Cubans Compete for the First Time in the Google Programmers Contest

Until now, Cuba was not included in Google’s registration categories for competitions and certifications. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 6 April 2018 — Cubans have until this Friday to register for the worldwide Code Jam programmers contest organized by Google. This year, for the first time, the contest has included coders on the Island among its contestants. The contest final will be held in August in Canada.

Brett Perlmutter, Google’s director of Strategy and Operations for Cuba, made the announcement through his Twitter account and said it was “a pleasure” that Code Jam was finally “open to Cuban contestants.”

Perlmutter expressed his enthusiasm that “for the first time, the world will be able to see the capabilities of Cuban scientists and programmers,” a possibility that did not exist until now, because the Island was not included in Google’s registration categories for competitions and certifications.

The registration period closes this Friday, April 6, when the qualification rounds will be held. To compete in the contest, the contestants must be connected from their respective countries, a challenge for Cubans who live in one of the nations with the lowest rate of internet connectivity.

Among the biggest stimuli of the contest promoted by Google is the unique prize of $15,000, and the chance to travel to Canada for the final.

In Cuba there is a vibrant community of application developers and in February 2017 the Android Developer’s Club was launched, sponsored by the government Cuban Informatics Union (UIC).

However, most of those who devote themselves to developing these utilities on the island prefer to work independently and seek contracts directly with foreign companies, which offer computer engineers and programmers better salaries than they can receive from state employment.

The vast majority of national applications are dedicated to promoting new business in the private sector and providing information about traveling within the Island.

Tools such as Alamesa, KeHayPaHoy, 100 Logos of Cuba, HabanaTrans, Qvacall or La Chopi are the best known. Many of them have been developed to work without an internet connection, a way to avoid the high prices of the connection to the web that remain at 1 CUC per hour (roughly $1 US in a country where salaries top out for most state workers at about $30 a month).


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