The road to Outreachy

We are happy that Open Humans will have four Outreachy interns this summer. Our interns are working on their own Open Humans related projects and will regularly blog about their internship experience. Read Tarannum Khan’s first post about how they came to join Open Humans as an Outreachy intern:

Four months ago, my amazing journey with Outreachy started. Ever since I see a tremendous growth in me regarding not only the open source development field but also a great boost in my will to continue and succeed, interact with a new bunch of people easily and learn from them.

Just clearing the fog, Outreachy is a great program for the people out there traditionally underrepresented in tech who are interested in open source development and don’t know where to start or try hands in this area. This is the right place to get started. Outreachy community provide an immense support for beginner like you and me and nurture our development skills by providing a superb platform to work in a collaborative environment with the mentors and other Outreachy participants.

I am working with the Open Humans organization and my project is on “Writing an Python module for the Open Humans API & a self-contained, modular Django app”. Open Humans community have been very supportive throughout. I would like to thank Mad Price Ball(mentor), Bastian Greshake Tzovaras and Mike Esclante for being always there to clear my doubts. And the best thing about them is that they has been a major support in this process of learning by sharing their development knowledge which is pretty cool.

I got to know about Outreachy through my friends of my institute and took my first big step in this area.

START(very important)

Organisation and project selection

Select the perfect organisation with the perfect project and the perfect language to work on(But life is not so perfect). So let’s go practical. On the outreachy website, once the projects get floated, look for each and every project of every organisation. Take a look at the repository provided by them. For the beginners, do check on the issue tagged with beginners or good first issue. If it looks understandable after having a look at the repository, you are good to go and start contributing to it.

Initially you can contribute to two or three repositories but with time you would know which one to really pick and focus on. Every mentor has a different interaction style which is mentioned in the outreachy website from which you will get an idea, how to reach the mentors. I suggest that your decision to choose a project should majorly depend on the project repository, it’s issue and then on the language. Don’t hesitate to pick a language in which you are not much comfortable but you should know the basics at the least, rest assured learning with this amazing community.

Bug fixing

Once the project is selected, take an issue, if you think you can do it, get it assigned and start working. If you are having any trouble feel free to either raise your doubts in the organisation forum or you can contact mentors. Someone will be always there to git pull you ahead from where you were stuck. You would love the feeling when your first pull request will be merged. 🙂

Patience is the key

Sometimes things might get a little tough as you are a new player in this field. Just keep up with patience, keep reading documentations, keep discussing with your mentors, keep coding and you will solve the issue(BA-AM). After solving each issue from beginner friendly to moderate to hard level, your self-confidence will be boosted immensely. In this great learning curve, you will learn a lot of new and interesting development stuff and your stamina to read documentations will increase drastically. (Life of a developer: Birth, find bug, read documentation, code, death)

Outreachy proposal

Now it’s time for the big show: PROPOSAL. Think clearly and meticulously about the project, the problem it’s trying to solve and make a clear plan of how you will solve the problem with the proper timeline and technical details. You can see a link to my proposal here. Start at least two weeks before the deadline to write the proposal.

Done and dusted. After the outreachy application period, keep on contributing. Whether you get selected or not, but the road to Outreachy is totally amazing. Your knowledge and confidence will boost immensely. And maybe not immediately but definitely, you will get a project to work with the Outreachy community as Outreachy programme is held in winters as well as in summers, so just keep on coding. I was lucky enough to get selected in my first attempt and work with Open Humans. Just be ready to give your time and energy to Outreachy and keep on working. 😀

Some pre-internship suggestions will be to learn git. It really helps and will save a lot of your time. The earlier you start contributing, the better your chances will be to spend your summer or winter non-vacation.

Feel free to contact me at tkhaniitr@gmail.com. I will be there to clear the doubts and even interact with you, given that I am not that boring 😀.

Keep your enthusiasm up and keep coding.

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