How to apply to Outreachy: My tips to become an intern

I am still working in my Outreachy Internship and only been part of this last round, but as it has been a wonderful experience so far, full of great work, learnings and fun, I decided to focus this blogpost in giving some tips so other people can give their best in their application (next one starts on 12nd of February!). I don’t have all the answers and I don’t belong to Outreachy or to the Free Software Conservancy Inc., but this is a list of things that worked for me.

  1. Take the time to read more about the different projects available. You can check the list of projects at Outreachy’s website and closer to the application start date, they will post more information about them. Taking your time to read about them will help you later to write a great application and, more important, find a project that you really like or believe in.
  2. Contact your mentor as soon as possible. Not all of them use the same means of communication, so find out what they prefer (email, slack, irc, github…) and let them know that you are interested in applying for the next outreachy round.
  3. Ask questions: As you know, this program aims to fight the imposter’s syndrome, but it doesn’t go away from one day to another. You may feel you are asking stupid questions, but let me tell you: there are not stupid questions! Ask any time you feel lost or something is not clear to you. I would say that this mindset should be kept in our whole life, and as well during the internship period. Asking something doesn’t make you less capable of doing it.
  4. Start contributing to the project as soon as possible, as well. You have plenty of time to do those contributions, and write an application, but the sooner you start and the more you achieve, the better. I think it’s not a matter of quantity of problems solved in the application you may be working on, but a matter of motivation.
  5. Blog about it: I don’t believe blogging about it will be considered for the final selection, but it will help you to structure your thoughts and write a better application.
  6. Think about the project as a whole. When I was writing my application, of course I was focused in the technical improvements I could achieve during the time of my internship, but afterwards I had to work in a specific project, so I had to do some research and talk to the final users. Don’t focus solely in the code, also in what you want to achieve with this changes.
  7. Be kind to yourself and to others. We want to change the open source community and make it more beginner friendly, so don’t forget that we all want to learn and everybody was a newbie sometime. And please, keep this in mind until you become a senior so you can help new coders to join your community.

As I said, I am not part of Outreachy, I am just an intern, so this are only my recommendations. Something that worked for me. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in any comment.

As well, I have to say that the Outreachy people are extremely friendly and you can always contact them if you have any doubts about your application.

I wish you all a great contribution time!

Source: Wikimedia Commons

2 thoughts on “How to apply to Outreachy: My tips to become an intern

  1. Aditi Sharma

    Hello! I’m new to open source and haven’t made any contributions so far. I was thinking to bgin with it and in the process I came to know about the outreachy program. In most of the blogs people mention it’s better to begin at the earliest possible. The contribution date started from 12 Feb, am I already late or still stand a chance. Thanks & Regards!

    1. maudite Post author

      Hi Aditi! I wouldn’t say you are late. You have until the 22nd of March to do some contributions, so still plenty of time (1 month!) to work on them. If I were you, I would contact the mentors of the projects you are interested on and ask them. 🙂 The earlier you start, the more time you have to prepare a good contribution, but one month is enough. If I were you, I would read the projects available and ask the mentors how you can contribute, and what makes more sense for you to help the project to improve. Good luck!


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