My first proposal.. 😜

Hehe.. 😂 controversial titles are the best..!

Hi, everyone.. This time it’s all about my GSoC proposal.. (not the real ❤️ thingy 😅).

Lemme share my experiences in writing a proposal and my opinions on how to write a good one. First off, a big “Thank You” to my mentors, especially Lasse Schuirmann and all my friends who helped me.

It all started about a few weeks ago(suppose it was Feb 27th), when the list of organizations for Google Summer of Code 2017 came out. I was so excited (guess everyone appearing for GSoC 2017 was).

I began thoroughly reading previous proposals sent through my organization(coala) and friends who appeared in GSoC before. Then came to conclusion that they all follow similar templates. I began with a bare bones template from here.

Took me a couple of days to refine it focusing on implementation details and other academic and personal propaganda. Then, I began sharing my document (on Google Docs) with friends, family, an English lecturer (just to be sure of my grammar 😋), and my mentors.

Thanks to them.. it was a constant process of suggestions and corresponding changes (felt more like handling a pull request, honestly). By the end of the week, I finished the project’s timeline (the most crucial part of a proposal, I believe) and it had a lot of cons compared to pros. I had to change it a lot in the next few weeks and the day arrived when Google announced “Students can now apply”.

Here’s my final proposal, if you need so, guys.

Guidelines to writing a good proposal:

  • Show your ideas. Describe your ideas in detail. Its ultimate goal, 🎆 its components, benefits to organization, how to achieve completion of the project and so.
  • Sell yourself. Get across your enthusiasm for the project. Tell what makes you stand out from the rest of the crowd. 😎 Talk about your past experiences, what makes you tick. Why are you interested in open source software, and the specific organization in particular? What interests do you have, and how do these interests relate to the project for which you’re applying? There is a basic assumption that people applying for Summer of Code 🌞 will have at least some programming skills already. So rather than spend a lot of time elaborating on these (though by all means, do tell them what you know), spend time talking about you.
  • Show enthusiasm. Summer of Code is a very exciting opportunity, and a place to hone your community driven programming skills, your abilities to fit in a body, get along with fellow programmers. Just remember, they’re not looking for people who want a summer job to pass their time. They search for devoted people who have an intrinsic passion ❤️ for open source, and are (or will become) code zealots in particular. 😉
  • Tailor your application yourself. Never copy/paste parts of application into yours. 😠 You may follow the style of others, but never imitate someone else. This can be seen from a mile, but is a sure fire-away approach to not take your application seriously. 👍🏻 Write the application quite specific to the project, kill out all other details, you feel unnecessary. Do not just regurgitate whatever you see on the ideas page. All rules of scientific plagiarism apply. Make sure you’ve authored the article yourself, and reference your sources of information.
  • Pictures, pictures and pictures. Images are the best way to show your ideas. I’m not asking you to be a PhotoShop artist or so. Just put up some handdrawn mocks atleast, showing what the project is and how you would help it become whatever you dream it to be.
  • Get feedback. This is the most crucial part. Get as many reviews as possible, it gets better with each one. Trust me, this is the best way to write a better application. You might be feeling unsafe to share your proposal publicly, just share it to the ones you trust. But, this is crucial.
  • Start early. You need to start as early as possible to get a good one. You’ll get a lot of time to refine it. Get late and you won’t even find time to draft yours.
  • Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. If you’ve a good idea which wasn’t already stated in the ideas page, and you think it’s gonna be successful. Don’t give up on it. Discuss it with mentors and gain their appraisal. There are a lot of applications which were accepted despite not being on the ideas page of corresponding organizations.

I guess that’s about it, guys. Thanks for reading through. Do share it with others, if you feel it was helpful. Contact me for further details and help.