I am participating in the Outreachy Internship program from Dec 2018 – March 2019. Here is my experience on the application process.
So I first heard of Outreachy from a friend who had previously participated in the program. The reason why I decided to apply to the program is because I am an open source enthusiast and from all the experience that would come with it would be really awesome for my career. First of all I signed up in the website and read all the information on the website about the internship months before it even started. And there is a subscription where you can can be informed when the internship opens. There are also blogs about how to apply to the program from past interns and I read them which gave me a bit of information. Let me back up a little, Outreachy provides a 3 month internships to work in Free and Open Source Software. It happens twice each year and invites people underrepresented in tech. So when the internship started I got an email telling me it was open.
There is a bunch of questions that you have to answer before you are allowed to see the projects and start applying for the internship. So as soon as I got the email I went and answered the questions and I had to wait a few days as my proposal was reviewed and decided if I was eligible for the program. After I got the go ahead I started to look through the projects to find the ones I could apply to. I selected like three projects that I had interest on. I started looking in the code base and entered their communication channels to find more information about the projects. Other projects were still being added to the website and about two weeks in I saw that Public Lab plots2 project was added in the list of projects.
I had an experience with Public Lab community before researched a lot and have totally resonated with what they do. Public Lab is a community and non-profit democratizing science to address environmental issues that affect people. It is a platform where you can post your research open source it for others to use and also find information you need to solve your environmental and social issues. There is so much more on Public lab. For more information find it http://publiclab.org/. I love what Public Lab does and after I saw it listed I knew that is exactly what I would like to work on so I just focused on it. You are required to pick 1-2 projects and apply to it.
To be eligible for selection to a project, you have to make contributions to the project. So I browsed through the issues and started working on some. The community was supportive throughout the process. The pull requests got reviewed fast and the community is willing to help in case of any questions.
If you are worried to apply to the project my advice is just go for it. I was quite scared of applying too. The worst that can happen is you will contribute to the open source project during the application process and learn a lot in the process…According to me that is a benefit rather than a lose because no matter what happen those contributions will always be there and no one can ever take them from you no matter the outcome of the application. So go ahead and do it. Furthermore there is no other community as supportive to new contributors as open source projects.
Important points to keep in mind during the application process.
- Do not be scared to ask for help, mentors are there and always willing to help.
- Pick a project or two and start contributing to them early enough.
- Take time to research on your project and work on your proposal.
- Do not forget to record your contributions on the Outreachy website.