A month ago, I applied to an internship program named Outreachy, an initiative from Software Freedom Conservancy.

It gives someone like me, who doesn’t have the typical CS background, the opportunity to be involved in free and open source software.

The program is sponsored by great organizations like Red Hat, Wikimedia, Cadasta, Google, and Mozilla, just to name a few. As a participant, you choose one of the sponsoring organizations and a project.

In the next 3 months

I will be posting about my journey at Mozilla, where I will be contributing to the TaskCluster project on an automated documentation deployment system.

I have encouraged my friends to be part of this great initiative and to have the opportunity to be mentored by experienced developers out there. I hope anyone who is reading this, will take a lead to be part of this. You can find more about the Outreachy program.

First and foremost, I would like to share part of the email I sent to my friends. Hopefully it would get you started as well.

What should I do first?

You have to connect with the people who are responsible for the project (potential mentors), tell them you are interested in contributing to their project and ask them questions about what they are looking for.

This gives you a chance to know if the team and the project will be a fit early on.

What’s next?

It probably depends on the organization. For Mozilla, I was asked to fix a bug in the team’s bug list. The purpose of this task is to assess a candidate’s skills. The mentors will then decide if you are in this round or not.

What if I don’t get in?

If you don’t get in this round, it’s OKAY. You can give it another try for the next round, just keep trying, you CAN do it.

Then what?

Once you are done with your first patch, you do a PR and once it’s approved, it will go live. (the best feeling ever). Don’t forget to fill your application for the mentors to review. You have the option to apply for multiple projects if you like. And then, you wait until you hear back from them.

How do you pick your first bug?

I picked a bug that I thought would best represent my skills. I wanted it to both be challenging as a software development project and to showcase my design skills.

How are the mentors at Mozilla?

I was a bit anxious before connecting with them. You can start by saying hi by talking to them on the IRC channel about maybe joining their team.

They make you feel part of the team right away even before being accepted. The mentors are so helpful and understanding.

And Voila! Good luck and I hope you do apply.