Hello, this is my first post on this blog. I’m an Outreachy intern for the period of December 2018 to March 2019, and I’ll be working on the redesign of the Open Bioinformatics Foundation (OBF) homepage.
WHAT IS OUTREACHY?
Outreachy is a paid, remote internship program that supports people underrepresented in technological fields. The internships are based on tech skills like programming, user experience, documentation, illustration/graphic design and data science. If any of these themes seem interesting to you, give this a try! All the organisations that participate are members of the FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) community. It is a greatly encouraging community and full of opportunities to gain more knowledge and find your way in the big world of tech. What’s more, you get a stipend of $5500 for the internship, AND a $500 travel stipend to go to any open source conference in the world.
WHEN AND HOW TO APPLY?
Outreachy has internship programs twice a year, generally from May to August and from December to March. the application period generally starts about a couple of months before May/December. Fill out your initial application then and be sure to subscribe to the mailing list to get updates as to when the projects are announced.
I applied for the December 18 – March 19 session. The project list is updated and more organisations put up projects till a specified date. Just two things to do, no biggie!
- Find something interesting and doable.
After joining the communication channels for a couple of projects, I tried my contribution attempts to a couple of projects in the first week. I wasn’t able to make any headway with that right away, but didn’t lose hope! When I saw the listing for the redesign of the Open Bioinformatics Foundation (OBF) website, I knew this was the one to aim for, as the project outline seemed the most interesting to me, as I really, really like web design and anything that brings out some color in the world of programming.
- Oh no, actual communication?
It was kind of intimidating to send out even small messages to say I’d want to contribute, because I had never made any contributions to big real world projects like this before. It’s okay, I was very motivated so I got through it, yay! Believe it! But honestly, I didn’t have to be nervous because my mentor was really cool and they helped me and the other applicants through the entire application period!
WORKING ON IT!
Now that I had somewhat got through the communication anxiety I started working on 2 of the 3 issues. I had made a small plan in my head:
Start with the smaller issue.
Make some actual progress while keeping in mind the main issue.
Create a mock-up for the bigger issue. (I recommend Canva for templates, it is THE easiest to use)
Code and reiterate till you’re a little proud of your work. It might take a while, and that is okay!
A general plan for applicants might be to work on issues and post your progress as much as you can. The mentors know how much you want to work on something if you have frequent contributions.
RECORDING CONTRIBUTIONS AND THE FINAL APPLICATION
The most important thing in the application. The application has a section for recording contributions. In addition to that, I had made a text file for keeping a record myself. It included my answers for the questions that are asked in the final application, so I wouldn’t be rushing at the last moment. This might be a convenient thing to do, for anyone reading this and wishing to apply. By the last three days, I had a faint idea of how I wanted to code the rest and how I could do it in the 13 week period.
Once the final application was turned in, I still wanted to code a little more, so I kept on going till the last couple of days of the internship announcement. This is not necessary, but if you’re feeling like it, it definitely doesn’t hurt to still contribute.
I had been selected as an intern for the OBF! All the hard work had paid off and I was surprised it was me amongst other great applicants.
As for future plans, I am excited to code the website for the next few months. It is going to be a lot of hard work too, but that’s completely fine. I’ve even been mentioned on the OBF blog! Check it out here!
I’ll be posting regular updates about my progress on this blog. Til’ the next post!