DEV Community

Ida Delphine
Ida Delphine

Posted on

Getting the Outreachy Internship

If you are new to opensource, one of the best and rewarding ways to get your foot in the door or start out is to participate in programs like Outreachy. Especially for students who are looking to build experience and work on real life projects. When you hear "outreachy", think of 3 things; remote, paid and open source/open science. To sum it up, Outreachy is a remote paid internship program aimed at increasing/promoting diversity and inclusion in open source and open science. This internship happens twice a year with one cohort starting in May and the other in December.

How Outreachy works

Outreachy is particularly meant for individuals who belong to underrepresented groups in the field of technology so women are highly encouraged to apply. Interns will have the opportunity to contribute to different opensource projects in different areas like programming, research, user experience, documentation, graphical design, data science, marketing, user advocacy, event planning,etc. So there is definitely something for everyone and this is just to make you understand "open source" is not only limited to code contributions.

For every Outreachy cohort, there are a couple of mentoring opensource organizations with each having specific and detailed projects which the potential intern will work on. The number of project per organization determines the number of interns. For example, it is most likely that if a single mentoring organization has 3 projects, nothing less than 3 interns will be needed for that specific organization. Bare in mind that the various projects may vary in terms or requirements and skill needed. However, they are all designed to be completed within a span of approximately 3 months with 7000 USD to be paid. The intern will work along side their mentors who are experienced contributors in that organization.

Application Procedure

There are 3 major steps to be taken to be considered for the outreachy internship. We have the initial application, contribution phase, and final application.

  • Initial Application: This is the first step of the application process and it is often taken for granted by many. Here, the outreachy organizers want to know more about your background and understand how both underrepresented and discriminated on you have been and a minority or underrepresented group. You are to write a couple of essays and submit.

  • Contribution Period: This is the next stage after the initial applications. Once you submit your initial application, the outreachy organisers will review your essays and if they are convincing such that they show you are underrepresented, can commit to 40hrs/week of the internship and passionate, you will be accepted into the contribution phase. I will say this step is the most difficult as you are supposed to find projects that interest you and make as many contributions as you wish to the organisation the project is under. This is the stage where you get to know more about the organization and start exploring it's codebase (if it's programming you are going for). This is also where you get to bond with the community and your potential mentor. You have the choice of picking up to 3 projects you are interested in working on. But know that you will have to make contributions to all the organizations they are under and if you are to be selected as an intern you will only be selected for one.

  • Final Application: This is the final step of the application process. After you have made contributions, you will have to submit a final application where you will log the contributions you made, provide a road map of how you plan on working on your selected project(s) and provide extra information about you.

Tips and Tricks

  • Read the entire applicant guide on the outreachy website.
  • Take your time to answer the questions in your initial application. If you can include some examples of past experiences where necessary that highlight the bias/discrimination you have faced that could help. Also make sure everything about your application proves you will be able to commit 40hrs a week if granted the internship with little or no interruptions from school, work, etc. Finally, try to submit your application latest 1 week before the deadline.
  • You can also start checking out mentoring organizations before the contribution period. There is a "current projects" page you can checkout which will be updated as days go by with more organizations and projects. On this page you will get to see listed organizations and associated projects. You will see tiny details about the technologies required and skill level. You can use this to your advantage. If you see a project that interests you and your skills match, you can start doing your research and learning about it right before the contribution period. That way when the contribution period officially starts, you should have grasped the basic and gone through their code base.
  • Make sure you go for a project where most of your skills match.
  • Focus on contributing to just a single organization and take your time to submit quality over quantity.
  • Make sure you've joined the community's most active public chat.
  • Be active within the community and attend all their calls, contribute to their discussions.
  • Reach out your mentor if you face any difficulty but make sure you have done your research. Work alongside your mentor to come up with the breakdown of your project plan for your final application.
  • Even after the final application, stick around and still show interest in the community and its activities.

Top comments (0)