Cracking Google Summer of Code 101

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Google, one of the world’s leaders when it comes to technology, hosts a global program every year to instill the values of better programming, collaboration, and development in university students and organizations. Dubbed the Google Sum

Cracking Google Summer of Code 101

Summer of Code, it is aimed at getting the concepts of open source deep into the minds of the creative thinkers of tomorrow. With immense exposure and attractive incentives for GSoC scholars, it represents an opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute.

Getting accepted into GSoC, however, is one of the toughest nuts to crack. Let us take a deeper dive into how GSoC actually works.

Turning the gears at GSoC

Every year, organizations and firms all over the world partner up with Google to be a part of the Google Summer of Code, which usually takes place in the summer vacation times of major universities all over the world. Organizations post their projects, bio, and requirements for all students to see and decide which one to go for. These projects range from developing mini-games for a website and building web apps to delving into the deep world of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

To get selected by an organization, there is only one mantra- to contribute. Contribute here means to play a part in the organization codebase as much as possible. This can be by fixing the simplest of bugs, or helping the organization upscale projects critical to their operations. The procedure is a bit different than what students would typically consider as ‘coding’, but don’t worry, we’ll dwell on that more in the coming sections.

Once you get selected by the organization of your choice, you have the entirety of your summer vacations (3 months) to work for them, 6-8 hours a day, learn, code, develop, and strive to contribute to the organizations. The incentives and stipends are ridiculous, to say the least, and the tag of being a GSoC scholar adds some much-needed sheen to your resume!

Let’s get down to business, now. How to actually get into the GSoC program?

Getting in

Now comes the important part- getting accepted to the Google Summer of Code. It is difficult, but not impossible. Let’s get started with GitHub.

GitHub is basically a repository of open source code and projects posted by developers and organizations to work and collaborate with each other. All organizations listed in the GSoC program will have their industrial code available in GitHub. 

Getting into GSoC involves a few basic steps. Here’s what you need to do in order to crack the GSoC-

  • After you pick an organization, follow them on GitHub, and pick a project or application. View the issues posted related to that project, make a copy of the project on your own account, and start working on it.
  • After you make whatever changes you want to your own copy, open up a pull request. This is a fancy term for asking the organization to accept your changes and integrate them with their own source code. This is basically what a contribution is called. You get more accreditation if you report some issues, too. 

The final step- drafting the proposal

This right here is your Hail Mary, this is what will make or break your fate. Once you have everything it takes for you to believe that you’re the best person to continue contributing to the organization, you have to convince the firm about the same. Conveying that sentiment in a well drafted proposal is key to getting accepted. 

Here’s some crucial tips to nailing your proposal

  1. Use technical jargon in the right places. Don’t sound too pretentious while describing your contributions, and include a proper timeline highlighting all efforts.
  2. Make sure that your proposal highlights the project that you intend to work on, and how you wish to proceed. This is your only chance to impress the higher-ups at the organization, so don’t let it go to waste!
  3. Also develop a “motivations” section, which highlights your interest and curiosity in the organization’s projects, what it does, and how you intend to carry forward that passion.

That’s about it! With a pile of effective and valuable contributions, an eloquently-drafted proposal, and a will to succeed is all it takes to make your way into the GSoC. Cracking the GSoC 101 now concludes- don’t wait, fire up GitHub, start contributing, and set off on the journey towards GSoC stardom!

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