Google Summer of Code Contributor Application

Open source contribution plays a vital role in advancing technology by fostering collaborative innovation, knowledge sharing, and the development of high-quality, community-driven software projects. It promotes learning, collaboration, and collective improvement, benefiting all stakeholders involved. Recently, I embarked on my open source journey through the renowned Google Summer of Code (GSoC) program, which traditionally catered to college students but was expanded to include working professionals in 2022. Intrigued by the opportunity, I decided to take part and now, in this blog, I will recount my experiences throughout the various stages of my GSoC journey as a contributor.

Student Application

Making informed decisions about the projects to contribute to is crucial for success in the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) program. In 2022, there were 198 organizations participating, and in 2023, the number decreased to 168. Each organization typically offers multiple projects, and submitting a proposal is necessary for each project of interest. Moreover, some organizations expect contributions to their repository, addressing existing bugs and features. However, due to my full-time job and limited bandwidth, I had to be selective and could only choose a limited number of projects to work on.

For me these were the criteria for choosing the organisation.

  • Technology: As I primarily worked with Android applications in my day job, projects in Android were a safe bet for me. However, I was also interested in challenging myself and gaining experience in real-world projects related to my Machine Learning specialization.
  • Crowd: I looked for organizations that had a significant number of existing and interested contributors. This indicated an active and vibrant community, which would provide opportunities for collaboration and learning.
  • Participation: I preferred organizations that participated in GSoC consistently every year. This ensured a well-established program structure and a higher likelihood of project completion and mentorship support.
  • Project Choice: I sought organizations that offered a choice of topics to work on. This allowed me to select a project aligned with my interests and expertise, starting from a fresh perspective.

I had this table handy while making decision which organisation to target with proposal.

OrganisationTopicTechnologiesCriteria
52°North GmbHgeoinformaticsandroid, flutter,
java, web services
Technology: Android
Crowd: Great
Participation: Consistent
Project Choice: enviroCar App
(Existing)
Red Hen Labsmultimodal
communication
ml, gestures, voice,
audio processing
Technology: ML
Crowded: Great
Participation: Consistent
Project Choice: Tagging Sound Effects
(New)
ArduPilotAutopilotpython, linux,
c/c++, drones,
robotics
Technology: C/C++
Crowded: OK
Participation: Constant
Project Choice: Robotics Based
(Existing)
AnkiDroidFlash CardsJava, AndroidTechnology: Safe
Crowded: Too much
Participation: Very New
Project Choice: No
(Existing)
Having identified Red Hen Labs as a suitable organization for my goals, I contacted them to initiate the proposal preparation process. However, I learned that while they were open to starting the project, they did not have a mentor available at the time. Nevertheless, I proceeded to send my proposal to the organization leader, Prof. Mark Turner, and awaited the results. The selection process involves two steps:

1. The organisation reviews and selects the proposals.
2. Google conducts a further review of the proposals and selects the ones they intend to sponsor.

In 2022, the project selection by Google was more lenient, but became stricter in 2023. Read my experience as a mentor in 2023.

Selection

You can find the details of the project here. Mark did manage to find a mentor in the form of him and Austin Bennett. You can read about the experience for the next phases, Community Bonding, Coding Phase1, Coding Phase 2 and the Benefits which I reaped from the program.

Leave a comment