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How to succeed or fail at Google Summer of Code

04 Apr

This video is from a Google Summer of Code information session held at the University of Toronto. The event was a panel discussion involving panelists from 6 open source communities including:

  • Austin Ziegler - Ruby
  • Diego Novillo - Google
  • Blake Winton - DrProject
  • Nelson Ko - TikiWiki
  • Behdad Esfahbod - GNOME Foundation
  • Andrew Ross - Ingres

The panel had excellent advice and wisdom to share with interns. Some of the key points include:

  • Communication is key to your successs. Be responsive to questions and interact with your mentors OFTEN.
  • Establish a relationship with project team members. This is typically done by communicating in IRC/Email or attending community events.
  • NEVER copy and past the project ideas as is from the web site. Make the idea your own by being specific, providing a timeline, and interacting ahead of time by asking questions to define a realistic scope
  • Pick an appropriate project you can realistically accomplish. This may involve engaging the community to help you scope it.
  • Remember - you're not qualified... that's the point. So use the opportunity to learn and get a great experience.

The following are excerpts from the Google Summer of Code panel discussion. You can also See the entire video.

Part 1: Top reasons for success/failure

Part 2: Top reasons for success/failure

What is separates a good proposal from a bad one? How much detail is needed?

Dealing with uncertainty in your proposal

How much time do you spend on open source development

How many hours per day/week should you work on your Google Summer of Code project?


Great work guys. Keep it

Great work guys. Keep it up!