Blog

Call for Code® 2019

Creating and deploying open source technologies to tackle some of the world's biggest challenges

With the deadline for the Call for Code 2019 Global Challenge rapidly approaching (it’s Monday, July 29th at 11:59pm PDT), I have three last minute tips and a checklist to review before you submit your entry.

In the week before the deadline, we’ll also have a Twitch livestream session with additional tips and office hours to help you make your submission the best it can be. You can also ask questions on the IBM Coder forums or on Slack. You can join both communities by signing up to accept the Call for Code challenge.

cfc 2019 challenge

Tip No. 1 – Clearly map your solution to a real problem

Remember, the central goal of this year’s Call for Code Challenge is to find high-quality, sustainable solutions to disaster preparedness, response, and relief with an emphasis on the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Make sure your entry describes the real world problem — informed by a solid understanding of what domain experts have shared in these tech talks and elsewhere — that your application solves.

As one of the four key judging criteria, your submission will be scored based on your creativity and innovation of course, but make it clear why your technological solution is an effective and appropriate remedy, and please ensure that it doesn’t end up adding to the problem!

Tip No. 2 – Quickly describe how your solution is unique

This tip comes from Raj Singh, the tech area lead for the traffic and weather topic. Make your solution really compelling and point to how you differentiate your work from others. Assume there are teams working on a similar solution and you have a limited time to make yours stand out.

Don’t pitch your work as something all-encompassing and generic, like “A Platform for Disasters,” and instead focus on how well you are solving the specific problem you identified in a complete, creative, effective, and usable manner.

The most powerful way to get your idea across quickly, and one that will have an impact on the different types of judges — the technical judges, the NGO judges, the eminent judges — is a compelling video. Leave the deep-dive material and full implementation details in your 500-world solution description, source-code repository, and solution roadmaps.

Tip No. 3 – Thoroughly document your solution and code repository

And speaking of that deep-dive material, what ties your submission together is a consistent story across your submission entry. That includes a quality demonstration in your video, a clear roadmap describing the vision for what you’ve built, and a well-documented source code repository (which can contain additional diagrams and installation steps).

One of the best ways to show how complete and effective your project is, and how it can be explored by the judges in a hands-on manner, is to create a great README file in your source code repository. A quick web search can help you find a lot of tips. Look for “readme best practices” to find a few tutorials. You can also think about embedding your video or other visuals that illustrate the application in depth.

A submission checklist

Carefully review this list before you submit your final application. You can save your in-progress drafts, but you can’t edit your submission afterwards. The judges will likely be unable to contact you directly to point out permissions issues or ask follow-up questions.

Gathering team information

Designate a single leader who will fill out the submission form on behalf of the team.

  • Confirm that this is the one project everyone has agreed to submit.
  • Collect teammate email addresses that are well-monitored for judging notifications.
  • Ensure everyone has reviewed and accepted the Participation Agreement.

Preparing your high-level pitch and solution detail

Review the competition scope.

  • Review the competition rules.
  • Review the competition judging criteria.
  • Clearly map your solution to a real problem.

Creating your 3-minute video pitch

Quickly describe how your solution is unique.

  • Make sure you show a demo of your working code.
  • Provide a vision for how your solution can make an impact when it is deployed.
  • Upload your video and mark it public (for example, on YouTube) or include the password with the link.

Configuring your source code repository

Thoroughly document your solution and code repository in its README, or similar file(s).

  • Make your GitHub repo public, or invite @call-for-code-judges as an outside collaborator.
  • Don’t publish credentials. Provide them with the submission form or provide setup steps for the judges.
  • If you have more than one repo, point to the parent folder rather than submitting a comma-separated list.

Completing your submission form

Upload your solution roadmap in any format you wish that describes your project maturity.

  • List the IBM Cloud services you used. No need to list any other supporting services (e.g., GoogleMaps, TravisCI, data.gov).

Other helpful tips