Are you excited by solving a challenge designed by a Google engineer? Are you interested in potentially becoming a Google engineer, too? If the answer is yes, then please join us… for Kickstart 2017!

Kickstart 2017, a Code Jam competition, is a series of six online rounds of algorithmic quizzes — all designed by Google engineers. From your own home, you’ll have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the programming skills needed for a technical career at Google, while at the same time showing off your own talents. The top participants from each round may be invited to interview for a role at Google.

Sound familiar? This was formerly known as the APAC University Test. But this year’s competition is bringing you more than a new name. We’re excited that Kickstart has even more rounds of online quizzes and is open to any student across the Asia-Pacific region.

Here’s how to join us

Register today

Round A will be held on Sunday, March 5.

View the preferred dates / times for each quiz.


Learn more about the competition… and start preparing:

Check out our website for Terms and Conditions, FAQs, and more.

Review the “Getting Started” Guide and take a look at past problems.

For any additional questions please contact the Code Jam Kickstart Team at

For students in Singapore, the school that has the most registrants by Round 1 (Mar 5) will get to receive prizes! We’ll send a prize for every student registered from that school, so help spread the word to your peers and classmates!

Happy holidays!

Are you free this Saturday (4 Feb) morning for a workshop about Git? It is the most popular tool for project collaborations.

You will need it not only for Orbital, but also many other modules and projects in future. It is really “One stone, Many birds”!

For more details, please refer to the poster below.


Happy holidays!

We have received a few questions about the programme so we would like to answer them here for your information:

Q1. When does the registration start?

Registration starts in early March. We will make an announcement here once the system is ready.

Q2. I am not an SoC student, may I still register for Orbital?

Yes. Although this program mainly caters for year one SoC student, we do have quota for any NUS students. Please go ahead to register when registration starts.

Q3. Are there any fees for taking part in the programme?

No. Although you are to work on your project during summer, the module credits will be given to you next semester, as if you are taking the module then. Therefore, you do not need to pay any fees for the summer.

Q4. Can the module credits be counted towards something other than unrestricted electives (UE)?

No, unfortunately. However, in the past, many students took Orbital for the experience even though they did not need the module credit.

We will be coming to your lecture next week (Week 2) to give you a brief introduction of what Orbital is about and answer your questions about the programme!

The current schedule of the roadshows is as follows:

Jan 17:
CS1020, CS2010, CS1010, CS1020E and CS1010E

Jan 18:
CS1231 and CS1010S

Jan 20:

Look forward to meeting you at the roadshows!

– Jin (Orbital Coordinator)

[Summary: Go to to fill in your slot availability if you want to interview for 2017 Orbital staff]

There will be another round of interviews for Orbital staff at the beginning of the new semester.

If you are interested in helping out in Orbital 2017 as an advisor and/or a tutor, please use the Doodle poll above to sign up for an interview.

For the details of the positions, please refer to the previous post.

[Summary: Go to to fill in your slot availability if you want to interview for 2017 Orbital staff]

Congratulations again to all of the Orbital 2016 graduates.  It’s now your turn to go beyond Earth orbit and be a part of the team to help the next 2017 Orbital cohort accomplish their project goals.

We are currently starting our recruitment drive for Advisers and Tutors, the two roles that you as Orbital alumni are eminently qualified for:

Advisers act as peer assessors and cheerleaders for teams taking Orbital — you all had the experience of being under their wing this past summer.  Here’s your chance to shine and contribute back to your juniors.

Tutors act as the primary instructor for a mission control session or a Liftoff session.  This means you are in control of teaching a particular subject for about an hour.  If you wanted to level up on public speaking and technical tutorials, this is your opportunity. You don’t have to be an expert to teach — anyone can do it if they’re committed, and you can always answer the tough questions offline.

We are going to be holding interviews primarily at the beginning of the vacation and the new semester. If you wish to be interviewed for either / both positions, please visit the Doodle form and sign up for an interview slot. If you are interested but unable to make it for the slots given in the Doodle form, please contact me directly via email ( to arrange for an interview.

Look forward to hearing from you!

– Jin (Orbital Coordinator)


– I’m going on NOC, can I participate?

– I’m planning to take a full-time internship, can I participate?

– I’m not going to be around SG this coming summer, can I participate?

The answer to these three questions is all the same: Yes for advisers, please apply.  You may know that some advisers were not local during your cohort as well.  The job can be done entirely remotely from NUS.  That said, applicants who are local and who do physically participate in the activities will generally bond better with their teams (unsurprisingly).

– How much money can I expect to earn as a staff member?

The monetary remuneration for doing either job is small, but the bragging rights and the additional job you can list on your CV/resume will hopefully make it worthwhile (aside from the intrinsic goodness of helping your fellow SoCian!).

Photo credits from: Zig Ziglar @ Flickr

Congratulations to all of the 147 Orbitee teams for completing the programme!  You’re the big winners in forming your own projects and navigating through all the summer hazards to finish your projects.  No doubt that you had wanted to call it quits at some point and wanted to have someone to help guide you a bit more closely.  But you persevered, insisted that you would stay the course, and won the battle against yourself.  You realised the only barrier to your progress was yourself and the fuel was your self-ignited passion.  You return from your summer journey changed, more confident of your own abilities and clear about how you can find your path forward in any technical scenario.

Splashdown featured a number of ways that you can take your work in Orbital forward, which both SoC (through our Entrepreneurship office) and the University (NUS Enterprise, especially NUS Overseas Colleges) have paved for you.  Do weigh these opportunities and assess whether they are appropriate for you.

And now for the formal awards:

  • For Vostok:
    Congratulations to Kabir Khandpur and Gupta Varun of Blue Circle Co. (Winners); Loh Zi Bin Robin and Huang Jifen of O(my god) (Honorable Mention)

    For Project Gemini:
    Congratulations to Jaipal Singh Khaira and Wu Tingfeng of RainyWhether (Winners); Kwok Jun Kiat and Tan Jun Kiat of JFK (Honorable Mention)

    For Apollo 11:
    Congratulations to Ng Yong Sheng and Chan Yu Feng of No Break, No Brake  (Winners); Ngin Yun Chuan and Conan Kian Jia Ren of DARTHWHALE (Honorable Mention)

    and for Best Advisers:
    Bay Chuan Wei, Candiie and Harish Venkatesan (both advisers to eight teams)

Although you are the stars of Orbital (yes, you are!), there’s a whole host of SoC 24 advisers, 20+ industrial and alumni mentors, staff, building facilities, A/V, alumni, senior students and student groups and the tireless admin staff from the Undergraduate Office and Corporate Relations that make this happen.  This programme does not happen anywhere else in the whole currently, so be proud that you are here in NUS SoC.  Go SoC!

– Orbital Staff


Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 11.52.30 am

This is it!  Wednesday’s the big event — Splashdown — the capstone to your project!

Splashdown is separated into poster sessions, held back to back, in SR1 (Seminar Room 1) and lobby.  Roughly half of the teams will be presenting in the first session and half in the second session.  When your team is not presenting, it’s your chance, privilege and responsibility to go scout out the other projects and talk with your peers about their experience.  After all, you’d like to share (complain?) about how much time you wasted trying to figure out that small bug that was actually absurdly simple, so perhaps you’d like to hear your peers other stories?

We hope you have had an epiphany during your summer self-study and found Computing really the right choice for you and your life path.  Perhaps you’re really fired up about your project and want to know more about how to take it further, or have an even better idea for your next project? During Splashdown, there will be a few short talks by NUS Overseas Colleges, and the Entrepreneurship unit of our school, that are on relevant “where to go from here, life after Orbital” topics.  Oh, yeah – did we mention there are like a ton of ongoing hackathons that you could also participate in?

Some tips for a good re-entry and Splashdown (your results may vary):

– Make sure you eat a good evening meal and have a water bottle for drinking.  It gets noisy and chaotic with 200+ people all talking in one place!

– Do print out your posters early.  It will be busy and you should try to get your posters done early.  If you do them today, you can drop them off at the “poster locker” in the Undergraduate Office (COM1 #02-19).  Ask Ms Rachel Lim, or Mrs Kwek to help you place the posters in the right area for pickup.  We will deliver all of the posters we receive to SR1 on Wednesday afternoon around 17:30 (yes, the whole 30m away from the UG office — you’re welcome!)

– Do check the layout of the session right before Splashdown.  We are still shifting poster slots around due to last-minute changes.  Consult the printed posters as they will be the definitive version — we may not have time to update the website on Wednesday.

– Make sure to practice your pitch and presentation, even having a way to show your off your products — small leaflets or QR codes with reminders (with project IDs) can be helpful.  Also, no one looked bad by dressing up a bit for these types of events (we will be taking pictures!  Hope you’ll put your selfies on Facebook and link them back to the Splashdown FB page — we have one, didn’t you know?).  There will be some first year students coming to Splashdown (Aaron advertised it to CS1231), so you can also chat with them to tell them about your lessons learned — and tell them to take Orbital

– You will be receiving your voter ID tomorrow either by email (most likely) or at the registration desk.  You will need to take note of this for tomorrow’s best project voting.  Keep an eye out for it.  You will need your smartphone (or stop by the registration desk) to do the voting.  Please do it to keep our event lively!   Note down the projects you think are worthy of being crowned best of Vostok, Project Gemini or Apollo 11.  There will be public voting to determine the best project for each of the three levels of achievement.  Public voting is done by you, your peers, any guests (you can and should invite some friends to come boost for your project) and staff.  Staff and staff guests’ votes figure a bit more in the final tally, but much of the prize determination is done by all of you!  So get ready to sell your project to guests — it’s also a chance for you to make good on your communication skills (after all it’s got a bit in common with a job interview).  We’ll be sending you a voter ID on the day of Splashdown so that you can weigh in on which teams projects are the best in class.  Google Singapore will be supplying the prizes and is subsidizing the poster printing, so please go thank them when you see them in person at Splashdown!

– Do reciprocate that effort — take the session you’re not in to look around and to see what your other teams have been able to do.  Say “Hi” to your peer teams that you may have only known virtually and give them a boost too for this final run.

– By default, your name, level of achievement, and project team and the link for your final project video will be captured and made public on the Skylab web app, but if you don’t want it to be captured up there, please send Min (‘knmnyn’ on Slack) a DM; we’ll be happy to take it down.  If you have a LinkedIn or other social media account and would like to be endorsed for specific skills — by default it would be Google App Engine and Python — also send an invitation to us so that we can eventually (in a few weeks after Splashdown) do this for you.

That is all.  Houston, out.

As part of Splashdown (coming soon, 24 Aug, Wednesday 18:00-21:00), you’ll all will be reviewing and seeing your peers’ projects in person at the event.  To facilitate this final part, you’ll need to create a A1-sized poster for the event, detailing the highlights about your Orbital experience that you like to share with your buddies and industrial guests.

The details for the poster session are on the Splashdown page, but we’ve repeated it here for your convenience!

Splashdown is structured as two back-to-back poster sessions with a final oral session and awards session; see the schedule below.  Orbital teams will be assigned to one of two sessions to present their work.  During each of the two poster sessions, each team will be presenting their work via a A1 sized poster that they will have to prepare and print (pre-paid for you at SoC Technical Services).

18:00-18:55 Poster Session 1
18:55-19:05 Changeover
19:05-20:00 Poster Session 2
20:00-20:30 Invited Talks 

  • NUS Overseas Colleges
  • SoC Enterpreneurship
20:30-21:00 Awards Ceremony and Group Phototaking

Splashdown will also feature peer voting for best projects.  During the poster sessions, take note of which other teams you think did the best projects and vote for their project electronically using your smart phone or tablet. We’ll tally your votes and announce the winner at the end of Splashdown at the awards ceremony.  Guests (first years, and seniors) are also welcomed to attend and will need to register for the event to be given voting privileges; see the Splashdown page soon, when that information is updated.  Google SG has kindly sponsored some prizes for the very best projects, as voted by all of you and our observers.

Below you can find the current (6 Aug) mapping from team names to poster sessions / locations.  These are subject to change, but basically each EG is assigned to one session and co-located to be near each other.

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 12.04.11 PM

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I figure out my project ID?
A: It’s your poster session (1 or 2), followed by your poster board’s location.  For example, Copyleft’s project ID is 103 (Session 1, Location 03); O.W.L. is 232 (Session 2, Location 32).  Project IDs are three digits, with your poster board location’s number padded to two digits.

Q: What should the contents of the poster be about?
A: Great question! It’s up to you. Probably you want to differentiate your project from others, so if you are doing a Python/GAE project for example, most of the cohort will already be familiar with (some of) the technical aspects. You could discuss the motivation, testing, the documentation and libraries used.  If you have the application on a smartphone, laptop or tablet, you may also want to demo your working application (hiding the bugs, of course).

Remember that Google SG is giving away prizes to best project, where you (and us) have voting privileges to help determine the winners, so whatever you want to do to curry favor with your peers is a-ok (within NUS policy, of course). You’ll find that marketing is a very big key for technology acceptance in the real world, anyways.  You can check out similar poster sessions at the STePS events, done by your seniors:

for ideas on content.

Q: How large should our posters be?
A: Your poster should be A1 sized (841 x 594 mm).

Q: Should I mount my poster in portrait or landscape format?
A: Both are possible. The poster board mounts are 1x1m.

Q: What will the presentation stations for each project consist of?
A: We will be able to guarantee each project a side of a posterboard, large enough to mount an A1 sized poster on. Most projects will have to share a grey 1 m console table with another project, as space and the availability of console tables makes them limited resources.  The facilities team may also instead provision a blue student examination table to each project, at their discretion.  Power outlets will generally not be available, so as such, please come with any electronic devices (phone, laptop) charged if possible and be courteous and relinquish your power supply to other teams who need to recharge their depleted power. You can see a picture of some of the setups for a similar event a few years here.

Q: When do we have to be there to set up?
A: Presenters in the first session can set up their posters as soon as the space is open.    Presenters for the second session set up when the first session takes down at the in-between session break.  Please take down your posters and clear your station after your poster session.  Note that you may have provide your own mounting tape and pins for the posterboard.  Please do dispose/recycle posters properly.

Q: Do we have to do on-site registration? If so, when should I do it?
A: Only external guests should come to the registration desk (near the entrance of SR1) during registration 17:30 to 18:00 to pick up your Voter ID for the evening. You’ll need to keep track of what 3 projects you think are the best to vote on, so that’s why you need your Voter ID.  Project team members should receive a voter ID by email from Min.  Members of your project team can take turns going to the other projects to grade and see what else is out there that’s cool and worth knowing about.

Q: When can we print our posters?
A: Anytime between now (6 Aug) and 24 August.  Be aware it takes time for the posters to print and that each team is only sponsored 1 A1 sized poster, to be printed at Technical Services in COM 1 Level 1 (if you need to re-print, you’ll have to pay on your own).  We strongly encourage you to print early, no later than the 22nd, due to potential queues during the 23th.

Q: Is it possible to release the voter IDs in advance so as to include the ID into the poster design?
A: The voter IDs are what you use for voting for best projects. The project ID is the number that uniquely identifies your project number. They will be posted on the poster board itself so that everyone can identify projects uniformly, in the same manner.

However, if you wish to still repeat the project ID on your poster you’re welcomed to. The Splashdown page will soon list the project ID. Basically it corresponds to the position of the poster board where you’ll be presenting, prefixed by a ‘1’ or ‘2’ for which poster session you’ll be in (see earlier question and answer in FAQ).

Q: Must the contents on A1 poster be printed or can we draw/paste stuff on it?  Can we just take a blank piece of A1 paper from the technical services without printing?
A: Anything goes!  You can do whatever you want with your one piece of A1 quota (sponsored by Google!). Be creative! It’ll be attached to a poster board so it shouldn’t be too heavy or break the center of gravity with the poster on the other side (there’s another team presenting on the back).
If you want to just take a single sheet without printing, our advice is to buy your own sheet of A1 paper, so that if you want to print color things to paste to the sheet, you can still print a A1 sized paper to cut out/collage/etc. for later.

The A1 sized paper offer is for Splashdown only and will not be available to you (even if you don’t use it) after 24 August, Wednesday.  Theoretically you can use the A1 for anything you want if you don’t use it for Orbital (e.g., printing K-pop boy/girl band poster for your dorm room), but we’ll have to the accounts after 24 August, Monday, so print soon. Though tech services might be wondering how it’s related…

Q: Will our posters be vetted first before printing?
A: Thanks for your question! No, we do not intend to vet your posters. We trust that you will exercise prudence in printing content on your posters. They will be viewable by the general public — so please do not put anything controversial on the posters (profanity, personal information, etc.).  If in doubt, feel free to ask us directly via email.

Q: What prizes will be awarded during Splashdown?
A: Actually, you’ve already won the best prize of all — self-confidence and the ability to find and use technical information on the web to accomplish tasks.  But since you asked: Google has sponsored prizes for the top three teams.  Min has checked them out and they are ** n i c e **.  Up your game and work on your soft skills to best promote your project to your peers and to the invitees that will attend the Splashdown event.