So my project, WikiPort got accepted into Google Summer of Code 2018 under the organization SugarLabs and I will be spending my summer, interacting with the awesome community of Sugar Labs, making new friends and coding up free and open-source software which would actually be used by the organization and help the community as a whole by solving issues.
Want to jump in on the action? Click read more, as I go through some common mistakes that I did.
Google Summer of Code 2018, might have ended for me but that doesn’t mean if the journey has ended too then I can use my experience to help other people fulfill their dreams of getting into Google Summer of Code and contributing to open-source like never before. I am always open for sessions and workshops on open-source as my own way of giving back to the community. Here are some snaps for the same, of one seminar I took along with Coding Blocks at Amity University.
So, I have might have sent you since you asked me how to get into Google Summer of Code. Literally, the first question in your head is…
What exactly is GSoC?
I won’t be telling that. Hence I mentioned some links, regarding the same.
So, first up. Here is a presentation that I watched about the time when I had the same question and had no clue about the program. Also, a video by Google Developers to get your mind right. This would give you a general idea of what it is.
Again, GSoC is not an internship, it is simply a program. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you have any doubts regarding the same, this FAQ should clear the air, it sure did for me. If you still have doubts, this guide and chapter from FLOSS manuals would set you just right on your path.
How to get started?
After that, hit the official website for Google Summer of Code read through how to get started, search through the previous year’s organizations and their projects to see what peaks your interest the most. Read everything, on the website. That will give you enough information about the what, where, when, why, and woah.
Check and recheck if you are in fact eligible for the program. Another thing is sticking to the timeline is an absolute necessity here. When the list of organizations is out, check the project ideas and technologies used. Start shortlisting, start contributing, start writing.
Personal Experience: I had about 30-40 tabs open for at least for a month, as I searched and shuffled through so many interesting projects that I can get my hands dirty with before settling for three and then later to one.
… they expect you to not know everything
People often don’t seem to understand this advice.
I know this because initially I didn’t too. That’s why I would like to elaborate more on it. The “technologies used” column in every organization is just a broad landscape of technologies that they primarily use. To give you an idea of what they are about and what all they deal with.
Your project might or might not use them, don’t stress about not knowing Django if you know Python, knowing the C programming language but knowing little or nothing about the kernel. If you have the ability to learn fast, implement faster. Then nothing is too far out of reach. Never fear or feel demotivated about the technologies that are being used. You can learn them in time and get better at it. Start your day 1 by reading this again.
Sir, how to choose an organization/project idea/ language? #update3
Easily the most asked question by anyone wanting to get into Google Summer of Code. But, first things first, Never call anyone sir in an open-source community.
And I will personally cut your head open, to see if a brain exists inside that hollow void if I know you and caught you saying it. People reading this, get it through your head to never call anyone sir. The most critical part in contributing to open-source is communication. GSoC is secondary and maybe doesn’t even matter if you are unaware of how to present yourself in a community. Learning how to contribute in open-source is all about following some very simple guidelines. Read this document for quick headstart.
To answer your question, I don’t know. Refer this piece of holy grail.
Personal Advice – I searched, invested a lot of time (A month) in finding a project I could complete with my skillset. You might lose hope a lot (I did), you might think you are worthless (I really am), but when you see that one project checking all the boxes in your brain. You would actually know that this is one that’s you want to spend 3 months of your life in that one glorious doing it.
APPLY above all else
Some people spend way too much time deciding which project idea to purse. I am the guilty of the being that person. Like everyone else, even I didn’t know which project would be better, had doubts about myself if I would be able to complete it, do justice to it or not. Truthfully, it all comes to one night, where I closed tabs left and right until I was left with just 3 of the best choices from 40. Half an hour later, I was writing the proposal for Sugar Labs and that’s where my story began. I would request everyone reading to at least apply once to the program. The experience itself will teach you a ton of new things. One of which is thinking ahead, and making the timeline.
Most people would give you similar advice, tell you about their experience. Getting into GSoC is not tough if you are dedicated enough, diligent enough and able to put all your time and energy into it. Coming to the next point.
GSoC is resource-intensive
No, not related to the CPU, but more about you. It would seem through the GSoC website that it is not a time-intensive task but believe me, you have to dedicate a lot to it. I would really recommend everyone to give a serious thought before jumping into pursuing GSoC. For a serious shot and well thought out proposal, it takes a lot of thinking, planning, and execution of various ideas, not to mention reading a ton of material. In the form guidelines, documentation, comments, chats, blogs, more guidelines and rules of the community.
Personally, I dedicated about 4-6 hours to GSoC in the final days of submitting the proposal. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. If you don’t have a bandwidth to do it, then it might be difficult at first and then later very disappointing. People/ organization just look for people who can code and execute their ideas, and be active enough in the community. That takes a lot of time and inputs. That’s why the program is for students and not recommended for part-time working professionals (Check the FAQ for that)
Critical Piece of Advice after Google Summer of Code
If for some reason you don’t get into GSoC in the year you wanted to. Don’t deem it as the end of the world. Don’t deem as a failure. Be sad over it, and then get over it. I wouldn’t take the high road of saying that Google Summer of Code is an okay opportunity. It’s great. But far greater ones, are waiting for you at the door. Here’s my take on it, I wrote it here as well.
One day after I got into Google Summer of Code, I called my friend Shashank who got in as well in Debian to ask him how he felt after getting in? And we both kinda concluded that nothing “special” really. And now too, after finishing it. To be perfectly frank, life has not changed for us. It goes on the same for every other GSoCer. There are still hardships. We are the same people before GSoC, contributing to open-source because of our genuine love for the community and we like giving back to it, in whatever way we can.
What I really mean about this is, look past the hype, the glitter and the word Google is I think what really matters. Kids reading this years later, please don’t stress over not passing in Google Summer of Code. Please go easy on yourself. Please don’t spiral out of your peace of mind just because you didn’t get into a program in life. There is a planet of opportunities that you could be a part of than be a student developer in Google Summer of Code, trust yourself to find them.
Well, that’s all I got. What do you think? Are you associated with GSoC past or present Mentor or student) then connect with me on LinkedIn or any of the social media channels you prefer. I would love to know all of you, especially from Sugar Labs. Also, tell me what do you think. What did you do differently? Go ahead, spam the comments section.
Lastly, everyone else who learns from this, I hope this helped. Understand that it’s not rocket science and if I can do it. So can you. Believe, pursue and conquer above all else. It feels great when all your efforts pay off. Being one of 1200 students that got selected in the world for a program as prestigious as this is really something ….
Till then, I wish you all the luck in your future endeavors. I am always open to queries/suggestions that you might have about the many intricacies of the program that I skipped over or I should probably mention. Comment, share if you like this post and live in the mix.
Updates about Week 1
- Started Community Bonding, we had our first GSoC meeting. We had a little introduction session. I found many students studying near me. I will surely meet them soon. Mentors came too and introduced themselves to us.
- I was retasked to work on a new project of Setting up the Activity and Activity Migration (WikiPort)
- If you like to follow up with more details. Do check out the tracker I made for the project, here’s the link – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VdzjA-DnEBh0ntHY17ktXlp7c2pIofq8458gSCTwiSM/edit?usp=sharing
All suggestions and comments are appreciated.
- Started research on the project
- I decided the meeting time with mentors mentioned the same in the tracker.
- Started the blog, this is the first blog post. All other posts will be available here – GSoC#2018
View expressed by Vipul Gupta are his and his only. ( Contact him by vipulgupta2048 anywhere on the web. )