Experiences applying to Outreachy

Dec 17, 2019

Outreachy is a paid, remote internship program. Outreachy's goal is to support people from groups underrepresented in tech. Outreachy gives newcomers the opportunity to make their first open source contribution.

Outreachy is open to everyone around the world especially for under-represented group in tech. It involves a series of application process.First the initial application which comprises of series of questions and essays. The contribution period and the internship period. I will explain each of them as we proceed.

What Motivated you to apply to Outreachy?

I have had the opportunity of using several open source projects and I felt is about time I make my own contributions to software that people all of the world can access. My first contribution to open source project was the Django Girls Tutorial documentation. When I made the contribution and my PR was merge I was really very excited! I realised I could do more. My greatest motivation is the fact that as one who falls under the under-represented group in tech we are usually faced with alot of challenges in tech. There is this notion that people still have that tech is for the male folks and a woman in tech will not perform well. And most of the time the few that managed to get involve don't usually last in the system. If they do remain in the tech company they are usually positioned in a non-coding role. I was motivated to apply to Outreachy to contribute to the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and change the story one code at a time!

What were you excited about when thinking about applying?

I was excited about the fact that I will have the opportunity to work with Wikimedia a world-class foundation that has been known for its great works and several other projects to its name. I was also excited that my contributions through the outreachy program will help solve some of challenges users of the WikiEducation Dashboard App are currently facing. By making UI improvements, changing architecture and user testing of the app.

What made you passionate about the project you applied to?

During the application period, I went through the list of the projects available on the outreachy site. I made a list of project of was interested in contributing to as time would permit. My selection of each of these project was mostly based on my skillset. I intended to contribute in more than one project to increase my chances of been selected. When I came across the Wikimedia Android Project Improvements and User Testing of Wiki Education Dashboard Android App I was really excited as most of the projects on the outreachy website are web based and the Wiki Education Dashboard App happen to be the only Android project that pick my interest. Especially because I am more skilled in Android development. I dived into the details of the project. Checked the github repo and went straight to the issues section and checked the issues tagged good first issue. When I saw the issues, I realised there were some issues I could work on. I was excited I have found a project that match my skills that I can actually contribute to.

What was confusing about the Outreachy application process?

The Outreachy application process was quite long. For someone that is not patient might just stop half way through the application process. But as the saying goes "Good things don't come easily". The process was long but its worth it.

Initial Application

The initial application involves series of questions and essay questions that should be filled carefully and truthfully.

The Contribution Period

The contribution period lasted for a month and 4 days. It started from October 1, 2019 to November 5, 2019. This is is the next stage after the initial application stage. Successful applicants who gets to the contribution period. Will be encouraged to start contributing from the date they were selected to increase their chances of been selected for the internship. At this stage applicants can actually contribute to more than one project. And before the end of the contribution period, applicants are also notified to submit their final application. During the contribution I made series of contributions and about 22 Pull Request (PR) and it was very competitive. We had series of other contributors/applicants contributing to the same project. At some point I was scared and contributed more to increase my chances of been selected. Here are some of the contributions I made during the contribution period;

• Added Onboarding page to the app

• Change the Detail Media Fragment Layout to Constraint Layout

• Designed a Mock-up for the onboarding

• Created a WelcomeHostActivity for the on-boarding

• Use Constraintlayout in wiki education dashboard fragment

• Use Constraintlayout in Outreach Programs and events dashboard fragment

• Fix -Overlapping Views

• Change Upload and Activity View positions

• Change Fragment Recent Activity to ConstraintLayout

• Removed Unnecaessary Constraints from Fragment Explore

• Changed item_rv_student layout to ConstaintLayout

• Changed item_rv_my_dashboard to ConstaintLayout

• Changed item_rv_media_category to ConstraintLayout

• Changed item_rv_files to ConstraintLayout

• Changed item_rv_expore_courses_users to ConstraintLayout

• Changed item-rv_explore courses to ConstraintLayout

• Changed item_rv_course upload to ConstraintLayout

• Changed item_rv_campaign_list to ConstraintLayout

• Changed include_layout_explore_courses to ConstraintLayout

• Changed item_include_files_media to ConstraintLayout

• Changed fragment_image_viewer to ConstraintLayout

Changed fragment_profle_stat to ConstarintLayout

• Local Database setup with Room Persistent Library

Before the end of the contribution period applicants are encouraged to create a proposal and timelines for the project they are interested in working on and submit it to the organisation as well as on the outreachy dashboard.

Internship Period

It's a three months paid remote internship. During which selected applicants will contribute to the project they were selected to make contributions for. And work with mentors to guide them through the internship period.

I was very excited when I saw the mail that I was accepted to participate in the internship. All thanks to me mentor for his support. And helping me get to this stage. It can only get better. I learnt a lot during the contribution period and I hope to learn and contribute more during the internship period.

The internship started off with the community bonding period. Where I familiarize myself and set up my community work tools. Like the Wikimedia common uploads for my photo, created a wiki page for my blogs. Made some changes to my proposal with the help of my mentor. I had a video chat with my mentor to discuss the plan for the internship and for my first task.

I was introduced to a 10-15 minutes daily checking with members of the team.

How did you find information?

I found out about the program through a WhatsApp post that was shared in a WomenWill and Women Tech Makers group and I decided to check it out. From checking it out, I got interested in participating.

Who did you ask questions of when you were stuck?

During the application period when I was stuck I sent mail to the mentors attached to the project I was contributing to. We also communicated via slack.

How did your mentor help you during the application process?

During the application period, I made it a point of duty to always relate to my mentor because I understood the power of feedback. Whenever am having a challenge with my contributions as well as putting up my proposal I always made sure I reach out to my mentor on slack. And he was very helpful.

What would you tell someone who is worried about applying to Outreachy?

Outreachy is for everyone irrespective of your skill level. Don't be discouraged by thinking open source contributions is just for people that are very good. Outreachy open source contribution is not just a code based contribution. It encompasses every aspect of tech. Outreachy internship projects may include programming, user experience, documentation, illustration, graphical design, or data science. Don't think too much about it just give it a shot.

Still got questions for me just leave it in the comment or you can reach out to me on twitter. Thanks for reading. Keep watching this thread for update on my outreachy internship experience!

All blogs