GSoC — (Dis)assembled
On 6th September 2018, Adarsh and Sharan, 2 among the 4 students from Govt. Model Engineering College, Thrikkara to have the privilege to do GSoC, conducted an awareness-cum-training class on how to apply for GSoC, to prep us for GSoC 2019. (Wait, do I sound too formal? Never mind, it’s just me, and it’s my first blog :D).
First off, What is GSoC?
Google Summer of Code, aka GSoC, is a global program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development. Students work with an open source organization on a 3-month programming project during their break from school/college.
FOSSMEC team (the open source community of MEC) had been planning on conducting this for about a month.
All of us eagerly assembled after class to hear their experiences on being part of GSoC; get advice, understand the strategies that they’d adopted, and learn the tactics to be kept in mind during the hunt for organizations, proposals to the different organizations.
Adarsh (who got to intern at CloudCV) was the first person to share his experience. He explained what GSoC was, the reason behind such an opportunity (promoting more students to get into open source). He was followed by Sharan (who got to intern at BRL-CAD), who spoke about how he’s passionate about designing, and was in touch with his Google Code-in mentors (of the same organization) since 2011.
What I hadn’t known:
#1. Most organizations that participate in this programme almost always do.
#2. Contributions can be made even before you get selected.
#3. It’s very important to contribute before the applying.
#4. There’s still time to contribute between the submission of proposal and the announcement of results. (And it’s important to keep contributing)
#5. We could ask the mentors, or in general anyone from the organizations, the areas in which they need help with.
#6. It’s important demonstrate perennial interest in the organization.
#7. The proposals could be modified.
I realized some of the biggest mistakes I’d made:
#1. Not submitting a proposal, even though I registered (Lack of self-confidence: I believed I didn’t know enough, that I’d not contributed anything to any project, so the impostor syndrome took the better of me, and I’d discarded my proposal). What I didn’t know was that there was still time to contribute (and I was too lazy to cook up a proposal :|).
#2. Not ditching Windows yet: Windows is awesome, it does everything for you without you having to refer a cheatsheet on how to do even simple stuff, like downloading a software. However, unless and until you break out of the cocoon, you’ll never be able to explore the world and the array of features that Linux offers, the ability and the flexibility to tweak your OS in any way you want. With Linux, you’ll be the true owner of your computer.
Some tips that we received:
#1: Community bonding is important: the more you interact with the mentors and the members of the organization, the more you get recognized.
#2. Start early: Search for the organizations of your dreams/the organizations that have posts that intrigue/interest you, and start contributing. The first steps would be small, however, if the foundation is strong, then it’s easier to scale up.
#3. Never feel small: Even if you’re just a beginner, don’t lose heart. It isn’t the end of the world. You can always learn. After all, what’s the use of learning without applying. It’ll be a wonderful opportunity to scale your learning curve exponentially. In fact, the experience is far better than working at an MNC. Start small, then as time increases, so will your knowledge.
FOSSMEC wants to ensure that more number of students get into the GSoC programme, and are routinely following up, helping us develop our skills further. They’ve asked us to shortlist the organizations that we’d love to work with, and revert back to them, so that they could guide us through the application process.
Personal note to FOSSMEC: Thank you so much for being selfless and genuinely interested to motivate us, inspire us, guide us, and be the shining light in our lives.
May the FOSS be with you all! ;-)
P.S: The presentation that Adarsh made can be found at https://github.com/isht3/gsoc