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Google Summer of Code

Sanyam Dogra first heard about the prestigious Google Summer Of Code when he was in Class IX. Years later, Dogra is looking forward to working with Developers Italia under the GSoC programme.

It’s very tough, noobs have nothing to do with the Google Summer Of Code (GSoC). This line is something you must have heard of, from whom it doesn’t matter but it’s surely present in some proportion of air. In this article, I’ll try to break this myth and also share my experience so far.

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I am Sanyam Dogra. I’m currently studying Electronics and Communication Engineering at MSIT, Delhi, India. I am an active open-source developer and have worked with various front-end technologies for creating both web and mobile apps. I will be working with Developers Italia under GSoC program this summer. Being from a 2–3 tier institution, we get fewer chances to prove ourselves. There’s not much we can do about it except, piercing our way out and I believe that life is all about converting an Exit(0) into Exit(1).

I first heard about GSoC in class XI which was mainly due to my being a member of DynamiX clan (Tech Clan of Ramjas School). This hype intensified when I got into college.

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I am an avid twitter user, I was randomly scrolling through my feed and saw a post by Hasura. It was a retweet of Cynthesize HQ which said, "We are participating in @gsoc this year! The project lives at Cynthesize. We’re working with @HasuraHQ’s @GraphQL engine with the frontend in @angular and looking for collaborators!”.

I read it like any other tweep, but deep down it had a different impact on me than I expected. I went home and searched for GSoC and found it to be pretty amazing. Plus it also gave bragging rights, so it was worth a try.

Now I had an idea about GSoC so it was time for improving myself as a developer. As the Cynthesize project was based on Angular, I started with it. Process after selecting an organization/community is the same:

#Join the community channel whether it is on Gitter, Slack or an IRC.
#Talk to the mentors and get an overview of the project and their plan.
#Get familiar with the codebase. Check issues and try to understand how to resolve them.

Fix the issue, amend the code and make a PR. I did the same and got a PR merged. It was a confidence boost for sure. I contributed to Cynthesize from January to February and got an understanding of their codebase. I contributed to it without thinking that it was a new organisation and the chances of it getting selected as an organization were low.

NOT EXACTLY A SETBACK

Organizations selected by Google were to be announced on February 27, 2019. I had made a decent number of contributions to Cynthesize and was positive about getting selected as a student developer. At 11:30 pm, I went through the selected organization list but was disappointed. Cynthesize wasn’t selected. That day I realized that things go wrong when you least expect them to. I might have lost the headstart but the confidence that merged PRs (with cynthesize) gave was still with me. I only had a month until the application process would start, so without wasting time I searched for organizations with interesting projects complying with my domain.

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DEVELOPERS' ITALIA

Developers Italia is a community dedicated to the development of Open Source Software, created to support the Italian digital public services. When I was searching for organizations, their projects lured me. I was a bit skeptical about choosing an Italian organization. When I joined Developers Italia’s Slack channel I was impressed by their companionship. I got in touch with design-react-kit’s mentor Francesco Zaia and started contributing. In no time I was able to make 5–6 PRs which got merged. This boosted my confidence and I started to draft my proposal in high spirits. My proposal was around 14 pages long and took around 10–15 days to draft (Ping me in any of my social handles for the proposal, I’ll be happy to share it).

After a month (from Feb-end to March-end), I was able to make 10–12 PRs and complete a proposal draft. Now I could say that I had an understanding of the codebase. After sharing the proposal with the mentors and doing the last-minute changes I submitted my proposal.

May 6, 2019, was the result announcement day. I was at a family function but I always had an eye on the clock. Soon it was 11:30 pm and I got a call from my friend. His words were “Bhai tera ho gaya! (You have made it!) “. I opened my dashboard and refreshed it. It showed My Project- Complete the React Web Toolkit, Mentors- Silvio Relli and Francesco Zaia. My level of happiness rose to an ecstatic level.

The next day I got the acceptance mail and realized that it was happening for real.

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