Google Summer of Code 2018 Experience. It was the Summer of '18

August 31, 2018    GSoC SPDX FOSS

Google Summer of Code 2018 Experience. It was the Summer of ‘18

It all started on April 23, 2018 when I got a mail from the GSoC team that my project proposal has been accepted and for the next 12 weeks I’ll be working on completing that project. It was certainly one of the happiest days of my life, and today I am happy to state that I have successfully completed my GSoC project.

tushar mittal google summer of code certificate

Before getting selected for GSoC

I had a hard time selecting an organization to work on for GSoC as I was not very confident of my skills and I questioned myself, “whether I’ll be able to fix that bug or add that feature.” Finally after a lot of searching, I found the perfect organization which matched my tech stack and for which I was quite confident to work on. I started with small contributions and eventually started working on high priority issues. Each merged PR boosted by confidence.

Then during the application period, I wrote a proposal for the project that I was interested in. The mentors suggested me to write one more proposal for some other project. So I selected one more project, but for this I had very little idea of how that will be implemented. I discussed it with mentors to get some more information on that project and wrote the second proposal. You get 2 weeks for writing and submitting the proposal. Those were the most tiring 2 weeks of my life, I slept the least during that peroid. :p

Writing proposal is not an easy task but after writing two proposals, one advice I would give is that “Always write a proposal keeping in mind that it can be understood by both technical and non-technical audience and include graphics such as flowcharts and images to explain the concepts better.” Submitting the draft early and take feedback from the mentors, afterall they are the ones who have to review and select your proposal.

After those 2 weeks ended, a long wait of one month stared which was the Application review period. During this, mentors evaluate and select the candidates on the basis of thier contributions and proposals. Everyday I used to think how will my life change if I get selected, and also, what will I do during the summers if I don’t get selected. Finally the results were declared and my second proposal was selected, for which I had very little idea of how certain things would be implemented.

During GSoC

I was a little scared at the beginning, whether I’ll be able to even complete the project. But as I progressed through the project I realized things are not as difficult as they look from the outside. You just have to think smartly, do some research, try different approaches and give time to it.

During GSoC I used to wake up at 10 AM, during the day I did all the research and testing work for the feature that I was working on and utilized the night to implement it into the actual project and used to sleep around 3-4 AM. I spent most of my time sitting in front of the laptop.

We had to give reports to the mentors of what we worked on yesterday and what we’ll work on today. We also has weekly calls where we shared our project progress and told the future plans. Sometimes it was very annoying and boring to give daily reports but this helps in keeping the project on track. During the project it is important to keep yourself motivated and focused because when you are working from home there are many distraction. You just have to make a schedule and follow it strictly everyday, sunday included.

During GSoC I learn many thing such as jQuery DOM manipulation, Django test cases, Selenium test cases, GitHub apps and APIs, implementing OAuth, breaking the code into small resuable parts using classes and functions, code refactoring and many more. I got to implement a lot of concepts, of which I had only read the tutorials but had never applied them practically. GSoC built the confidence in me that I too can write complex code and work on big projects.

After GSoC

GSoC was an experience of a lifetime. Before I got selected for the project my main motivation was the stipend that comes with it, but during the program I got a chance to work with experienced and amazing mentors, made lots of connections, everyone started giving me importance, asking me about the program, teachers at my college appriciated my work. After the program I realized these are the things which makes the program so great and prestigious, money is just a cherry on top. I got a Google tag on my resume. My parents are also proud of my achievement. GSoC taught me the importance of open-source communities. Now, everyone I meet, I encourage them to contribute to open source, you will face some problems but ones you overcome them they will surely teach you something make you a better professional. I would definitely love to apply for this program again in 2019.


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