Outreachy Saga: Part I

What is Outreachy?

Outreachy is a paid, remote internship program that supports people from underrepresented groups to launch their tech career.

During the 3-month internship, you work with your mentor and contribute to an open-source project – choosing from the likes of Mozilla, Linux Kernel, Wikimedia and other great organizations!

 

What is the application process like?

Check out the Outreachy website to see when the new round opens.

I find out about it on October 1st from a tweet. I quickly jumped to the website and from there my inner dialogue went like this:

  1. When’s the deadline? Phew, October 31st, great, I can still make it (maybe?) (aaaaa)
  2. What projects are there? I wanted to build on my skills so I was only looking for projects that looked for Javascript, or, even better, React. I found heaven in a project by Mozilla, perf-html. They were looking for an intermediately skilled Javascript/ReactJS developer (me?), with knowledge of Redux (not me!) and interest in accessibility (me!).
  3. Am I eligible? Ugh, I should check before I got so excited. But yes, I am, I think so. I’ll just apply and see how it goes.

Boom! Just a couple of days later I got the green light – I was indeed eligible and OK to proceed to the next stage – contacting the project mentor and start working on my first contribution (you need to make at least one contribution to be able to submit your final application).

stressed woman in front of computer

Application process – working on the project

Of the 40 or so projects available, I only ever considered one. I wanted to work on something interesting and meaningful (a11y, yo!), with an opportunity to build on my existing skills.

Each project offers details about the mentor and the project itself. I started reading the project’s documentation, installed the project on my computer (it’s a react app with great documentation, so no problems there which I also saw as a good sign!). I contacted the mentor, Julien, and chose a simple issue to work on from the issues available on their Github page.

I finished that very simple contribution very quickly (it was just a simple CSS change) and then Julien gave me a more serious bug to work on. I thought that was a good sign too!

I worked on that bug for the next week or so in my spare time, keeping in touch with Julien. I submitted my second PR by mid-October.

For the final stage of the application, I had to explain why I’m a good fit for the project (any relevant experience, and why I was interested in contributing to FOSS) and also summarize my experience of working with the team and, most importantly, my contributions.

I did all of that, clicked submit and patiently waited for the next 2 weeks until the results came back.

Just kidding! I was checking the Outreachy website every day, making sure that my application was solid (you can edit it until the deadline) and just generally biting my nails.

accessibility sticker

Happy ending?

Definitely yes! Very early in November, Julien let me know that I got in and not only that (excited squeal!), I was invited to participate in Mozilla’s All Hands (all staff) biannual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

And this is where I am now actively juggling excitement, imposter syndrome, learning new things, imposter syndrome, meeting a ton of interesting people (have I mentioned imposter syndrome yet?).

It’s all good and I think the application process couldn’t have been smoother. Thank you Outreachy and Mozilla, for this opportunity.

Stay tuned to learn about how things went on from here on.

(it’s called serialization, people!)