Nji Collins, a 17 years old Cameroonian student, has been named a grand prize winner of Google Code-in 2016, a global online contest introducing teenagers (ages 13 to 17) to the world of open source.
A yearly event, Google Code-in requires participants to solve a wide variety of bite-sized tasks. The 2016 edition saw 1,340 students from 62 countries applying and completing an impressive 6,418 tasks.
On January 30, 2017, the winners of the contest were announced by 17 open source organizations, with Nji Collins named among the grand prize winners, making him the first Cameroonian, African and black to win the contest.
Collin’s feat is even more remarkable considering he didn’t have access to the Internet (as a result of the government’s Internet ban in the English-speaking region of Cameroon) during the course of the contest.
Collins, who was an Upper Sixth student at the Government Bilingual High School, Bamenda, had to make the trip, notwithstanding the risks, to nearby Bafoussam to submit his solution for the contest.
“When GCI started I was anxious and nervous to some extend… I had to find ways to turn my nervousness into creativity and fun. Participating was super exciting and really exhausting, and at the end, I discovered that I gained a whole new level of experience in the Open source world,” said Collins.
Nji Collins, together with the other grand prize winners, will visit Google campus for four days this summer to meet with Google engineers and enjoy the Bay Area.