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17-Year-Old Becomes First Black Student to Win Google Hacking Competition

Collins Nji

Collins Nji

In 2016, during a comptition Google Code-In, Google rewarded hackers more than $3 million in 2016 for reporting vulnerabilities in the tech giant’s software and devices. At just 17 years old, Collins Nji from Cameroon was the first Black student to win the competition.

Every year, Google runs a competition for pre-university students between the ages of 13 to 17 where students are given a variety of tasks to hack open source software. It’s a vulnerability reward program that helps the company ensure their software is hack-proof. Collins enrolled and participated in the program and won the competition as the international Grand Prize Winner for 2016.

Against all odds
During the competition, the government of Cameroon had banned Internet connections from the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon for political reasons. So, Collins had to travel from his hometown of Bamenda to Bafoussam, 38 miles away, to submit his solutions and then return to Bamenda to continue working. In spite of the risk, he persisted.

Now he will have an opportunity to travel to Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, where he will meet the Google Open Source team and other members of the Google Software Engineering team. He will also have the opportunity to meet other hackers from all over the world for an intense week of intellectual and cultural exchange.

Collins expressed his excitement by saying, “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.”

For more details about the Google Codein competition, visit https://codein.withgoogle.com

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