Google Summer of Code – Mentorship Experience

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is not only an opportunity for students to gain valuable experience but also a chance for seasoned developers to give back to the open-source community. Becoming a GSoC mentor is a rewarding journey that allows mentors to guide and inspire the next generation of software developers. In this blog, we will explore the benefits and experiences of being a GSoC mentor, shedding light on the impact and personal growth that comes with this role.

How to become mentor?

  1. Become a contributor first: Becoming a contributor first can add help you know the organisation ecosystem, where you can serve as a mentor later.
  2. Association with the organisation: It is always good to maintain the association even after GSoC is over. In that way, you are a part of the organisation team.
  3. Try to drive topics apart from your project: It is always better to help in the infrastructure or logistics issue which is not only related to your project, but organisation as a whole. In my GSoC contribution phase, I led the infrastructure issues thread in slack, where I brought everyone together to solve infrastructure issues in no time.
  4. Drive ideas to continue your project: When your role as a contributor comes to an end, you can suggest how to improve (or advance) the work next summer. This almost sets the context for you as a mentor for next term. I also did something like this, which helped me to become a mentor in GSoC 2023.
  5. Inherent knowledge: Sometimes organisations hire mentors who were not associated with GSoC before but were knowledgable in their domains (or fields). One of my mentor Austin Bennett was selected on the basis of that.

How mentors select projects ?

Different organisation has different methods to select candidates for projects. Some organisations stresses more on the contribution done (through bug-fixes, testing, suggestions etc) before the GSoC even starts. Some organisation focusses more on the proposals and candidate’s profile to understand the depth of the candidate’s knowledge. These are some of the things which can play a role in you getting selected.

  1. Existing contribution in organisation: If you have already contributed in the project before GSoC starts, then it is a great advantage. Your mentors know you and so you will have a great advantage in getting selected by the organisation.
  2. Existing contribution in field of work: If you have done contribution in the field of your project (may be for some other open source contribution), this can be of great value.
  3. Proposal: Remember that after the proposal is approved by the organisation, Google also looks at the project & candidate proposal to approve that for the GSoC. So proposal matters a lot.
  4. Candidate Profile: If a candidate have great academics it matters a lot. In case of working professionals it is important to understand that if the person will have sufficient time to dedicate for the project.

Benefits

Mentors in GSoC don’t get paid. So it will be your choice. But there are immense benefits.

  1. Sharing Knowledge and Expertise: As a GSoC mentor, you have the chance to share your knowledge and expertise with talented students from around the world. Mentoring allows you to impart your industry experience, technical skills, and best practices, empowering students to develop their own skills and become proficient in open-source software development.
  2. Nurturing the Next Generation: Being a GSoC mentor gives you the opportunity to make a positive impact on the future of the software industry. By guiding and supporting students throughout their GSoC journey, you play a vital role in nurturing their talent and passion for open-source development. Mentoring helps shape the next generation of developers, fostering innovation and collaboration within the community.
  3. Personal Growth and Learning: Mentoring in GSoC is not just about teaching; it’s also a platform for personal growth and learning. Working closely with enthusiastic students exposes you to fresh ideas, different perspectives, and new technologies. Mentoring challenges you to stay updated with the latest trends and techniques, fostering continuous learning and growth in your own development journey.
  4. Recognition and Prestige: GSoC mentorship is highly regarded within the open-source community and the software industry as a whole. By becoming a mentor, you join the ranks of experienced professionals who have made significant contributions to the growth of open-source projects. This recognition adds to your professional reputation and can lead to new opportunities and career advancements.

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