Matthew Kallada has been interested in computers and technology since he was six years old. That passion has turned into an upcoming visit to Google’s headquarters in April.
You could say he’s ecstatic.
“I am really excited to go to Silicon Valley and see Google’s headquarters,” said 17-year-old Kallada from his home in Beechville. “I have been an active Google user almost all my life and to be going to their corporate headquarters is like meeting my childhood hero. I am looking forward to meeting the Google engineers and finding out what it's like working at Google.”
So why is Kallada’s dream coming true? He made it a reality by participating in Google’s 2012 Code-In contest.
He was one of 20 global grand-prize winners, only two of which came from Canada.
“I have been programming as a hobby for a large chunk of my life and I thought I would give the contest a try,” Kallada said, who noted he founded the programming club at his school.
“I knew that my skills were sharp enough for the challenge and I definitely had the motivation to succeed. I knew that this was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up.”
The contest, which aims to introduce 13-17 year old pre-university students to open source software development, ran from November to mid- January.
The contest had 10 open-source organizations participate which provided a list of tasks to be completed by student contestants. Each student worked with one organization and at the end of the competition, each organization picked two winners. There were 2,016 students registered in the program.
“I was really excited, though near the end of the competition, I knew I had a good chance of winning due to the amount of tasks I completed,” Kallada said. “I had completed the most tasks for my organization. There were some other pretty hard working students, which kept me competitive throughout the contest.”
Kallada worked on a project called RTEMS (Real-Time Executive for Multiprocessor Systems), an operating system for embedded boards. RTEMS has been featured in several different projects including space projects such as the Curiosity rover and medical equipment.
Kallada said he worked every day for a few hours completing various tasks. He added that this experience has given him a renewed passion for computer science.
“I am interested in fields that push the current limits of technology such as Biomedical engineering or Artificial Intelligence,” Kallada said. “Fields that can ultimately benefit society. However, I am open to working in any field, where I can use my skills effectively and productively.”
Matthew Kallada’s Advice to prospective coders:
“Motivation definitely plays a key role in success, especially in computer science. You need to work relentlessly to refine your skills and keep up with the new technologies. Learning how to program can be a somewhat boring at first, but like any field, you need to climb up the mountain to see the view.”