're interested in coding per se, as it offers them 8 different types of tasks they can work on for our mentoring organizations including coding, documentation, QA, outreach, research, training, translations, and user interface design."

Applications for the contest will open November 22.