My experience applying for an internship in Mozilla through Outreachy

Carolina Jiménez Gómez
May 23 · 4 min read

Hello everyone, my name is Carolina 👩, I’m from Colombia 🇨🇴 and I was selected to be an intern at Mozilla 🦊, to work in creating a new certificate viewer for Firefox. Today I’m going to tell you all the process I’ve been through so hopefully it will be useful for you to apply too! 🙌

I get to know about Outreachy program through a group in Facebook: Flow. There are lot of people sharing opportunities like this and more useful information for people in tech there. I’m also part of a community (jointDeveloper) where we encourage women to keep in the tech field, and share useful information about opportunities. There are other great communities in Colombia I know, which focus on teaching tech and encouraging people to learn about technology and share great things, these are some: PereiraTT, PereiraJS, Python Pereira, Pioneras Dev, among others. I do an emphasis here because in my opinion being enrolled in communities is key to get to know this opportunities and learn a lot!

Outreachy is a program which provides internships to work in Free and Open Source Software with the guidance of experienced people in their fields. As they say, this opportunity is for anyone who faces under-representation, systemic bias, or discrimination in the technology industry of their country.

The first step you have to do is fill up some information about you and some experience you have faced being in the tech industry 🤔💻. Then, you will be announced if you can keep the application process.

The next step is super important: you have to select the projects you want to work on, and start making contributions to them. In my case, I just wanted to apply to Mozilla, and I saw two interesting projects, but I felt that if I just apply to one I could make more and better contributions than applying to many. So I chose the one that sound more interesting to me.

I know you may feel that you are not good enough, or that is too difficult to contribute to a such big projects, or that there are too many people applying and you will never do it. My advice here is, just try it. I’m not a super developer, and I don’t have enough work experience, is actually my first time contributing to an open source project and the first time people actually use what I code, so as you can see, you don’t need to be an expert to get it. If you think for a moment, there are only advantages on it, if you don’t pass, you will have now some experience contributing to projects, and you will learn how those super cool projects work and what they use to build them. And you will not be alone, the mentors are very helpful!

The most difficult part trying to do contributions to Firefox is to know which files to modify, how to search for them (use searchfox) and understanding what the actual code is doing. In the way you start making contributions it will become easier (but not easy).

To start contributing, do this:

  1. Download and install the repo
  2. Set up Arcanist
  3. Search in Bugzilla for bugs tagged as good-first-bug
  4. Ask if you can solve the bug and ask for mentoring
  5. Solve the problem locally
  6. Push your changes to Phabricator
  7. Wait until your mentor approves your patch and fix what they suggest
  8. Mark the bug as checkin-needed in Bugzilla (you may need some permissions to do this)
  9. Congratulations! You have just submitted a patch which is going to be used by thousands of people!! 🎉🎉

Every time you make a contribution you have to list it in your contributions for that project (you will get the link for that), because with those, you will submit your final application for that project.

The last step to apply to a project is answer other questions about all the process you have gone through the application, and submit your contributions.

After you submit your final application you are encouraged to keep contributing to the project, to increase your possibilities of being selected. 😉

It was a great experience applying for this internship, is pretty cool seeing what is behind Firefox, and the feeling of having some patches landed. I’m very happy for this opportunity and I’ll do my best 😁.

I want to thank Johann Hoffman for being my mentor in my application and helping me so much in this process, I wouldn’t do it without him. Also I want to thank my boyfriend and family for all the love and support, they always believed in me, even when I didn’t. ❤️

Best of luck for everyone who is willing to apply!! 👏

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