Hello! This blog is part of the series of blogs I am writing as an Outreachy intern of the Summer 2021 cohort. After a month long contribution period, I’ve received the chance to work with Fedora for 3 months. This week’s theme is going to be my last week as an Outreachy intern and in this post I’ll be talking about my experience and the application process. (Warning: This might end up being a longer read >.<)
These three months really flew by. I cannot describe the amount of growth and empowerment that I’ve gone through in this time. Just a little while ago, I was thoroughly confused about contributing to open source and the ways in which I could contribute. I also felt a lot of diffidence with frequent appearances of Imposter Syndrome. Though it sounds dramatic, this was a life changing experience for me and I believe Outreachy is the best way to get involved with open source. A lot of people have been reaching out to me and asking me about the process and since I want many people to get involved and get help, I have decided to dedicate thus post to the process of applying to Outreachy and my experience with it.
I think I should start by sharing what exactly Outreachy is and follow that up with the process. Outreachy is 3-month long internship that helps people get started with contributions to FOSS communities and supports diversity in open source. Outreachy internships are remote, paid and mentored. Outreachy internships run twice each year from May to August and December to March. The program is organized by the Software Freedom Conservancy and was formerly organized by The GNOME Project and the GNOME Foundation. As stated on the website:
Anyone who faces under-representation, and systemic bias or discrimination in the technology industry of their country is invited to apply.
STEP 1: Initial Application
In order to be eligible to apply for Outreachy, you will need to fill out the initial application on the website which comprises details and essays. There are thousands of initial applications received every year and the people who are selected move to the contribution period. I would recommend you to think deeply and take your time while filling the initial application. I believe the most important thing is to be honest!
About a month or so after submitting the initial application, you will get to know whether or not you’re eligible to contribute.
STEP 2: Contribution Period and Final Application
Outreachy hosts a large number of projects every year which are offered by different organizations like The Fedora Project, Mozilla, Inkscape Foundation (among many others). The projects can be about development, graphic design, UI/UX design, data science, documentation, and community management.
You can pick up to three of the projects for that year and start contributing. The procedure to contribute to any project and to connect with its mentors is mentioned on the Outreachy website. Some projects are more competitive than others, like the one that appealed to me the most, so I had been advised to contribute to at least two from seniors who had participated in the program previously. However, I wasn’t really able to find the time to contribute to two or three projects simultaneously since my semester was underway, and I ended up contributing to only one.
You can make a final application for three projects in which you have more than one contribution. In this final application, you have to answer some questions and record all the contributions you’ve made. You should never delay this to the last day and either record contributions regularly or start at least one week prior to the deadline. I was told that some mentors are also willing to give feedback on your application, so you could go for that. About two weeks after the final applications were submitted, the results were announced for my cohort.
Even if you don’t make it, don’t be disheartened. You have still gotten involved with a FOSS community, started receiving mentorship and you can continue with all of that. You can return with a stronger application and more experience the next year.
STEP 3: The internship
Probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Outreachy internships really help you get at ease with open source. I even got to host a talk at Fedora’s Nest 2021 (the annual virtual conference). During the internship, your mentor will guide you and help you out and meet with you frequently. I feel a very special bond is developed with one’s mentor. You also speak to other community members and fellow Outreachy interns. Be warned, though. Outreachy can also get you the habit of writing blogs and using Twitter as a side effect 😛
Please feel free to get in touch with me if you need any further help! I hope you can also become a part of this amazing program! So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye 😦