Isabel Costa GSoC
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Isabel Costa GSoC

GSoC with Systers Community Closure

This a post summarizing my Google Summer of Code 2018 experience with Systers Open Source community.

This year I was a Google Summer of Code student for Systers Community. For a long time, I was interested in Open Source but I never managed to take off and start contributing for projects. This year I decided to apply for the second time and was accepted!

This year I decided to propose a new idea so that I could participate in a project from scratch, work on something I could identify myself with and at the same time start contributing to Open Source within a community. So I proposed a Mentorship System.

The Program

The Mentorship System I proposed consists of an application that matches women in tech to mentor each other for a certain period of time. I wanted an application dedicated to anyone who was either new or already in the Tech industry, from any social-economic background, and from any stage of their career to help each other out. You can find out more about the idea and motivations in this post.

Once I got accepted, during the Community Bonding phase, I started enhancing the idea and planning with my mentors and the community what would be the first features that should be implemented for the backend. I also prepared the initial documentation for any interested member of the community to look up and learn more about the project.

Then during the Coding Phase, I started implementing the backend until it was stable enough to start the Android application. During the program, I got to be present and work in all areas of the Mentorship System, including UI Design, REST API design, implement the minimum features of the app, set up test cases, proper documentation to help the community be updated and learn about how to work within an Open Source community.

Final Work Product

The final product ended up being a backend built with python and an Android client of the Mentorship System, that make a minimum functional product.

You can learn more about what I did during the program in my final report of my GSoC work. At the moment the project is more evolved thanks to contributions from the open source community.

In the final week of the program, I did the final demonstration of my work on live on YouTube.


I learned a lot from this experience! I’m super proud of the work I did during GSoC. This was the first time I worked fully remote and with a global team, where I could only speak English (not my native language).

Now that some time has passed I can clearly see the impact this had in my life and career. Here are some highlights:

  • I got to do a backend from scratch and learn about implementing REST APIs. This really helped me in a recent technical interview for my current job;
  • I learned a lot about open source and how to behave in open source communities, like Systers Open Source. This led me to want to share my learnings and do my first public talk at a meetup organized by Google Developers Group Lisbon;
  • I went to Grace Hopper Celebration 2018 in Houston, Texas, represent Systers Open Source at Open Source Day event. My first time going to the United States of America!
  • Now I have some public work I can show to demonstrate my skills. By public work I’m referring to code, issues I created, my GSoC proposal, documentation, my blog posts, etc;
  • I maintain the project I work for, by reviewing pull requests, creating new issues, discussing features and bugs with the community, improving documentation (when needed). Also through this, I can provide a friendly environment for beginners to contribute to open source;
  • I got to meet incredible people from the community. I grew professionally and personally by sharing and learning from others’ perspectives.

Finally, I was nominated by my peers, mentors, and admins, from Systers Community as the Most Outstanding student out of 11 students. Being recognized for my work during GSoC made me very happy since I was already proud of my personal achievements.

Digital Certificate for my outstanding work during GSoC with Systers Community

Final Thoughts

Even though the program as ended in August 22nd, I’m still part of the community and plan to continue to be. I am determined to continue this project and at the same time, use this to help people, who may be intimidated with Open Source, start contributing and start feeling less intimidated by it.

This was truly an awesome experience.

You can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, GitHub and my personal website.



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Isabel Costa

Isabel Costa

Software Engineer from Portugal working in the UK • GitHub Star • Open Source advocate •