About My Outreachy Internship With Mozilla

On May 4th 2017, I was accepted as an Outreachy Intern at Mozilla. Since then, I have successfully completed my internship, attended two work weeks hosted by Mozilla, been an active, everyday contributor to Firefox and received an offer to be a Summer 2018 Intern at Mozilla’s Mountain View office. In this blog post, I talk about my experience with the application process of the Outreachy Internship Program, the internship itself and more.

Before I begin, here’s a link if you want to read more about the Outreachy Program.

How did I get to know about the Outreachy Program?
I got to know about the Outreachy Program in December 2015 from a couple of friends from college. I was in my first year of college and I had this urge to just DO something with all the free time I had during the week. So I reached out to this guy from my college, on Facebook, who’s now a very dear friend to me, after reading an answer he wrote about GSoC on Quora. From him, I learned about Outreachy and when the applications opened for Summer 2017, he urged me to apply for it and so I did.
What did I find most challenging about the application process?
The applications for the Outreachy Program expect aspiring interns to make a small contribution to a relevant FOSS project as an eligibility criteria. So halfway through March, 20 days before the application deadline, I anxiously set out to fix my first bug on Firefox. When I look back at it, I think that the most challenging part of my application process was that I had to pick an organization and a project to work on. I was inexperienced and didn’t know what to pick. In the end, I chose the project that I later got to work on as a part of my internship, simply because that was the only project with a description I understood and I felt I could do it.

What did I do during the application process?
I emailed the mentor, got myself assigned to a very simple bug and sent in a quick patch. From then on, I kept in touch with my mentor on IRC and solved a series of many small bugs with his help up until the day I was accepted. I feel like my goal at that point was to do more than just the bare minimum of submitting a single patch to become eligible. At some point in April, I remember thinking to myself that, even if I don’t get accepted in the end, all the effort I was putting into learning to contribute to Firefox was going to be worth it. I clearly knew that I was going to continue to contribute code to Firefox for a long time no matter the outcome.

What was it like to get accepted?
When I think back to that day, I remember how important it was to me that I get accepted as an Outreachy Intern. I had been sitting on the couch idly for about four hours waiting, when I finally got to know that I was accepted. Honestly, I was just relieved and happy.

How was my internship experience?
My internship experience was nothing short of amazing. No, seriously. I loved everything about my simple, beginner friendly project, Mozilla, Firefox and most of all, my amazing mentor and the people at Mozilla, so much so that I decided to just hang around as a volunteer even after my internship ended. I feel like I have learned so much since then. 
Later that summer, I even got a chance to attend Mozilla’s All Hands Meeting in San Francisco and that definitely helped me get a better idea about the company and the people I worked with, which was great.

What did I like most about my internship?
I feel like I gained a lot from this internship. I learned how to collaborate with others on a large open source project, learned how to write code with good practices and most importantly, I learned not to be afraid at all to ask questions, thanks to my mentor who was super patient and very kind to me. Having a mentor like that and being able to learn by asking any questions I had, without any fear of judgement, is what I liked most about my internship.

What did I do after my internship ended?
As I had previously planned, I continued volunteering my time to Firefox. While it was my Outreachy project that introduced me to everything and taught me how to be a good contributor, I believe it was what I did after my internship ended, that has extended my education. I now contribute to Firefox on most days and the amount of knowledge and experience I have gained from it is unbelievable. I’d like to recognize the efforts of Johann here(my mentor from the Outreachy project) who has helped me learn so much and grow as a developer everyday. Thank you, Johann.

What I’m most looking forward to

I’m most looking forward to my internship with Mozilla this summer in their Mountain View office. Until then, I’d like to keep up with my contributions as a volunteer for the next two months and continue learning everyday.

Thank you for reading till the end.

Before I end my post here, I’d also like to extend my thanks to the organizers of the Outreachy Program, the Outreachy coordinators at Mozilla and friends who told me about this program and encouraged me to apply. Thank you!