Experiences applying to Outreachy

Posted on May 14, 2020
Cover image creadits : makeuseof.com

An overview of my journey from discovering about Outreachy to being selected as an Outreachy Intern!

Initial Stage

A few months ago, I was going through my Twitter feed and I saw a tweet from Outreachy Internships. This was the first time I had heard about them. I went through their website and gathered some information. Fast forward to January 2020, I got an email about the start of the Initial Application period. I was quick to fill it out and I waited for it’s approval.

Late February, I got another email, which stated that my initial application had been accepted!Once the initial application was accepted, we were supposed to choose projects from the selected organizations. Sounds like a simple step? Well it wasn’t.

The Contribution Period

I started off by sorting out the projects based on the coding language of my choice and shortlisted further based on which interested me. Next, I cloned their repositories and tried to run them locally. This is where I lost a lot of time and internet bandwidth. 😜

This is where I found my project, ‘g-drive-to-commons’ under Wikimedia. The project setup was simple, yet it took me 2 good days. It needed API keys from Wikimedia as well as Google to implement two different Oauth workflows. I had to contact my mentor as I was stuck with the Wikimedia API keys.Once this issue was resolved, my progress speeded up. I was able to understand the project, it’s workflow.

I had never contributed to an open source project before this. Writing fixes for the issues was not a hindrance, but to write clean and well documented code was a new thing for me. I received several suggestions from my mentor Tony Thomas, such as to use absolute imports instead of relative imports to keep the code readable and ways to keep migrations clean.

Once the lockdown due to COVID19 was announced and my college session was suspended, I got ample amount of time to work on this project. I also contributed to other projects, like “WikiContrib: Gather & analyze user contributions on wiki & Github”. I worked on dockerizing this project. I was helped by Srishti Sethi and her reviews helped me contribute to my second open source project.This gave me a big boost and I was determined to solve as many issues as I could. I also learnt about the git-flow of open source projects and I got an understanding of how open source projects are managed. I went on submitting a total of 7 PRs to the project out of which 6 are already merged!

Suspense Stage

After recording my contribution to the Outreachy dashboard and submitting my final application, I still worked on solving a few minor issues. However, due to my academic commitments, I was unable to make major contributions.

I was eagerly waiting for the 4th of May as this was the date when the results were supposed to come. .Seeing my name on the Outreachy alums page took me in a state of exaltation. It felt like I had been rewarded for my hard work.. But this is not the end, rather it’s the beginning !

Final Thoughts

The whole experience of applying for an Outreachy internship and being selected has been a joyride. Had I not been selected, I wouldn’t have gone empty handed. Working on open source projects helped me develop my skills and give my self confidence a boost.

I thank Outreachy, Wikimedia and my mentors, Tony Thomas and Srishti Sethi for giving me this opportunity. I am looking forward to making the most out of this opportunity and doing my part for this community!