A 17-year-old student from Cameroon has become the first African to win the Google Code In contest grand prize.
Collins Nji of Bamenda, an artist and graphic designer when he’s not honing his coding skills, was one of 34 teens from across the globe to achieve the honors. There were 1,340 students from 62 countries who participated in the contest, which is run by Google’s Open Source Program Office for teens aged 13-17.
They all complete real-world tasks to develop their experience, with the lucky winners flying this summer for a four-day visit to Google’s headquarters in the United States.
Mentors from participating organizations “lend a helping hand as participants learn what it’s like to work on an open source project,” the company explains.
Cyprien Tankeu, a developer in Yaoundé who until last June was the first regional mentor for the Google Developers community in Francophone sub-Saharan Africa, responded to the winners’ announcement and identified Collins as the first African to achieve the Google prize.
“I hope that Collins’ success with 2016 Google Code-In Grand Prize will inspire young Cameroonians and Africans to engage more in this kind of challenge,” Tankeu said. He also congratulated mentors in Buea and Yaoundé for their work with Cameroonian students and the community.
That work comes at a difficult time for many in Cameroon, including Collins himself. He had to travel from Bamenda to Bafoussam to submit some of his solutions because of Internet connection disruptions related to the Anglophone protests, but he remained undeterred, according to an AfroHustler story that celebrated Collins’ achievement.