Google Code-In is a yearly hacking competition organized by Google and for the 2016 edition, the Grand Prize Winner for the competition is Collins Nji. Collins also happens to be the first Black and the first African to win this competition.
Collins participated in this competition at a very bad time. He lives in Bamenda, Cameroon, and during the period of the competition, the government of Cameroon had banned internet connections from the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon for political reasons, leaving businesses and students stranded. However, Collins prevailed over such limitations by enrolling, participating and winning the competition as the international Grand Prize Winner.
The Google Code-In is a competition for Pre-university students aged between 13 to 17 where students are given a variety a variety of bite-sized tasks to hack open source software.
With the crippling Internet shutdown which occurred in the English Cameroons for some weeks now; Collins Nji a 17 year-old Upper Sixth student at the Government Bilingual High School Bamenda succeeded in emerging as the first Black and African Grand Prize Winner for the Google Code-In 2016 contest.
Collins a product of the Silicon Mountain tech ecosystem was particularly affected by the Internet blockade imposed by the Cameroon Government. He was forced to travel to nearby Bafoussam to submit his solutions and return to Bamenda to continue working despite the risks involved.
On January 30th Google announced the winners of this year’s contest; Collins is the first African to have won this competition. As a result, he will be traveling to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA to meet the Google Open Source team and other members of the Google Software Engineering team for a tour of Silicon Valley finest.
He will have the opportunity to meet other like-minded hackers from all over the world for an intense week of intellectual and cultural exchange.
With the damaging effects of the Internet shutdown in the English Cameroons during the past few months Collins Nji’s performance is laudable and we highly encourage all English speaking Cameroonians to be inspired by example. In his own words “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.