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This is a long due post and I'd better not keep it pending for the new year :D. Till now, the series has covered upto getting selected for Google Summer of Code. Through this blog post I intend to guide you through the different phases of development in GSoC. GSoC work is divided into three phases with an evaluation after each phase. Before the phases start, there is quite some time as an ice breaker, called the community bonding period.

This post is the second in a series of 3 blog posts. To read the first and second posts, visit:

Part 1: http://aasf.in/aasf/postdetails.php?link=40

Part 2: http://aasf.in/aasf/postdetails.php?link=49

Happy Reading!

Git push --all : Summer

Community Bonding Period

Being selected as student developer in an organization is one of the most difficult steps. Once you are across that, the rest should be comparatively easier. This doesn’t mean that its a cakewalk either. Once you are selected, stay active in the community and maintain contact with your mentor. This is the  perfect period to realign your timeline and filter your project goals by discussing with your mentor.

Some of the to-dos for this period can be:

  • Discuss with your mentor his/her preferable method of communication - IRC/mail/github etc.

  • Join GSoC mailing lists and facebook groups to stay updated about generic information regarding stipends, other organizations, meetups etc.

  • Start making small PR-s needed to support your project, if any.

  • Keep working on ongoing PR-s to stay active in the community.

  • Your organization might organize one or more online meetings. Make sure to join, meet new people and have fun!

Phase 1

Work done in the first phase determines the momentum of whole summer. Give your best and have a wonderful start. Organizations might have an expected work per week requirement, but in general, considering GSoC as a full time job, it varies between 35-40 hours per week. But there is no strict time constraint as long as work is progressing well.

  • Get started with the project and if you notice any loopholes, which you didn’t notice while preparing the proposal, this is the perfect time to discuss it.

  • If your mentor misses to review your PR don’t hesitate to ask for a review.

  • Try to stick to the timeline as much as possible.

  • Whenever stuck, don’t forget to ask for help.

        EVALUATION

  • Most good organizations don’t fail students unless they are completely inactive or make hardly any progress. The most important thing is to do something.
  • It is seen at times that students who have worked well have been failed because of lack of interaction with mentor. Your mentor can’t evaluate your work unless they are updated of the same, however good you have been doing.
  • If you are slightly behind schedule by the end of Phase-1, it won’t be a huge issue. This can be easily covered up time Phase-2.
  • Keep working while evaluation is going on.
  • If you have passed your first evaluation, its a thing to celebrate. Your first stipend is on its way :D

Phase 2

This phase is particularly important to cover up all behind schedule work. It is expected that by the end of phase-2 maximum work would be done, which includes forming a solid structure of the project.

  • For students in Indian institutes classes start during phase 3 period, and hence it is important to make maximum use of phase 2.

  • Keep giving constant updates to mentor.

  • There is a chance that it could get tedious by now, but don’t give up.

  • Keep asking doubts whenever stuck. A good discussion with your mentor could solve an issue in 15 mins, which would have taken a day if you tried on your own.

  • Work on multiple PR-s in parallel.

        EVALUATION

  • Let your mentor know how far you have come with respect to your intended timeline.

Phase 3

This is the wrap up phase and should include all tidying up and concluding work mainly.

  • Focus on writing testing all features added and writing proper tests for them, if needed.

  • Try to improve the results which have been achieved.

  • Work parallely on documenting all work done. A proper discussion with mentor will be helpful to know how it is done every year in the organization. It could be a blog post, or a document or anything else.

  • The prepared documentation will be submitted to Google as “Work Product Submission”. So make sure it contains links to all relevant PR-s and patches.

  • Try your best to get all your work merged, although this is not a necessary criteria for passing the third evaluation.

  • Discuss future work and possible add-ons.

        EVALUATION

  • If any work is left with reference to timeline, let your mentor know your enthusiasm to complete it even after GSoC.
  • Submit your work product carefully since only one submission is allowed.
  • Stick to the deadline.

General note:

  • You can take a vacation of one week if any plans have been made. But make sure that you inform your mentor of this and that they are fine with your absence.

  • Reach out to the appropriate mailing list for issues related to stipends, goodies etc. Your organization is not responsible for these.

  • Do go through GSoC website multiple times to read the official guidelines on what your duties are as a student developer.

Well, if you have come this far, you deserve a butterbeer! The journey is not for the weak hearted, so once you have embarked try your best to make it this far. The best way to cope is to focus on your passion for your project and open source. Having put in this much effort, try to keep contributing to your project and organization even after GSoC is over. All the best!

Note: This post is the last in a series of 3 blog posts.

About me

I am Haritha Sreedharan Nair, currently pursuing M.Tech in Information Technology at ABV-IIITM, Gwalior. I am a Google Summer of Code 2018 participant with ‘mlpack’. If you are interested to know more about my project, visit: https://summerofcode.withgoogle.com/projects/#6670677558427648

Github profile: https://github.com/haritha1313/