My experience applying to Outreachy (back in september, 2019)!
May 23, 2020
I always saw this incomplete, half written draft about my experience applying to Outreachy internship, lying in one corner of my folder. At first I thought I should just delete it because I’m already done with the internship & I’ve already written my wrap-up post describing a little about my experience. But then I just couldn’t do it only.
So, today, I gave it an another reading, finally added the left overs, and decided to post it (more for my-own-self). Because now I know Outreachy was once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. And I’m never going to feel the same way again like how I felt during the first week of my outreachy internship.
Here is what I wrote some 5 months back, with a little more of what I added today. Now that I have added experience from the time after I finished the internship too, it has some proper more reliable answers I guess.
December 09, 2019
I should’ve ideally written this post on the first day of my Outreachy Internship. But I felt like having a little more experience being the intern, might be a little more insightful.
So, here I am (after completing a whole first week into the Outreachy program), finally writing about my experience of “applying to Outreachy”.
Before I do start with exactly the outreachy-centric experience, I want to first lay down certain things.
how I stepped into this open-source culture!
It starts way before when I hadn’t even heard of the Outreachy program. I was in 3rd year of my graduation (back in 2018, I am a graduate now) when a classmate of mine introduced me to the DGPLUG summer training program. I joined the summer training (in the month of june), and thus joined my first ever community IRC channel, #dgplug on freenode. And it was also the first time ever when I got introduced to this extremely vast culture of Free and Open Source software (& even hardware now). From there after, I met a lot of people (mostly virtually & some of them in-person just recently in PyCon India’19) working on a wide range of huge upstream open-source projects.
That’s how the Open Source started in my life.
Now having stated that, let’s move to what I am actually supposed to share here. (I’ll mostly write in terms of answering the questions below.)
What motivated me to apply to Outreachy?
I remember the day when kushal gifted me the raspberry pi 4 board. And I asked back if I could gift something to him as a token of gratitude. What he answered that day, was my biggest motivation behind applying to outreachy. He replied, “the only gift I’ll receive from you, will be the number of patches you will submit to any upstream open-source project.” From there on, I was constantly hunting opportunities to start contributing to some open source project. The first some contributions were to the lymworkbook itself, then I moved to Debian project for a few months. And then finally, when I got some experience of how things work in upstream open-source projects, I decided I’ll apply for the dec-march’19 round of outreachy.
Thanks jasonbraganza. You helped me throughout. :)
What made me passionate about the project I applied to?
GNOME Foundation is one among the most reputed open-source projects. The time when I was looking at the list of the projects available for the internship, I was quite overwhelmed by the names of the huge organisations listed there. So, the only filter I kept for myself was to look for a project that invited total beginners, a project that had a technical stack that might help me in long term, and definitely one thing that I still remember, that I was looking for a project which might help me learn something that I was always scared of even trying. So, the project gtranslator just gave me all my checkpoints. It invited beginners who could learn during the internship, then the technical stack was mostly GTK in Pure C (something very new for me then) and finally C language was the one that haunted me all throughout my whole life (I mean ok, 5 years out of 22).
And very soon I realised, I chose the best project for me. :)
How did I find information?
I got all my information from internet. I read a lot of blogs from the outreachy organisers, read lots of tweets on the Outreachy-internships twitter handle. Scanned through past outreachy alums blogs. I did a lot of personal research & I’d my aim quite clear to me, by then. I knew what I wanted to achieve out of this program. I knew how big & valuable it is, if I get to be a part of a huge open source project, and I knew how enriching it is to be a part of a community of people who’re excellent in whatever things they’re doing on & off.
Although that time, the idea was to just learn & gather as much as I can so that later I can put all that learning into finding a full time position.
But trust me. I got a lot more than that.
I got really awesome mentors, got a really awesome community, and got to work on a really awesome project. I built up this whole lot of self confidence in me. I inculcated this habit of asking wherever & whenever I’m stuck. I just got everything from there, everything which once seem simply impossible to me.
And yes, later I got a full time job too. (Although don’t get mistaken here, the job had directly nothing to do with the Outreachy program. But the idea was that those soft skills which I developed during the Outreachy period, seamlessly helped me throughout.) :)
Who did I ask questions from when I was stuck?
I asked my mentors for all my questions. For other non-project related stuff, I approached the Outreachy organisers for help. I remember I reached out to a couple of alums too, when I had questions regarding some forms that we needed to fill during the first 2 weeks of the internship (payment & tax related stuff). Everyone was super nice & kind, and everyone helped me to their level best.
How did my mentor help me during the application process?
My mentor Daniel Garcia Moreno (danigm) helped me thouroughly. From giving me pointers to getting acquainted with the codebase on the very first day of the initial contribution period, to later giving me simple issues to solve in order to actually getting started with it, then giving really nice thorough reviews on all my small contributions. He literally provided me the best possible help that a mentor could do. I thank him profusely for his time that he selflessly gave me throughout the entire Outreachy internship period.
Daniel Mustieles García (dmustieles) being the most kind person, he had always been a source of inspiration & motivation even after I finished my internship.
I just can’t thank them enough, in my little set of words. :)
What would I tell someone who is worried about applying to Outreachy?
It’s not that hard as it looks from outside. If you really want to learn and are motivated enough to devote a good span of your time towards learning more, then don’t give it a single second thought. Just apply!
Write exactly what you want to achieve out of the program in the application, be honest with your time and work commitments and always remember there are really kind people sitting on the other side, who are, by all means, willing to give you a chance to change your lives into a better one.