My Journey to Google Summer of Code’18

It was April 23rd, 2018 9:30 PM IST and I sat tensed with my hands shaking waiting for the results. As I refreshed the webpage, I stood there stunned to see that my proposal with The Mifos Initiative was accepted. While my friends were calling to congratulate, I still couldn’t believe that I got selected as a Google Summer of Code Intern this year. I was really happy to gain such a great opportunity for the very first time and it took a lot of time to sink in.

Confirmation Email of Selection into GSoC


Further, I will be talking about the selection phase for Google Summer of Code which led to the beginning of my journey at The Mifos Initiative for the project Self Service User Administrative Portal. But, as this is my first medium article let me introduce myself first.

About Me

Google Multiplex at Mountain View, California

I am a self taught developer and a student from Delhi, India currently in my third year of pursuing B. Tech. in Computer Science from Guru Tegh Bahadur Institute of Technology, Delhi.

Introduced to Computer Science in my early school days, I learnt to use various softwares including Microsoft Office, MicroWorlds Logo and Adobe Illustrator etc. Fascinated with everything a computer could do since then, I developed an interest in coding while learning basics of C++, HTML, CSS and JavaScript in secondary school.

Although I worked in the field of software development using JavaFX for over a year of my college when I got introduced to Java, later last year I decided to change tracks and pursue web development with JavaScript, MongoDB, Express, AngularJS and NodeJS known to the multiverse as the MEAN stack.

The web has evolved a lot beyond just HTML and CSS in the last few years having a vast scope for the future and I am very excited to be a part of it. It has been about 6 months in this field but still I consider myself a beginner.

What is Google Summer of Code?

Summer of Code: Students Apply!

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is an international annual program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development. Open to university students aged 18 or over in most countries, it involves students working with an open source organisation on a three month coding project during their break from school while earning a stipend. This year 1,264 students from 62 countries were accepted into the program to work with 206 open source organisations. Out of this, 605 are from India.

The Beginning

Open Source Logo

I got introduced to the world of Open Source Development about two years ago at the end of my first year. It was the first time I heard about Google Summer of Code while being actively involved with my seniors. Initially I felt scared, hesitant and unprepared to even try to apply for it last year. But this year I decided to be optimistic and with all the strength that my friends gave me gave it a shot, after all even if I wasn’t able to get through this year, it would certainly give me an opportunity to learn more about open source, collaboration and the application process for the future.

Going Further with the Procedure

AngularJS Logo

Learning about NodeJS since about 2 months, I was introduced to AngularJS by one of my friends in November. At the same time, Google had announced the Reskilling India Program in partnership with Pluralsight giving free access to their portal for 60 days. When I applied for it in the web track I saw that we were being given access to the various JavaScript and AngularJS courses there. Being offered this opportunity, I thought it was the right time for me to try and start learning more about AngularJS.

After my examinations as January approached, I was thoroughly involved with the courses at the same time looking for an organisation I could contribute to. One of my seniors had got selected for GSoC by the organisation The Mifos Initiative last year. Inspired by his work and the organisation’s mission, I decided to explore its projects and codebase.

I encountered various AngularJS projects which motivated me to begin my contributions. I joined the developer mailing lists and gitter channels of the organisation so that I could interact with the community and get to know more about them.

About The Mifos Initiative

The Mifos Initiative

The Mifos Initiative’s mission is to speed the elimination of poverty by coordinating a global community that builds, supports, and uses Mifos X, a free and open source platform that enables financial service providers to more effectively and efficiently deliver responsible financial services to the world’s 2 billion poor and unbanked helping them to create a better future for themselves and their family. Their tagline ‘End Poverty — One line of code at a time’ inspires all developers out there, to work together for making the world a better place using open source technologies.

Steps towards getting selected

Organisations are usually announced early in the month of February. Once they were announced, I was elated to see that The Mifos Initiative was selected for this year as well. I started exploring their project ideas and decided to prepare my proposal for the Self Service User Administrative Portal as I saw it fit for a beginner like me. After preparing the draft and getting some feedback from a few people I submitted by final proposal. The organisation mentors also conducted my interview during the review period. And finally on that day when the results were announced and I was selected, I knew my hard work had paid off.

One thing that I’d like to share here is that the earlier one starts contributing the more chances he/she has of getting selected by the organisation as they know you are aware about open source and their codebase and could trust you with their project. Hence, early contributions are the most important criterion of selection.

Project Overview

The online banking and mobile banking app enables clients to create their self-service accounts and interact with their data all by themselves, removing certain dependencies to perform the same operations via the financial institution. Now the need arises to deliver better support to these users from the financial institutions by providing them with a mechanism to properly manage and give necessary assistance to users for carrying out their operations. The self-service user administrative portal project strives to accomplish this, enabling the best utilization of these apps.

You can have a look at my proposal here.

Community Bonding Period and Coding Period

This is the time when the actual work begins, the time when you need to prove that you were worthy of being selected by the organisation. The first few weeks of GSoC is the community bonding period which involves going deeper into interaction with the organisation and your mentor, becoming familiar with the community best practices and processes. And from May 14th, 2018 the coding period has begun. I am looking forward to a great summer wherein I get to enhance my technical knowledge making regular contributions and expanding my network at the same time.

I’ll try to keep everyone updated with my journey with a series of articles, after each monthly evaluation. Till then stay tuned, let the coding begin!

Believe in yourself, keep trying and never give up. You never know what opportunities stand underway!