Journey to Google Summer of Code 2020 with Wikimedia Foundation
I am extremely elated to share that I've been selected into the Google Summer of Code 2020 Program with Wikimedia Foundation. I will be working on T248800 | Design and Implement a tool to create overlays on pre-rendered offline maps for Internet In A Box through a period of 3 months from June to August, 2020.
A little about myself:
I am currently in my 2nd year at Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra studying Computer Science and Engineering. Since the beginning of my freshman year, I have been very curious about learning a lot of technologies starting from making those Alexa skills to then migrating to more serious tech. No doubt, I would often find myself getting overwhelmed with the ginormous amount of things one needed to cover-a common problem with us self taught coders. Although I had experience with programming since my school days, I had never experienced the application side of things, and the obvious choice for a newbie like me was Web Development. And I've never been disappointed by that choice.My humble beginnings to Open Source began with Hacktoberfest - an online Community led open source contribution challenge for beginners where people like me were introduced to tools like Git and Github. The sheer amount of learning I got from there got me hooked into Open Source and I've never looked back.
My GSoC Onboarding Experience:
Getting into Google Summer of Code is no less than a dream come true for many. And so was the case with me. I had read countless blogs of people who had got in, and always wanted to experience it first hand. But I was always trapped in that circle of doubt that I wasn't good enough. But as they say, its always a no until you try. And I'm so happy I did. People suggest that that to get selected for the GSoC program particularly, because of the huge amount of competition one had to face, one should start contributing to organisations of one's choice early on, often starting from the months of November or December. However, the mighty Imposter Syndrome inside me, as I would rightly blame it, didn't let me get into until much late. I knew I had zero chances of selection, but owing to that curiosity I had inside, I began seeing the projects that the Organisations I adored had to offer.Wikipedia had always been on the top of my list for getting into GSoC. It was the most familiar source of open source knowledge to me( since my school days) and a chance to contribute to an organisation of this stature, was surreal to me.
The Application Period :
While searching for available projects, I came across Internet In A Box, where we had to develop enhancements for the platform to make the user experience more functional. I read through one of the projects regarding enhancements to the Maps feature of IIAB. Having found it really interesting I started researching about it, and got in touch with the Project Mentors for IIAB. I started having a conversation with Tim Moody , who was one of the senior developers behind IIAB and then soon with George J Hunt who had been a maps specialist for IIAB. Both of them were extremely helpful even to my lamest doubts and as I got deeper into the project, it became more and more interesting, so much so, that I decided to give it a shot.And with a few days remaining for the deadline, I started working on my proposal and submitted it just in time for it to be reviewed. Now began the month of waiting and overthinking.
4th May, 11:30 p.m. IST. The results were to be announced. And there was my name!!! Finding my name on the list , I jumped around the house waking my parents who were already half asleep. It was a wonderful feeling. It was a mini celebration with friends calling till late in the day and realizing that those efforts had paid off. I just couldn't wait to get started! Soon after I received this wonderful email that formalized it all!
Currently I have started working on my project. And all I can say, that it is an experience of a lifetime. I'm learning more and more everyday and its challenging and fun at the same time. And the best part, it's just the beginning. :)