Whoever Keeps Trying It, Gets It!
I got to know about Outreachy primarily from my seniors and fellow mates. Outreachy is a program that provides 3 months paid internships in Free and Open Source Software for people who are typically underrepresented in those projects. Interns are paid a $5,500 stipend and a $500 travel grant to attend any national or international event related to their project approved by their mentors.
Yeah, I m not a computer science sophomore, and yeah it doesn’t matter at all. All that matters are your interests, hard work, and dedication.
I filled my initial application in late February. It asks you about time commitments, eligibility along with some answers that are reviewed by the Outreachy team. Once your application is approved, you can start picking up projects that you want to work on. I picked two organizations for myself that I found to align the most with my interests namely Ocaml and Perl & Roku. Before the contribution phase, I quickly reviewed some basics of Git (The very first thing that open source requires is Git.)
OCaml is an industrial-strength programming language supporting functional, imperative, and object-oriented styles. Before the program, I had a rough idea about the language, I mostly learned it side by side with the project. My Mentor was extremely supportive and constantly encouraged me to ask questions. In the Ocaml organization, I had four Pull Requests(PR) that were successfully merged and an open PR. I did get some appreciation for the open PR but it wasn’t merged as it was not much relevant to the work that I was assigned. One shouldn’t get disheartened when some of their PRs aren’t merged successfully and should remember all one need is to be persistent.
For the final application, one needs to record their contributions and prepare a timeline for the internship. I discussed the timeline beforehand with my mentor. It is a good idea to keep contributing even after the final application submission as there’s always more to learn and this definitely does increase your chances of getting selected. ;)
Could I BE any happier?
The results were announced on the 4th of May. And yeah I was running all-around my home YOO-HOOING. I got selected by Ocaml for the project: Structured output format for the OCaml compiler messages.
The days are long, but the years are short. A year from now you may wish you had started today!
Feel free to drop me a line. :)