Hello everyone, I’m Bhushan, currently in pre-final year of B.Tech at IIIT Bhubaneswar. I was recently selected for the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) program as a student for coala.io, an open-source project.
In this post, I will share my experience on how I got selected and how was my entire journey until now.
My journey until now
I loved coding before I joined the college. New things always motivated me to learn them. I didn’t know where to start though, I only used to code some basic C programs. Later, I dived into problem-solving and started participating in competitive programming contests. Trust me, participating in contests makes you a much better programmer in much lesser time. I loved to participate and I kept improving myself, finally, I was able to get to the ‘5-star’ rating on CodeChef. I used to mostly participate in CodeChef, although my personal favorite is Codeforces. I was only able to get up to Expert on there.
Competitive programming was basically where I spent most of my time, sometimes I used to get excellent results while sometimes extremely bad. The experience I gained during this time was immensely helpful to gain my first internship at Quantsapp. I had good programming skills, and completing the project there was quite easy for me. I was also able to learn some NLP and ML stuff there. Later on, I started participating in Hackathons, and other competitions. I wasn’t particularly great when it came to development skills, but I think I was still pretty good at it. Meanwhile, I also started on setting problems for CodeChef.
Finally, I started doing some open-source contributions. I started with coala and I loved the project almost instantly. The framework was easy to understand, and I started solving some issues there as soon as I got the invite. That is when I decided to apply for GSoC. It was October 2018 and I had a good amount of time to contribute more to the project. Its always better to start early, if you are planning on doing GSoC.
The contributions were nice, John who is one of the maintainers for the organization was there to help me throughout the period. The coala community is very active, and people there will help you, all you need to do is just ask.
Okay, about GSoC now
I applied to two projects, ‘Improve Generic Bear Quality’ and a backup proposal ‘Next Generation Action System’. I had a very clear idea of my primary proposal ‘Improve Generic Bear Quality’ and I’m happy that I was selected for the same. I didn’t know if I could make it, but the communication with the mentors and the admins was really good which I think played a vital role in the selection.
Most of you must be wondering if you should ‘prepare’ for GSoC and are attracted towards it because of the ‘Google’ in it. Trust me, you don’t want to do that. Google is only funding the projects and its not like you're working for Google or something. The selection procedure for the companies is much tougher than this and GSoC may or may not help you with your placements. One of my friends has written an excellent post on this.
The key factor in any selection is the communication you have with the mentors. It is important that you will be able to complete your project. I was lucky to have mentors like sangamcse, kriti21 and abhishalya. All of them guided me to improve my proposal, the changes required, etc. I was also thankful to the admins Makman2 and jayvdb who were there to help us in deciding the approaches to the issues to be solved during the project.
Overall I think contributing to open-source feels great. I always wanted to be the ‘problem solver’ or the ‘issue-solver’ in this case :P
Just a final note
If you don’t know what to do, just try them all out. Try doing some competitive programming for a while, if you don’t like it, try finding some open-source projects which you can contribute too. You just need some basic knowledge on the framework they are using and you should be good to go :)
Finally, I’m really excited about this summer, it is going to be so exciting. I’ll keep writing here so that I would be able to record all of my experiences. :D
Take care, goodbye now.