Outreachy: My journey so far

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 Manaswini Das’s post about their way to Outreachy and their first two weeks as an Outreachy intern:

Open-source… I was a bit obnoxious about this term until a year ago, when I was not familiar with this new world of outstanding work done by millions across the globe. It’s been a year now and the journey has been more than rewarding.

My journey started with contributions to repositories as a part of Hacktoberfest 2017. I got a limited edition Hacktoberfest T-shirt too, as promised. The thought of contributing to something that will be utilized by the world intoxicated me and inspired me to dive deep into this. I started looking for other ways to find repositories that kindled my interest.

Going through several blog posts over the internet, I came across Outreachy, an open source internship program for people from marginalized groups. I had applied for Winter term 2017 (Round 15). But then, it was already nearing the deadline when I started contributing. So, I knew I stood a slim chance of getting accepted.

This time, I didn’t commit the same mistake. Once Round 16 was announced, I started exploring organizations and projects. I concentrated on ‘Adding data sources to Open Humans’ project under Open Humans Foundation and began my contributions right away! Two months hence, I found my name among the accepted interns. I am overwhelmed and looking forward to making the most of this internship period.

For those who haven’t come across this open source internship program, let me enlighten you.

What is Outreachy all about?

Well, Outreachy is an open source internship program for individuals belonging to groups traditionally underrepresented in technology. This program is similar to Google Summer of Code, except for the fact that it is not limited to students and it happens twice a year, May through August and December through March cohorts.

For those who want to probe deeper into this, find the details here.

Now, some tips for the ones preparing for the upcoming rounds:

Start early

To make it into the internship program, you should begin as soon as possible. It takes time to comprehend the code base. It may seem intimidating at first but select your projects wisely.

In case you are not comfortable with a project even after contributing, you still have time and liberty to switch to projects matching your interest. Keep in mind that you can apply to a maximum of two projects.

Subscribe to the announcement mailing list here.

Ask questions

In case you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask questions to your mentors. Don’t be afraid of being judged.

Asking questions doesn’t reveal your ignorance. It is a sign that you are learning.

Don’t be shy. Shed your cocoon and feel free to ask even the silliest of questions. But remember, do your research too. Try to work out the problem on your own first. If you are still stuck, then reach out to the community. You never know, it might be a bug!

Don’t doubt your abilities

If you think you don’t fit in, then, trust me you are the right person to apply for this internship program. You won’t be able to explore this new you unless you do it.

Be consistent

Don’t aim at a huge last-minute contribution. Make small but consistent contributions till the end of the application period. This creates a good impression.

Another golden tip: In case you are not into contributions for some time, be in touch with your mentors. Discuss your ideas about the project and know more about the organization.

Imposter Syndrome

At times, you may feel that you could achieve everything only due to luck and that you lack potential.

You may also feel that you won’t be able to make it even after you get accepted. Well, my friend, you are suffering from the imposter syndrome. This happens when you focus on the big picture of what you are trying to do in a project. To overcome this, follow the divide and conquer rule.

Have faith in yourself. Don’t let the imposter syndrome grip you.

Proposal time

This is the final dash to the race. Discuss your ideas with your mentors and come up with a suitable timeline. Work out your schedule and make sure your proposal is precise. Submit your proposal for review to your mentors. Trust me, your proposal will get better with each review. And yes, don’t wait till the last minute for this.

Updates

It’s been more than two weeks into this internship period now. I am working on adding Github and Twitter API integrations under the mentor-ship of  Mike Escalante. First three weeks, I have been getting familiar with the codebase and the workflow that is to be followed for the integrations, taking some help from the existing integrations. Apart from that, I have been exploring the Github API and setting up the app on Heroku.

My mentor, Mike has been very supportive and encouraging throughout, checking-in almost everyday and clearing all my doubts in a jiffy.

What’s next?

I’m planning to get the Github integration up and running by this week and then, I will be working on creating data explorations of this integration for the next two weeks.

I’ll be coming up with the technical details of this Github integration in the upcoming posts.

Cheers!

 

 

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