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 Rosy Gupta’s post about their first two weeks as an Outreachy intern:
What is Outreachy? What are the do’s and don’ts for your application if you are interested? How did I find such an apt gig? What have I been and will be doing this non-vacation summer? Read on to find it out.
Outreachy is an amazing opportunity for underrepresented folks in Open Source Software Development. It allows you to work with tech organizations through a remote internship. It is somewhat similar to (the more heard of companion) Google Summer of Code (GSOC) but Outreachy happens twice a year and you don’t have to be a student to be eligible for it. Like most people, I didn’t know about Outreachy until I heard about it from former interns at an open source meetup. I was delighted to know that a remote and paid internship existed for non-students – seemed like an interesting way out to spend summers at home before starting my Masters in the fall.
So how do you get in?
Decide that you really really want to go for it
Getting onboard with Outreachy isn’t an overnight thing. You need to be involved with the organization that you intend to work with for a couple of months (hard truth). I started making contributions for Open Humans in February itself. Read up about the organization and the project nicely and THINK if you’d actually be able to spend your summer doing that. My fellow intern, Tarannum has some really good points on the organization and project selection in her blog post. Check it out here.
Code Communicate Sleep Repeat
Start with small contributions, even trivial bugs maybe and you’ll be able to make a major impactful one gradually as you get the hang of the code and the language. It’s good to raise your doubts in the common group (there’s no such thing as a stupid question). Having said that, it’s equally important to make a sincere effort before poking mentors and community with low-hanging fruit kind-of questions. The mentors in my case were damn helpful and pretty quick in solving our doubts, reviewing the code and merging the pull requests. Thanks for all the sweet help – Bastian Greshake Tzovaras (my mentor), Mad Price Ball and Mike Esclante.
Show Time – The Proposal
Unless you know about the project well, it will be difficult to come up with improvement suggestions for the project. Last minute stint usually doesn’t work – so it’s good to start with your proposal application ahead of the deadline. Keep it succinct.
After being chosen from a competitive pool of applicants, now, I am working with Bastian Greshake Tzovaras on Creating a stand-alone web application to manage and administer projects on Open Humans using Django. For the next three months, I will be adding some new features and enhancing the user experience for this project management application.
The first two weeks of my internship have flown by. I spent them going through unread pieces of code in the repo. Here, I learned that I need to comment the code a lot and since the project is in its infant stage, this quote would be a handy reminder 😀
“Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath and knows where you live”
The application uses Django framework, so I’ve been trying to get my head around Python lately. One of the initial weird things was HTML with a bunch of curly brackets containing Python code. This turned out to be the templating engine, Jinja. I have also been learning more about designing the dashboards to deliver a good user experience. The work is giving me the opportunity to sharpen my Git skills too and I’m learning to make NEAT git pulls now.
The first few weeks have mostly been trying to fit in the remote work setting and understanding the timeline of the project. Luckily, my wonderful mentor, Bastian has been great putting my nerves at ease. He’s always encouraging me to communicate often (the key to remote work) and is quick with the doubt-solving sessions. Despite our contrasting time zones, it has been a smooth sail so far and his guidance has been really valuable.
My upcoming task is to work on building annotations for the dashboard. This would make the user experience more interactive. I’d also be working on adding a feature to download files in customizable ways.
I’d include more about my first two weeks’ work in the next blog post. Well yes, we need to blog every two weeks as a part of the internship. The good part is I’m writing my first blog post ever! Need more motivation? Hit me up 😀